• An open letter to Doctor Lise Llewellyn, a member of the board of trustees of the British Red Cross in respect of Mr Bryan Barkley.

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    Information for Readers: Dr Lise Llewellyn (above right) is the director of public health for the 6 unitary authorities in Berkshire. She entered the NHS through general practice before taking a master’s in healthcare management and qualifying as a consultant in public health medicine. She then moved into senior management roles in the NHS.

    Dear Dr Llewellyn,

    Having received a mailshot asking me to donate to the British Red Cross, I write to you on a matter of concern to me and many of our readers.

    This concerns the dismissal of one of the Red Cross volunteers, a Mr Bryan Barkley for demonstrating against “same sex marriage.” This appeared in the Daily Mail:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2816610/Red-Cross-volunteer-71-axed-gay-marriage-protest-Pensioner-told-no-longer-welcome-charity-views-incompatible-values.html
    We note that the Red Cross have issued a press release:

    http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Media-centre/Press-releases/2014/November/Volunteer-issue-our-response

    We note in particular this statement: “The Red Cross respects the right of individuals to hold differing views so long as this does not affect their ability to deliver our services impartially to all who need our help, as enshrined in our fundamental principles.”

    By it’s actions, it would appear to be the case that the British Red Cross either approves or takes a neutral stance on allowing homosexual men to undertake civil marriage.

    The British Gazette and its readers would therefore be interested to know how the British Red Cross views the present dire situation presented to the NHS where approximately 2% of it’s budget (around £2 billion) is spent treating the effects of sexually transmitted infections as a result of anal intercourse. You will of course be aware of the current publicity surrounding other activities that are injurious to health and inter alia, NHS expenditure – illnesses caused by obesity, excess drinking and smoking. You will also be aware of many supportive organisations and charities that endorse, support and otherwise assist the NHS in getting its message across to reduce these activities.

    Surely to goodness an organisation such as the British Red Cross should be similarly supportive and that these hazardous and health damaging activities should include sexual activities such as anal intercourse that have been known to be hazardous for millennia.

    Of course this applies not just to homosexual men but also to heterosexual men and women who also indulge in this activity.

    This makes it all the more astounding that the British Red Cross should dismiss Mr Barkley.

    We look forward to your reply.

    Peter H. Rogers
    Editor, British Gazette.

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