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Even after the pre-Christmas spending spree, Dundee folk still had enough money in their pockets to descend on the sales in stores across the city yesterday looking for bargains.
Some sales were launched the previous day, although others began only yesterday when, after a quiet start, the city centre was soon thronged with thousands of bargain hunters.
Two things were hard to find without queuing – a parking space and someplace to enjoy a cup of coffee and a snack. Most central on-street spaces were taken by lunchtime and the off-street parks had tailbacks from the entrances or motorist driving round in circles seeking a space.
Debenhams was one of the first city centre stores to open their doors to queue’s of bargain hunters on Boxing Day. Business was busy throughout the day and manager Mr Paul Struthers described the shop floor as “choc-a-clock” with shoppers. Spending was up on last year and the staff are expecting a busy week.
McGill’s gave their customers more time to get over Christmas before opening their doors at 10 a.m. With prices slashed by as much as 50% on many items, trade was described as “hectic”.
Large retail warehouses on the outskirts were also doing good business. The M.F.I sale started early on Boxing Day and, by close of trading it had seem one of its busiest days. Sales were up by 17% on last year, with fitted kitchens proving most popular buys.
Another Kingsway West store, Texas Homecare, had a number of special Boxing Day offers for post-Christmas shoppers. Furniture and bathrooms were in demand.
The biggest surprise for store managers this year was the reduction of shoppers using credit cards and opting to pay by cash or cheque.
Dundee travel agents offering cut-price deals found themselves in the front line of the post Christmas sales rush yesterday.
“We have been very, very busy,” said Pickford’s manager Mr Brian Fenton. “I haven’t even had a chance to work out how many people have been in and how many bookings we have taken, but it has been a lot.”
“Today has been the main sale day for us, offering up to £60 off bookings. Most of the interest has been in European holidays and also the States.”
Mr Fenton said Pickford’s six staff had been dept on the go throughout the day processing clients requests.
Venturing into one-day sale territory for the first time was Lunn Poly in Reform Street.
“The place has been mobbed since ten to nine” said manager Lynda Marr.
Offering a £60 discount off all booking, Lynda said customers were snapping everything from simple flights to London to long haul journeys. “Europe, Spain and last minute winter holidays are all going”.
Christmas is just an ordinary day for the men and women who volunteer to run the telephone switchboard of Dundee’s Samaritans.
All through the holiday, and every day of the year, somebody is waiting by the phone, ready to help.
An as usual, the Christmas celebrations have brought in a catalogue of sadness in their wake.
What should be the happiest time of the year leaves many people feeling lonely and close to despair as Susan of the Samaritans explained.
“I don’t know if the thought of what was to come was too much for people to bear, but our overnight shift was busy right through the night.
“We had calls from single parents facing up to children who wouldn’t get the kind of presents their friends do. The just didn’t know where the money was coming from.
“Marital problems and family pressures really show up around this time too”.
“But over Christmas it’s particularly the problems of bereavement we have to deal with. People who have had a family Christmas in the past find themselves alone and need somebody to talk to.
“Most of our callers are on a one-off basis. They don’t give a name of anything but we also have quite a few callers who phone us up over a period. They can develop into befriending when a couple of Samaritans will go out to visit”.
Nobody would doubt the valuable service provided by the Samaritans. But a lack of manpower means it is becoming increasingly difficult to offer round-the-clock service.
“We covered every shift over Christmas – just” said Susan.
“It’s a struggle. We have between 90 and 100 Samaritans when we really need 140 to have two people here all the time.
“Volunteers need to be able to offer three and a half hours three to four times a month, about once a week. One of those shifts should be an overnight stay.
“We have a training session coming up in the spring and anyone interested can contact us on 26666 for information.
Staff at Ninewells Hospital are seeking public support to help them purchase a necessary piece of equipment for the intensive care unit.
Nurses are hoping to buy a Roho mattress, specially designed to prevent bed sores forming on patients too ill to be moved.
The appeal was launched a couple of months aft and at first, interest was keen. However, support has now dwindled so the nurses have renewed their appeal for help.
What is needed to but the mattress is the astonishing figure of 17,000 tokens – BP Lifestyle tokens to be precise. If that total can be collected, the petrol company have said they will purchase the Roho for Ninewells. Tokens are available at all BP service stations in the country with each £6 worth of petrol purchased.
To date, BP says Lifestyle tokens have been used to buy mini buses and guide dogs. Ninewells Hospital would love to see a Roho mattress added to that list.
Sister Sharon Jeffrey of the intensive care unit explained yesterday that about 2000 tokens had been collected so far. “We are really grateful to everyone who has handed tokens in”
“When we first launched the appeal, quite a large number of people handed them in but things have quietened down”.
People willing to donate their tokens to Ninewells can post them direct to the hospital, or put them into the collection boxes at the hospital entrance and at various locations throughout the city, including some BP stations.
A specially trained team of social workers gave up Christmas at home with their families in Dundee to help the grieving relatives and townspeople in Lockerbie.
Tayside’s Social work director Mr Peter Bates paid tribute to the selfless decision of his staff to put themselves in the frontline and carry out a very traumatic task.
Mr Bates said that within half an hour of the announcement that the Boeing 747 had crashed, his department established contact with senior officers in the social work department of Dumfries and Galloway offering assistance.
Mr Bates explained that following the Piper Alpha tragedy last year, intensive training in counselling and other work associated with a major civil disaster was given to a select number of social workers.
Experts in the fields of social work and psychology, who had experience with the Bradford football fire and the Zeebrugge ferry disaster, were brought in for a major training event in Tayside just a few weeks ago.
“A group of about 30 staff have been through this training” said Mr Bates, “It is very, very demanding work”.
Less than two days after the Pan Am jet crashed, social workers for Dundee were on their way to Lockerbie.
“At three o’clock last Friday we received a phone call from the director of social work in Dumfries and Galloway. He was asking if we could send a team to help”, said Mr Bates.
“We had another phone call yesterday asking if we could send another team of Dundee workers, which we have done.”
The director said he was expecting two member of the first Dundee team to return late last night, but the duo would probably return to Lockerbie on Sunday, after a brief respite from their counselling work.
Mr Bates said there were three levels of assistance which the team was offering, practical assistance, grief counselling and work with the local community.
The director explained that on a practical level the team had to help not only the local people of Lockerbie who had been left homeless and needed shelter, but also the American relatives of passengers from the stricken plane.
The team is also involver in “very extensive” grief counselling with people who have been directly affected.
The director said his teams would be made available as long as they were needed, and on past experience, that could be several months.
The Dundee social workers responded to the call for help without hesitation, and at short notice, at a time when they had every right to expect a happy time at home with their families.
Genuine Reductions in All Departments
8, Whitehall Street,
95, Seagate, Dundee
Christmas and New Year Holidays
The Bureau will be CLOSED from today (Wednesday, December 21) at 4.30 p.m. and will REOPEN Thursday, January 5, 1989 at 10 a.m.
(sgd.) Kathleen Scott, Bureau Manager.
We would like to Wish All Our Customers and Friends
A Very Happy Christmas and
A Prosperous New Year.
The Festive season’s anti drink driving campaign in Tayside has been a resounding success so far this year, with positive tests down despite an increase in breath-testing of more than 400%.
Tayside Police announced yesterday that no positive tests were taken on Christmas Day, making a total of 52 positive tests with two refusals since the beginning of the campaign on December 2.
This compares with 65 positive tests over the same period last year when only a quarter of this year’s total of drivers were breathalysed.
The comparison between Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day 1987 to this year is equally encouraging, with only seven positive tests over the three-day holiday period compared to 12 last year.
Changing the Way Britain Shops
Family Circle Assorted Biscuits 1 kg tub £2.49.
Victoria Luxury Assorted Biscuits 1 kg tin £4.69.
Mackintosh’s Quality Street 5lb tin £8.95.
Selected Cox’s Apples (loose) 49p per lb.
Cadbury’s Milk Tray 1lb box £2.69.
Coca Cola/Diet Coca Cola 2 litre bottle 75p.
Schweppes Tonic pack of 6 x 500ml bottles £1.99.
Tesco All Butter Fully Iced Rich Fruit Cake 3lb £7.25.
Tesco Deep Filled Mince Pies pack of 6 56p.
Tesco Luxury Christmas Pudding 1 lb size £2.65.
Tesco Claret 75cl bottle £1.95.
The Wellgate Centre,