THE open letter that appeared in the Messenger on June 7, as well as being a confused and bizarre interpretation of the results of the last local elections in Ashton Upon Mersey, contained a wholly misleading and serious accusation that local ward councillors use local school children for political ends.

This is an accusation that cannot remain unchallenged and setting out the facts is necessary.

What Mr Milligan is referring to is the annual Christmas event in Ashton village where local school children come along, supported by staff, parents and carers and sing festive songs and Christmas carols.

The event is organised by The Friends of Ashton Village, currently chaired by one of the ward councillors, and supported by local traders, local residents and the three elected ward councillors.

The event involves a considerable amount of all year round organisation and fund raising to stage the event.

A part of the councillors' contribution to the event is to arrange for the distribution of our ward newsletter, Raising the Standard, to every home in Ashton ward containing an advert for the event.

It is this that Mr Milligan objects to.

Surely though, this is what councillors should be doing — promoting, encouraging and getting involved with community events.

We believe this is a principal role for elected councillors.

It would be a dereliction of their community leadership role not to get involved in these events.

So what is Mr Milligan really saying?

What your readers need to know is that Mr Milligan campaigned in the recent May local elections urging voters to not vote Conservative and is clearly unhappy with the democratic process that resulted in the election of a Conservative councillor.

He is no friend of the Conservatives but he, as with all residents, is entitled to his view and that is fine with us.

What is not fine with us is an attack which is personal (we are not sure what our age, gender or ethnicity has to do with his argument) and the wilful misinterpretation of the facts.

So let us be clear. We do not use school children for political ends and we fully endorse keeping politics out of school.

We are proud of the events we are involved with, we initiated them and are grateful for the support we receive from traders and residents who believe the events to be a fantastic celebration of Christmas as well as a fantastic celebration of our local vibrant community.

We would urge Mr Milligan to cease his bizarre and politically inspired interpretation of events, his attacks on our reputation and integrity and more importantly cease his attempts to wreck a great community event.

Cllr Brian Rigby

Cllr John Lamb

Cllr Mike Whetton

Ashton upon Mersey Ward Councillors