LETTER : Down but definitely not out

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WHAT a hand life has dealt Nigel Green ("This boy and his friends were starving in Barnsley", 16 July). Rejected by his parents, the community, and offered pounds 36 a week by his country on which to live, he chose to share this with two 16-year-olds who had nothing. This is a story repeated so often. So many of our youngsters have been rejected by their fellow citizens.

All our professional lives we have tried to tell youngsters that stealing is wrong, but we know that if we had only pounds 36 for a week and were painfully hungry, we would steal to exist. We would be surly and unwashed. We would drown our misery in whatever way we could.

Perhaps a tax on all recently privatised industries, or those that have reduced their staff to make excessive profits, might be put towards creating rewarding work for young people. Or may we suggest that these firms take on more employees - especially youngsters? Surely these people are the seed-corn for the future development of industry.

May we wish Nigel Green a successful future. He has qualities that this country desperately needs - an awareness of the needs of others less fortunate, a desire to overcome with a quality of compassion which has not been crushed by his experiences.

David and Rita Armitage

Bournemouth, Dorset