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As Tayside fruit farmers count the cost of last week’s gales which wreaked havoc on their crops, a Dundee-based farmer is determined to win millions of pounds in compensation from the Government. Mr Douglas McIntyre, a former National Farmers’ Union official, will ask Mrs Thatcher on behalf of Scottish fruit growers for £2.5 million – a similar figure to that which hop growers in England received following damage caused by their October storm.
Mr McIntyre’s calculations have revealed that this is the amount Scottish farmers stand to lose through crop damage. The figure for Tayside alone is likely to run into hundreds of thousands of pounds, with one grower alone estimating his loss at £100,000.
“The storm has cost me about £25,000 but there are bigger fruit growers in Tayside who have lost more than twice this sum” he said.
“Scotland has some 5000 acres devoted to fruit growing and the figures show that, on average, a ton of berries per acre has been lost.
“At £500 per ton, that works out at £2.5 million. On top of this some farmers would have sold their berries for basket fruit are having to pulp them and stand to lose £150 per ton.
“The storm is one of the worst we have had and it has left many canes damaged, which may affect next year’s crop as well.
“Mrs Thatcher gave hop growers about £3 million and I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect her to compensate us in the same way as she did people badly hit in England. I will be asking all local farmers to contact me with details of how much they have lost and then I will submit a claim on their behalf.”
One of the area’s largest growers, Forfar farmer, Donald Morrison, estimated the gale has cost him £100,000.
“I would say 30% of my crop has simply blown away,” he said.
“The margins for rasp growers are fairly slim and a loss of this size is quit a blow. I can tell Mr McIntyre that I will be behind him all the way”.
The storm has also had a knock-on effect in Angus, where the devastation in the berry fields has meant the loss of 150 seasonal jobs in a Forfar canning factory.
The amount of soft fruit which survived the gales is so far down on expectations that Lockwood’s Foods have had to lay off all their temporary staff. A spokeswoman for the firm said that 150 people were taken on to cope with the tons of raspberries expected.
“However the weather conditions have meant that the amount of berries coming in for canning is 30% down on normal. We therefore had no choice but to lay off all the temporary staff last week” she explained.
The spokeswomen said that as yet it was too early to determine what the full effect of the failure of such an important crop would be on the cannery business.
A spokesman for Perth and Angus Fruit Growers confirmed that they too had been forced to lay off workers, although he could not release precise figures.
By The Sports Editor
It will take time for everyone connected with football on Tayside and many further afield to absorb the news that George Grant, who was appointed chairman of Dundee United on Tuesday, collapsed and died yesterday.
My own stunned disbelief started when a sombre group of directors called the Press together just after mid-day yesterday and Vice-chairman Dr Harry Leadbitter said “We deeply regret to announce the sudden and unexpected death of our chairman George Grant.
“He has been a director for many years and his death will be a great loss to us all. He collapsed and died about 11.30 this morning”
It was all too sudden and too unexpected for any immediate reaction, but as the day wore on I found myself remembering George, who was 67, as a man with a ready smile, with an optimistic view of life.
A man who, through he took his duties seriously, and who loved football in general and Dundee United in particular, fortunately stopped short of the all-embracing view that the game is more important than life or death.
I had congratulated him only hours before, it seemed, on achieving chairmanship of the club he had served for 14 years as a board member and there was no doubting that he was proud to have assumed the role his brother Mr Johnston Grant, who died in 1984, filled so successfully for the 16 years which saw United emerge as one of the major powers in Scottish and European football.
His stewardship lasted only two days, but he did achieve the role so many covet but so few attain.
Many things will not be the same again.
Possibly most of all I will miss that smile, that joke or when, for instance, in some foreign country where the phones didn’t work, the food wasn’t all it should be and things in general were below par, he would bounce into the hotel lounge as others were collecting themselves for the day ahead and, fresh from a brisk walk and having already had breakfast, he made everyone around him feel it wasn’t such a bad world after all.
The players’ reaction was summed up by Paul Hegarty as “sad and shocked”.
“My memory of him will always be of his thoughtfulness. When, for instance, you won an international honour of any kind he always made a point of telephoning to congratulate you.
“It was typical of a man who was a genuinely pleasant person” he said.
Mr Grant was, at the last count, the major shareholder with 2630 to his name. Already speculation is growing as to the destination of these shares and the future constitution of Tannadice.
It was only on Tuesday that former chairman George Fox stood down to make way for George Grant and Dr Leadbitter stepped up to vice-chairman.
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The Institute of Production Engineers
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The first phase of what will eventually be some £1 million worth of landscaping on the redeveloped central waterfront of Dundee is nearing completion.
It’s in the form of a section of brick-built walkway bordered on both sides by newly planted trees, shrubs and other plants and with seating “bays” spaced along its length.
The new walkway and related landscaping has been constructed at a cost of £80,000 at the west end of the waterfront enterprise zone area, on a “wedge” of land to the south of the track approaches to the Tay Rail Bridge and to the north of Riverside Drive.
Most work in the area will follow, but only after completion of major construction work involve in the central waterfront development, likely to start in early October.
A spokesman for the Dundee Project said the waterfront development would be landscaped in “a major way”.
It had been decided to proceed with the first phase – funded by the Scottish Development Agency – because it would not be disrupted by main construction work in the area.
There may be more Dundee motorists than originally thought who are using the Romanian-made Danubina tyres, a make which has been branded dangerous by trading standards officers
Last week the Department of Transport issued a recall on all Danubina tyres after they were found to have structural instability and were prone to tread separation.
Tayside Region’s trading standards department initially believed there was only one Tayside stockist of the Danubinas but it has since been found that others have sold the product in the past.
One stockist said yesterday that he had sold a small number of the tyres but others in the area had sold many more.
Anyone who has Danubina tyres should return them to their supplier immediately.
AEK Athens 1, Dundee United 2
Dundee United beat AEK Athens 201 yesterday in an exhibition match. Playing before a packed stadium of 25, 000 fans in the Athens suburb of Nea Philadelphia, the two teams got off to a sluggish start with no real scoring opportunities until the second half.
AEK striker Giorgos Savidis scored an own goal in the 53rd minute to open the scoring for United. Midfielder Ian Redford made it 2-0 in the 78th minute, scoring with a header.
However, eight minutes before the final whistle, David Bowman knocked down AEK’s Dimitris Pitta inside the penalty area and the Greek player scored from the penalty kick.
The game was held as part of the pres-season build up to the start of the Scottish and Greek league campaigns which begin later this month.
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Red Adair and his fire-fighters yesterday continued their successful operation to make safe the stricken Piper Alpha platform following a weekend break. An Occidental spokesman said the team boarded the platform at 7 a.m. and were repairing and replacing valves before plugging the remaining wellheads with cement.
Remote-controlled mini-submarines are continuing to survey the wreckage of the Piper Alpha to assess how the next stage of the clear-up operation will be tackled. Four survivor of the disaster, which killed 157 people, remain in hospital in Aberdeen.
Jason Donovan, star of the hit Australian soap “Neighbours,” is paying a short visit to Scotland to make a record and on Saturday night was at the Bally’s nightclub in Arbroath with his co-star and reputed girl friend Kylie Minogue.
While he told reported, “I finished recording a new song on Friday, which will be released as a single, but as yet I am not prepared to release the title.” He does not intend to turn solely to music for a career and intends to remain in the acting profession. “I see the music business as an extension to my career but have no intention of giving up acting” he said.
After his brief Press call he appeared on stage, much to the delight of hundreds of adoring female fans, and told the audience he was delighted at being in Scotland.