Sir, I write in support of your previous correspondent John Richards (Gazette Letters, January 2), on the man himself and the circumstances that have brought solicitor Ray Ridley to such a sorry state (Gazette, December 19).

By way of background, I was the branch manager of one of the major banks in Witney for some 12 years. Ray moved to Witney and became a client and friend.

In my experience I found him kind, humourous and efficient and in no way subject to excesses; a man whose services I unhesitatingly recommended.

Specialising in property conveyancing, I imagine that the fallout of the past decade had a serious effect and, as a sole practitioner, levies on his business were hard to meet.

I do not seek to excuse what has transpired, but hope that the many people who have met and dealt with Ray will show kindness and understanding.

A Hogg (Mr), The Willows, Witney