Caithness Courier review: October 12, 2011

social club has come under the threat of closure, the paper reports in its front page lead story. The Thurso Club, which has been in existence for over 50 years, could close its doors next month with the loss of eight part-time staff, unless trade picks up. The club’s finances were described as having reached “a critical stage”. Income has not matched running costs and cash and bank reserves have been used to help keep the club operational. But now, the bank has restricted the use of the club’s account and suppliers are insisting on upfront payments before making deliveries. Secretary Ian Mackay said the club was facing “a very serious situation”. He urged members to attend an EGM, later this month and hoped a way of saving the club, which has played an important part in the social history of the town, could be found.

Highland councillor Robert Coghill is backing Halkirk parents’ complaint about the replacement of a teacher at the village primary school. Mr Coghill shares their disquiet about how the education authority has handled the issue, condemning an absence of consultation. At the same time, he and parent representatives are keen to disassociate themselves from a letter sent to the incoming teacher saying she is unwelcome. The row erupted, after parents were informed a week before the end of the autumn term, that popular primary one teacher Vilene Waddell, was not being kept on. Her temporary contract was wound up and she is being replaced by Angie MacGregor, a redeployed nursery teacher.

teacher is back in the UK, helped by the support of the people of Caithness. Thurso businessman Mark Taylor’s epic fundraising adventure has been instrumental in bringing home his little brother, Matthew, from hospital in Singapore. The Picture Box and Hush boutique owner swam six miles of the Pentland Firth, scaled the three highest peaks in the UK and cycled over 600 miles, all in under a week, arriving at the finish line at John O’ Groats, on Saturday. By Monday Matthew, who was involved in a motorcycle crash, was being flown from Singapore to the intensive care unit at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. He was reported to be stable and “just resting up”.

, the paper reports that a local councillor has urged people to attend a meeting in Thurso later this month on Highland Council’s draft Gaelic language plan. Landward Caithness representative, Robert Coghill, said that the session, in the town’s high school, would give members of the public a chance to express their views on the subject. He urged people to attend the meeting, as it would give them an opportunity to participate in a proper debate about Gaelic. He argued the Caithness public was not against the Gaelic language, but was opposed to bilingual road signs.

shepherd was hailing her tremendous trio of North Country Cheviot lambs after they were sold for a five-figure sum. Morven Coghill (36) of Seaforth near Dunnet, took home over £15,000 from the Lairg NCC ram sale last Tuesday. At the sale of lambs to be used as breeding rams, Miss Coghill’s trio was one of the highest earners of the day. Borders farmers Jimmy and William Thomson from Yetholm, bought two of her lambs for the £8000 and £6,500 with the third lamb selling for £650. Delighted Miss Coghill who owns a smallholding, which is home to 25 ewes and which produces around 40 lambs a year, said that she had never made anything above three figures before.

local breeders shared the top places at the Caithness Rabbit Fanciers Association’s annual show in Lybster. Best in show and best fur titles went to Jane Wallace with a Hustlander while the reserve best in show and best fancy awards were won b Maureen Thomson with a REW Lionhead. Judge Maerwyn Kelsey also named D. Newlands as having the best cavy and Abbie Thomson as best junior cavy winner and best pet rabbit, at last month’s event.

woman who has twice battled a rare cancer, faced her fear of heights by abseiling 165 feet off the Forth Bridge. Annette Ward, a mum of two from Dunnet, who was given just one year to live, seven years ago, described the experience as “brilliant” and said she was really pleased to have completed the challenge on October 2. She said: “It was brilliant but it’s a long way up.” “Once I was over the edge, it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be, as I was in control. I was shaking like a leaf when I got down underneath, but I was just really chuffed to have done it.”

has been paid to a veteran Dounreay engineer who died at the age of 90. Jonathan (Jon) Kirk who worked at the plant for over 30 years, was described as “a great engineer from a bygone era” by Mike Brown, reactors decommissioning manager at the site. Mr Kirk worked at the DFR fast reactor from its construction in the 1950s to its shutdown in 1977. He continued to assist in the decommissioning of the plant until his retirement in 1986 but never really retired. Mr Brown said: “he worked for me under contract, until he was 83 years old, providing a wealth of information and support for the decommissioning teams. If drawings did not reflect the current condition of the reactor, Jon would remember the changes that had been made, and always kept us on the straight and narrow.”