NOSTALGIA

1972: HAWICK’S population almost doubled on Saturday as over 12,000 visitors from “a the airts” streamed in for the World Pipe Band Championships at Volunteer Park, which provided a glorious and memorable day.

From the breakfast hours it was clear that this was no ordinary day. Streams of cars and coaches flowed into the town from all directions and the Common Haugh and every other car park in the area was quickly filled to capacity.

Visitors and kilted competitors and officials mingled with townsfolk on the High Street and the strains of pipe-band music could be heard in every part of town as the proceedings warmed up.

Although attendances at the arena were good throughout the day, most folk chose the afternoon to visit the championship, and the most colourful spectacle of the entire event was the closing parade and prize-giving when the 99 competing bands marched past the Chieftain for the day, Brigadier Frank Coutts, who took the salute.

As townspeople and visitors made their way home, it was undoubtedly with the feeling that Hawick had proved itself capable of handling the big occasion in style.

1982: THE number out of work in Hawick and Jedburgh is on the increase, according to figures released by the Regional Council.

A total of 1,089 people were registered unemployed in April, including 772 men and 317 women. Although this figure is only an increase of eight from the March figures, and a decrease of 65 from the January total, it is still 90 more than in September last year.

Moreover, the largest number of unemployed people under 19 years old in the Borders live in Hawick. In May, 58 were registered compared to 47 in Galashiels.

BECAUSE of the high number of empty houses in the area, the Distirct Council has lost £26,500 in rent since the beginning of the financial year in April.

At the Housing Committee meeting in the council chambers on Monday, it was stated that £21,500 of that amount was from Hawick, where there are 161 vacant houses, including 26 at The Meadows, where three blocks have been closed off.

1992: RAYMOND Chlopas, secretary of the Scottish Cashmere Association and a director of the Hawick Knitwear Manufacturers’ Association, left for Brussels yesterday (Thursday) for a showdown with senior European Community officials over an unauthorised flood of cheap Chinese garments in to Europe.

Mr Chlopas said Scottish knitwear firms had been badly let down by the failure of EU countries to monitor Chinese imports. “Our inquiries have uncovered other doubtful practices which could have a detrimental impact on the Scottish cashmere trade. We will be advocating a tax on Chinese imports to allow United Kingdom manufacturers to compete on equal terms.”

Mr Chlopas is working with European textile organisations, including the Italian Cashmere Association, to clean up the trade. Scottish buyers tracked down one dubious operation in Belgium which offered to stitch any kind of label on to second-class sweaters.

2002: A HAWICK rugby star has been hailed a hero this week.

Former Greens prop Craig Dunlea earned recognition from Borders police after he foiled a raid on a local television store.

In the early hours of Christmas Eve 2000, the New Zealander, who moved to Hawick just over two years ago, was woken in his O’Connell Street flat by the sound of breaking glass.

After spotting four men outside the shop clutching electrical goods and another standing on the corner, Craig asked his girlfriend Helena to contact police before challenging them.

The 26-year-old chased one of the culprits, who got away, but on returning to the scene he cornered another man who was subsequently detained by police. The man who made off was eventually arrested thanks to Craig’s accurate description.

In recognition of his brave and selfless action, Craig received a Lothian and Borders Police Meritorious Award at Wilton Hill yesterday (Thursday).

Playing down his role, he said: “When it happened I didn’t hesitate, it was just one of those things and I would probably do it again.

“I didn’t want to see the guy’s livelihood being ripped off and I expect most people would do the same thing if they were in my shoes.”

MORE nostalgia in Friday’s paper.