Courier review: August 3,2011

THERE are contrasting stories on the paperís front page...the joy of a Wick coupleís big win on the National Lottery and the sadness of an accident which claimed the lives of two Italian motor cyclists. Mother-of-three, Angela Sutherland and her husband John scooped £280,000 on the EuroMillions draw. Mrs Sutherland had her ticket checked at the Co-op in the town, the day after the draw, on June 7, and had presumed that there was a problem with it, after being told the shop could not pay out. It was only once she got home, that she realised that she and her husband had matched all five numbers and one lucky star, winning £282,950. The couple plan to pay off their mortgage and take the kids to the American Disney experience. John has no plans to quit his job, though.

THE
Italian couple had been on a travelling holiday when their motorbike was in collision with a car on the A836 Thurso-Reay road at Drumhollistan, on Saturday. Emanuele Nico (44) and his girlfriend Liana Pinotti (45) have two sons from previous relationships. Police continue to appeal for the driver of a van which was travelling west, and was overtaken by a motorcycle prior to the collision, to get in touch with them.

THE
final front-page story reports the good news for Thrumsterís playpark plan. It is to receive £10,000 from the Big Lottery Fundís Awards for All programme. Secretary of the Thrumster Park Regeneration fund, Rhona Gill said this would, hopefully, jump-start the groupís ambitious plans to provide new play facilities for local youngsters.

INSIDE,
thereís a piece about the problem David Stark experienced in connection with a civic reception. The wheelchair user accused Highland Council of living in the Dark Ages for staging the function in the former council chambers in the town hall, which he could not access. However, the local authority insisted the fault lay, not with it, but the voluntary group which arranged the event to mark the 200th anniversary of the completion of the Thomas Telford-designed mill lade.

WICK
gala, organised by a new committee, has been hailed a triumph. Chairman Donna Plowman said the week had raised over £12,000 with the final total yet to be realised. She said there were some tremendous turnouts for a lot of the events and it had generated plenty ideas for next year. The story is accompanied by a selection of stunning fireworks pictures.

THE
paper follows up the gala night concerns expressed by guest speaker Dr Tim Shallcross. As well as remeniscing about his enjoyable and rewarding time in Caithness, the consultant, who is due to move to a new job in Elgin, later this year, with NHS Grampian, sounded a warning to local folk about the risks, he believes exist, to the future of Caithness General Hospital. Dr Shallcross said that sustaining a small rural unit such as the General, was going to be more expensive than in the big cities and he questioned, given the current climate of cuts, whether the health department would be financially committed to maintaining the existing level of service. NHS Highland replied that Caithness General, as a rural hospital was protected against closure.

STILL
at the hospital, thereís a two-page photo spread on Prince Charles visits to Caithness General and the Nybster broch. The prince was following in the footsteps of his late grandmother who opened the unit 25 years ago. At the broch, he was shown the remains of a sickle uncovered, possible from the late Iron Age and was ďvery interestedĒ in the find.
TWO pages are also devoted to the annual Halkirk Games with full reports of the competitions and records broken.

ON
page seven, thereís concern about the abuse referees have been receiving from dugouts this summer. The season has witnessed a record number of cases where managers have been ordered from the field because of foul-mouthed tirades, directed at the men in black. Up to last week, the equivalent of 10 red cards have been issued to five managers of county first-division clubs. Suleiman Makhouli, chairman of the local refs, said the abuse must stop, or more refs will hang up their whistles.

BACK
page sport is dominated by that six-goal thriller at Harmsworth Park which ended in a 3-3 draw for Wick Academy and Clach, playing their first game of the season. It was a bad-tempered affair with 32 fouls and four yellow cards shown.