John O' Groat Journal headlines for December 23, 2016

A SURFER was rescued by Thurso lifeboat yesterday after he got into difficulties when he went to retrieve his surfboard. The person, named locally as Kev Neal from the Helmsdale area, was part of a group from the Helmsdale area surfing in the Thurso East area.

CHRISTMAS came early for dozens of people across Caithness as they received a festive hamper from the people who provide a lifeline to them by offering essential care and support in their own homes. Staff from White Heather Homecare in Thurso, delivered 60 hampers to its service users across Caithness this week.

HIGHLAND Council will have a gap of almost 25 million to plug next year it has been confirmed. The local authority's finance director, Derek Yule, outlined the stark reality this week after criticising a "misleading" Scottish budget announced on Thursday.

CAITHNESS Music TV is top of the pops after latest viewing figures revealed it is the most watched television programme on the channel the show is broadcast.

RAIL passenger numbers between Caithness and Inverness have dropped by almost 15,000 in the last five years because of the "poor service". Mike Lunan, the convener of the Friends of the Far North Line, blames the unreliability of the trains as one of the main factors for the downturn.

HIGHLAND councillors have pledged to do more to reduce hate crime. They have unanimously supported a motion calling for racism, xenophobia and all other hate crime to be condemned in the north and have agreed to do more personally to achieve the goal.

FAR north MP Paul Monaghan has visited on of the largest employers in Caithness as it celebrates its 30th anniversary year. The SNP member met Ashley Ann owner, Stephen Bremner, and many of the 130-strong team at the kitchen specialist's Wick factory.