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50 years ago – March 10, 1962

LESS than a week after the closing of the Flood Relief Fund for those who suffered during last October’s gales, villagers of the Isle of Whithorn were again threatened this week with serious flooding. Tides of over 30-foot, similar to those last October, were whipped up by a gale force south-east wind and foaming breakers pounded into the back gardens and up to the doors of houses in the lower half of the village. This time, however, the villagers were prepared and sandbag barricades kept the water from entering the houses which last year were worse affected.

A Church of Scotland minister from Castle Douglas blames parents for lax teen-age morals. The Rev. Dr Doulgas Maycock made the attack, writing on “sex before marriage” in “Rally”, the magazine of the Tell Scotland movement. He condemns “sex plugging” in the press, cinema and on TV, and “adults who watch plays of a questionable character and fail to see they are undermining the moral resistance of their young folk”. Sex relations before marriage, Dr Maycock says, may bring years of “bitter regret” to young people. “Young people”, he says, “often deceive themselves on the subject of pre-marital relations”. They went so far in self-deception as to say it was better to anticipate marriage and so find the right partner. In fact, it was safe to assume that most of those who found their way to the divorce courts had not exercised self-restraint before and after marriage. “The Church is well aware that young folk have a difficult time”, writes Dr Maycock. “But so called ‘free love’ can be a very costly thing.

25 years ago – March 14, 1987

A Stranraer family had an anxious wait this week when Ian Calderwood, formerly of the town, was the last man pulled alive from the stricken Townsend Thoresen ferry Herald of Free Enterprise after it capsized moments after leaving the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, killing 193 passengers and crew. Long distance lorry driver, Mr Calderwood, 44, who now lives in Dagenham, Essex, survived a nine-hour ordeal in freezing conditions inside the upturned ferry before being winched free by divers, who told him he was lucky to be alive. Mr Calderwood’s daughter Alison sat up with her husband until 3.30 in the morning waiting to hear if her father was one of the survivors.

A plea has been made for action against dog owners who allow their pets to foul a path used regularly by pupils of the Douglas Ewart High School, Newton Stewart, on their way to and from the sports ground. Mr Gordon McIntosh, head of the PE department, has written to the education authority asking for more signs to be erected warning dog owners for the penalties they face for allowing their pets to foul the playing fields and other public places. “The playing fields are bad enough, with pupils regularly falling on dog foulings during games sessions, but the path to and from the fields is even worse,” Mr McIntosh told The Gazette.