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Looking Back: Girls ‘escape death’, Factory plan loses out and First Minister in jobs call

By Features Reporter

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At a charity dog show in Thurso in June 2006, judge Sue Mileham (left) decided the dog she would most like to take home was Bandit, pictured with owner Dorothy Sinclair.
At a charity dog show in Thurso in June 2006, judge Sue Mileham (left) decided the dog she would most like to take home was Bandit, pictured with owner Dorothy Sinclair.

Little girls ‘narrowly escape death’

From the Groat of June 27, 1924

Two young children had “a remarkable escape from death in Princes Street, Thurso... as a result of a sensational incident which aroused excitement and alarm among passers-by”.

A motor lorry had come down Princes Street from the railway “and was standing at the head of the lane leading to Brownhill Quarry”. The driver had left the vehicle on an errand, leaving inside two youths, an apprentice and a message boy.

“Suddenly, to the astonishment and alarm of the two latter, the lorry, the engine of which had been left running, started forward and swerved across the road. The two youths, not knowing how to stop the vehicle, immediately leaped clear.

“The lorry continued across the road and jumped the pavement opposite the lower window of Malcolm’s dairy.”

Two girls, aged four and six, were looking through this window waiting on their mother who was inside shopping.

“They did not observe the lorry lumbering above them until too late, and, while one was crushed against the wall, the other – the elder – was precipitated right through the plate glass among the contents of the window.

“The unfortunate little girls were quickly freed, and a keen sense of relief was experienced by the people who had quickly gathered at the shop when it became known that both the children had escaped serious injury.”

The girls were found to have sustained just a few cuts and bruises but were said to be “seriously ill as a result of shock”.

Factory plan loses out to social club

From the Groat of June 28, 1974

A Norwegian firm had lost out in a bid to secure a site for its proposed factory.

The company had been considering setting up a plant in Thurso for the chemical processing of saithe and ling, which would have created 20 jobs.

However, the site it had chosen at the harbour had been earmarked for the Thurso and District Working Men’s Club.

It was down to members of Thurso Town Council to decide which plan to support.

The council had already given planning permission in principle to the club and there were no alternative sites for either. Councillors heard that there would be no smell from the factory and that both buildings “would detract from the scenic value of the town”.

When it came to the vote it was 6-5 in favour of applying to the Scottish Secretary to rezone the area to allow the club to build on the site.

Elsewhere, in the latest birthday honours list, a local nurse had been made an Associate of the Royal Red Cross. Squadron Officer Elizabeth Sandison, of Fountain Square, Haster, was the chief recruiting officer for the intake of student nurses for RAF Training Schools.

Squadron Officer Sandison had trained at the Northern Hospital Group, Inverness, and the Maternity Hospital, Aberdeen.

She had been the first British representative to attend the Aerospace School of Medicine in Texas, where she graduated to gain her American Silver Wings.

First Minister in jobs call

From the Groat of July 2, 1999

Scotland’s First Minister was to be invited to Caithness in a bid to persuade him of the benefits of locating key jobs in the far north rather than Edinburgh and Inverness.

Donald Dewar was to be asked to meet with members of the Caithness Economic Partnership who had agreed at a meeting in Wick that “efforts should be made to change the attitudes of those making decisions”.

The discussion on decentralisation of jobs had been prompted by a paper produced by Thurso and Wick Trades Council which called for agencies with rural remits to consider moving staff away from the cities and into such areas as Caithness.

The report stated that many of the best-paid jobs with such organisations as the Crofters' Commission, Scottish Natural Heritage and NHS trusts were city-based.

Speaking about the report, trades council chairman Derrick Milnes agreed that the paper was “controversial in parts” but said more quality jobs should be brought to the county, especially in the wake of local losses in the health service and Highland Council.

However, not everyone agreed that relocating existing staff was the answer.

Scottish Natural Heritage representative Terry Keatinge reminded members that families could suffer “real hardship by being forced to move”, and he suggested that they look instead at persuading new organisations to site jobs in Caithness.

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