30 DECEMBER 1995, Page 23

Dukes are wonderful

Sir: Alexander Chancellor (Diary, 9 December) reports the polite and helpful responses given to him by a variety of dukes. Suspicious and cynical readers may wonder whether this simply reflects their fear that failure to co-operate with a jour- nalist might result in a hostile piece in the Sunday Telegraph.

My own encounter with the Duke of Nor- folk suggests that, at least in his case, dukes are polite and helpful to all kinds of people, not just journalists.

Some years ago I contacted the Duke to seek his advice on a particular aspect of a building society shareholder action group I was involved with. He responded to my let- ter almost immediately on the telephone, as he did to Alexander Chancellor's approach, and we subsequently met at the House of Lords one evening. At the time, he did not know me from Adam, yet gave wise advice which I acted upon.

Looking at his entry in Who's Who, with all his honours and awards (KG, GCVO, CB, CBE, MC, DL) and his distinguished career in the army and subsequently, I am still agreeably surprised at his positive response to someone contacting him out of the blue. As Alexander Chancellor says, dukes are wonderful! But presumably something nasty will happen to them if Labour form the next government.

Paul Twyman

Thrift House, Minnis Road, Birchington-on-Sea, Kent