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Thread: Guest speaker addresses Wick criticism

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Default Guest speaker addresses Wick criticism

    Jenny champions Wick and its "best in Britain" gala

    THE enduring spirit of Wick and its annual gala were highlighted at the weekend by one of its best known residents, Jenny Szyfelbain who sprang to the defence of the royal burgh recently branded "the shabbiest town north of Inverness" by a critic."
    She spoke out in her address as guest speaker at the gala week's coronation curtain-raiser at the Riverside, on Saturday night.
    Mrs Szyfelbain referred to a letter in the latest edition of the John O' Groat Journal from visitor, William Bruce, who pulled no punches in his take on the state of the town.
    He parodied the burgh's motto saying that "it didn't seem to wark so weel" so far as maintaining the appearance of many of the town-centre shops were concerned which maintained were "in a poor state of repair".
    Mr Bruce, from Boltachan House, Aberfeldy, called on the Groat to launch a campaign urging action by the property landlords to show some respect for the town's citizens by "giving them back a town centre in which they could take some pride."
    Mr Bruce highlighted eyesores such as the derelict Pavilion Cinema which he maintained could be redeveloped for housing or a commercial plan. He added that the eyesores detracted from the "good work" being done elsewhere, at the harbour the heritage centre flower baskets displays
    Taking issue with the criticism, Mrs Szyfelbain said that the shops and their staff were "anything but downrodden".
    She went on: "We have a lovely community and a thriving town centre, regardless of what some people think and Wickers have a sense of humour, they can deal with that kind of nonsense. (the criticism) They can stick it on a gala lorry and poke a bit of fun at it. People have broad shoulders, they don't take offence."
    Mrs Szyfelbain praised Wick's traders who she said always dug deep in their support of gala week and went on: "Some of the shops may be needing a lick of paint but in the case of rented premises, it is the responsibility of the landlord. The small shopkeepers always dig deep in gala week."
    Mrs Szyfelbain enthused about the annual gala and her pride in being "a Weeker" and gave a ringing endorsement of the annual festival as the best in Britain because it had "an atmosphere you could "see, smell and taste" adding "there's nothing quite like it in the length and breadth of the country and it's great fun".
    Earlier, Donna Plowman, who chairs the gala committee, extended a warm welcome to local folk and visitors alike, to the crowning of this year's queen Claire Risbridger, by last year's queen, Katie Dunnett. Wickers, said, Mrs Plowman were noted for their generosity as well as their friendship.
    She also referred to the "kind hearts" and loyalty of townspeople and traders whose generous support enabled the gala to continue.
    Mrs Plowman said that the proceeds from the event were ploughed back into the community and highlighted the "wonderful" new playpark on the other side of the river, as an example. She concluded with a tribute to her industrious gala committee and other volunteers.
    Mrs Plowman called upon last year's gala queen, Katie Dunnett to perform the crowning ceremony to warm applause from the audience.
    Queen Claire said that both courts were "looking lovely" and expressed the hope that the weather would hold for the duration of the week. Last year's event was hit by torrential rain. The Queen described the hard work done by the gala committee as "magnificent" and "second to none" and invited townspeople to participate in the week's varied programme.
    Afterwards Wick RBLS pipe band led her royal entourage in a procession of 10 floats and fancy dress collectors, through the town to Wick Assembly Rooms for the presentation of prizes.
    Gala week continues today with a baby show, the popular children's fancy dress competition at the Braehead and a "Can't Cook Won't Cook" demonstration at the Assembly Rooms.
    Last edited by Nwicker60; 28-Jul-15 at 13:06.

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