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Looking Back: Eyesore at the Haugh, Anger at Shetland appeal and Poet Aimee in the spotlight


By Features Reporter

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In 2005 Thurso Swifts were given a donation of £150 from UKAEA Dounreay for training equipment and first-aid kit. Jimmy Canavan (left) and Scott Sinclair received the cheque from Dounreay’s Gemma Macdonald.
In 2005 Thurso Swifts were given a donation of £150 from UKAEA Dounreay for training equipment and first-aid kit. Jimmy Canavan (left) and Scott Sinclair received the cheque from Dounreay’s Gemma Macdonald.

Eyesore at the Haugh

From the Groat of June 20, 1924

In a letter to the editor, “Patriot” called on the local authorities to take action to tidy up the Wick riverside area known as the Haugh.

The writer said that “everyone knows the place is the receptacle of the town rubbish and much else, and naturally we look to the members of the Town Council to keep an eye on the place – or their officials whose business it is to deal with the matter; but evidently it does not get much attention from either”.

“Patriot” said among the reasons for bringing the matter to public attention was the bad first impression it gave to visitors arriving by train, “and first impressions we know are not easily removed”. Also, “from a health point of view, the ground ought to be kept in a cleaner state”.

The writer suggested that “depositors of rubbish should be asked to give a rough levelling to each load” and added that “surely one of the employees of the Town Council can be spared for an hour or two twice a week to level the rubbish and burn the papers that are allowed at present to be blown all over the place”.

Meanwhile, it was reported that two new bathing coaches had been erected on Thurso beach and were open to the public.

The demand for tickets had “not been very great so far but once the summer visitors come the coaches should be well patronised”.

Anger at Shetland appeal

From the Groat of June 21, 1974

Wick town councillors were shocked to get a letter appealing for money from Lerwick Town Council – Scotland's foremost boom town.

The letter had asked for a financial contribution towards the repair of the chiming bells at Lerwick Town Hall. The bill facing the island council was £10,000.

But there were angry reactions to the appeal from members of the town council’s finance committee, with Dean of Guild James Miller saying that their Shetland counterparts had “a damn cheek to ask us to contribute towards this”.

Bailie Margaret Robertson said that it was like “the rich relation appealing to the orphan child for money”.

Provost William Mowat agreed with these sentiments and said that “charity begins at home. If we had this kind of money to spend we could use it to repair the clock on our own town hall. Then at least all the faces on it would give the same time.”

Bailie James Kay suggested that the Lerwick councillors look to the “oil counties of Ross-shire and Aberdeen for money”, adding: “This request is the height of impudence.”

The decision to reject the appeal was unanimous.

Meanwhile, two new appointments had been made locally.

The Rev William Wallace, a former dental surgeon, had been inducted to Wick St Andrew’s Church, while the depute county clerk of Caithness, Alastair Beattie, had been appointed chief executive officer by Caithness District Council.

Poet Aimee in the spotlight

From the Groat of June 25, 1999

A Thurso primary school pupil was to take her place at the historic state opening of Scotland’s parliament to hear her specially composed poem read out to the Queen and other dignitaries.

Aimee Linekar, of Burnett Place, had taken the overall winner’s place in a national competition to mark the formation and opening of the parliament.

Her piece, entitled “How to Create a Great Country”, was to feature in the official opening ceremony on July 1 – and although Aimee was not to read out the poem herself, she and her mother Zelda had been invited to the event.

Afterwards, Aimee and her parents were to attend the official lunch in the Royal Scottish Museum.

Aimee’s teacher at Miller Academy, Ally Budge, said that the school was “delighted with Aimee’s success”.

He said she had “worked so hard on the poem and put so much effort into it – I’m pleased she has achieved this national recognition.

“Attending the opening will be a great experience for her.”

Elsewhere, Caithness businesses had been “disadvantaged” by the axing of the air link between Inverness and Heathrow, according to a local Highland Council official.

Wick-based economic development services manager David Richard-Jones claimed that the use of Gatwick as an alternative had “effectively downgraded the service”.


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