PRESENTLY we are reading many stories commemorating the First World War, as many family members still share memories and photographs.

Growing up in the Second World War, I remember rushing up and down on the landing, wellies in hand, alerting my family to the air raid siren, then unsatisfactorily attempting to pull my grandma – in bed, but out for the count after her usual couple of Guinnesses – to get into the Anderson shelter.

In 1942, during what could have been the night of the blitz on York, there were lots of search lights and explosions. We had our own crisis in the shelter, where the floorboards had collapsed and an elderly neighbour became wedged between boards and a foot of water and mud. Wartime in any country only creates fear and disruption.

Fast forward 75 years to the present day, friend or foe, Germany’s recovery programme cannot be disputed. Known to be industrious, capable of engineering genius, patriotic, disciplined and dedicated. Four times winners of the World Cup, too. And their work ethic incorporates cleanliness in all cities.

Through age and observation my long held fear has turned into respect. While our record for charitable deeds is praiseworthy, this country needs a convincing leader with vision.

Barbara Woodley, Fulford, York.