View Full Version : Fit's in 'e Groat 'e day

15-Apr-11, 14:05
John O’ Groat Journal review: April 18, 2011

THE front page lead story records the shock felt at North Highland College over the tragic death of one of their students, Calum Murray 18. He and his girlfriend, Sophie Taylor (16) were found dead at his home in Tomintoul, Moray, on Wednesday. The Dufftown lad who was on a placement on the Glenavon Estate, shared the house with fellow trainee gamekeeper, Euan Clive. Staff and students at the Thurso college paid tribute to Calum, a first year student. Principal Dr Gordon Jenkins said that Calum was well respected by staff and fellow students. He continued: “Everyone here is very shocked at his death. Speaking to the teaching staff, they tell me he was a model student and he will be a great loss to the college and the estate he worked for. As a small college we’re very close-knit. Everyone is known, and a tragedy like this, affects people right down from the board of management through to the staff and students-it affects everybody.”

A STINGING attack has been delivered on a local enterprise company, by a newly-retired minister. The Rev. Ronnie Johnstone, whose charge was Thurso West Church, claimed HIE Caithness and Sutherland was not delivering for the Far North and claimed the organisation needs “a radical restructuring”. However, the enterprise company countered saying it was a leading player in the area and had helped create over 400 jobs and retained a further 100 over a three-year period.

INSIDE, a local trade union official described as “absolutely disgraceful” that HM Revenue and Customs was creating 1000 jobs in various parts of the country while closing its office in Wick. Davy Alexander,who is a Dounreay trade union representative, hit out at a meeting of the Thurso and Wick Trade Council. He made his view known after hearing from tax office worker and local union official, Allan Tait, about the situation facing the 20 staff at Wick. Mr Tait told the meeting, the office is due to close in March next year. Employees have been offered voluntary redundancy but are determined to fight to save their jobs and have launched a Wick Wants Work campaign.

THERE was bad news for a Caithness joinery firm facing an uncertain future after it was revealed the company had gone into administration. Administrators from Deloitte have been called into Halkirk-based Geddes Windows Systems. The business currently employs 18 workers at itS Sinclair Lane manufacturing base, where John Reid and Brian Milne have been appointed to address the company’s current financial plight. Their strategy is to complete the existing work which is being undertaken at the moment at Geddes, but not to take on new orders. It is hoped a new buyer can be found for the business and its assets.

THE concept of a single police force for the whole of Scotland would be “mad” and result in the loss of local control, according to Castletown Community Council. Members objected to the proposal when the issue was raised at its monthly meeting. Chairman Douglas Fraser criticised the single force plan and pointed out that Northern Constabulary’s retiring chief constable, Ian Latimer, and most of his staff were against it. Opponents to the reorganisation proposal, claim it would result in jobs being lost and a poorer service to the public.
IF you’re reading diet includes politics then you should have a feast at page five is dominated by profiles on the various candidates bidding for the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross seat at the Scottish Parliament.

Wick’s annual Hogmanay street party looks as if it might fold unless more volunteers come forward. Noel Donaldson writes: " It’s an all too familiar story and I have to say, as a member of the committee, I am none too confident that help will be forthcoming. There is no doubt about the function’s popularity. Folk are quite happy to enjoy it but not prepared to do a hand’s turn to guarantee its future. Personally, I would pull the plug on it and say: “The ball’s in your court, Wickers...if you want the party badly enough, you will roll up your sleeves and get stuck in”. If you are not prepared to do that, then end of party. As I have said before, if a dozen additional souls came forward you could work a rota which would mean that not everyone would be on duty every New Year. You might have thought that because the chips were down on Wick gala and the response to appeals for volunteers, saved it, that the same will be true of the street bash. There have been many appeals from the Hogmanay committee for helpers, over the years, and all of them have, in the main, fallen on deaf ears. I am not holding my breath.

A ROYAL Marine from Thurso is helping to keep the military’s fleet of vehicles on the roads of Helmand, during a six-month deployment to Afghanistan. Warrant Officer Class 2, Garry Falconer, recently deployed Nad-e Ali South as part of a 600-strong contingent from 45 Commando Royal Marines. The 39 year old, who is usually based at RM Condor in Arbroath, is now at Forward Operating Base, where he is responsible for a team of mechanics. He admits it is very different working in the desert and added: “The main challenges with the vehicles out here are their complexity and weight.”

CAITHNESS may be lacking in an abundance of invites to the royal wedding later this month, but locals can still get a piece of wedding cake and a dance on the night. The county branch of the Highland Hospice is bringing back its annual fundraising dinner dance with a royal wedding-themed event on April. The Royal Ball is to be held in the Weigh Inn, Thurso on the night of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s marriage, in a bid to raise funds for the charity.