Byline: Compiled by Charles Legge
QUESTION How many places in the football pyramid separate Manchester United's Ryan Giggs and his brother, Salford City's Rhodri Giggs?
RYAN GIGGS'S younger brother Rhodri is no mean footballer. He was born in Cardiff in 1977, but his family soon moved to Swinton in Greater Manchester after his father Danny Wilson, one-time Cardiff RFC fly-half, switched codes and went to play rugby league for Swinton Lions.
Rhodri first played football for Salford Boys before joining Torquay United as a YTS trainee, going by the surname Jones to avoid comparisons with his famous brother. His time as a trainee wasn't happy and he left halfway through the scheme.
Three years later, aged 19, he attempted to resurrect his footballing career, having trials in Scotland with Hearts and ending up playing with Livingston, though this lasted only six months. Rhodri returned to Manchester where he worked for a time as an estate agent.
In 1999, he was arrested, having been accused by the News of the World of supplying cocaine to its investigative reporter Mazher 'Fake Sheikh' Mahmood. He lost his job, but was found not guilty.
In 2001, Rhodri was imprisoned for assault for nine months, along with his friend Christopher Doyle, who received 15 months, after an altercation between them and a group of Manchester City fans outside a nightclub.
Since then he has turned his life around. He is raising a son, Louis, and has become a stalwart of the lower football divisions, plying his trade at several clubs including Salford, Mossley, Bangor and Curzon Ashton before returning to Salford, operating as a flying right-winger.
Salford City lie 17th in the Evo-Stik League Division One North. There are eight divisions separating the brothers, the Premier League (20 teams), Championship (24), Football League One (24), Football League Two (24), Football Conference (24), Conference North (21), Evo-Stick Northern Premier league (22) and Division One North (23).
With Manchester United third in the Premier League, there are 173 places separating the two brothers' teams.
John Collins, Wolverhampton.
QUESTION I collect the wonderful flower paintings of Vernon Ward. What is known of this artist?
VERNON de BEAUVOIR WARD (1905-1985) was born in Hampstead, North London. Son of artist and publisher Albert Ward, Vernon was encouraged to explore his talent for art from an early age.
He entered the famous Slade School of Fine Art in London, where he was fortunate to study under the innovative Henry Tonks, the most renowned and formidable teacher of his generation. Other pupils of Tonks at the Slade included William Lionel Clause, Harold Gilman, Spencer Gore, Augustus John, Mukul Dey, Gwen John, Percy Wyndham Lewis, Stanley Spencer, Rex Whistler, Mark Gertler, David Bomberg and Isaac Rosenberg.
A member of the New Society of Artists, Vernon was elected an associate of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1926 (a rival organisation to the Royal Academy) and exhibited at the Royal Society and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters.
His great success was in the commercial sector and his works, depicting landscapes and still life studies as well as sporting, figure and portrait painting, were nearly always taken into print.
Though his name is not well known, his work certainly is and is frequently used on jigsaw puzzles, greeting cards, chocolate boxes and place-mats.
Jean Murray, Boston, Lincs.
QUESTION Thirties, I often stood on Gravesend prom watching Fyffe's banana boat steaming up and down the Thames to and from London. Did these small vessels actually traverse the Atlantic? How long did the journey take?
ELDERS & Fyffes Ltd was formed in May 1901 to transport and distribute West Indian bananas to the UK. Bananas were first imported into the UK in about …