SIR; So Dudley Ramsden is to retire as executive chairman of Nisa-Today's at the end of this month ('Ramsden bows out in wake of failed merger', The Grocer, 4 November, p22).

I would like to be among the first to pay tribute to his unstinting efforts on behalf of the independent sector.

When Ramsden and Peter Garvin formed Nisa 30 years ago, there was little or no support for independent retailers other than for those who were prepared to join one of the major symbol groups.

Dud and Pete, in addition to running their own businesses, gave countless hours of their time to form and run a regional group that became a national buying institution helping thousands of wholesalers and unaffiliated independent retailers to operate profitably and professionally.

Dudley was always the Nisa-Today's kingpin and battled tirelessly, even when struck down by ill health, to ensure that independents got a fair crack of the whip.

It is unfortunate that he bows out without being able to convince sufficient members of Nisa-Today's that a merger with Costcutter would benefit all concerned.

If Dudley does become Nisa-Today's non-executive president, I hope the organisation doesn't put the blinkers on and pass up his lifetime of experience in the grocery and convenience markets.

Maybe in time he will see a Nisa-Today's/Costcutter merger and, indeed, his long cherished dream of a tie-up with the Landmark Buying Group come to fruition.