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50 years ago – March 31, 1962

CALEDONIAN Princess, the 3000-ton luxury steamer owned by the Caledonian Steam Packet Co (Irish Services) Ltd, is now an established link across the North Channel between Scotland and Northern Ireland after only five months in service. This new ship – her captain says she is the finest in the Irish Sea, and we can well believe him – is already opening up unlimited opportunities for the trader and business-man. A week ago the local press were invited to experience a sail across the channel on the new vessel. Last Friday was, indeed, a lovely day with the Scottish and Irish coasts bathed in bright spring-like sunshine. The Caledonian Princess proudly and swiftly cut her way through the loch and across the channel in little over two hours. The Caledonian Princess carries 1400 passengers – 400 of then first class – and a crew of 77. There are 82 first-class sleeping berths in one- and two-berth cabins and two cabins deluxe, as well as 94 second class passengers in two- and four- berth cabins. The restaurant, which seats 50, has on its axis a decorative panel, specially designed by Mrs Lynton Lamb. The return journey was made in the evening, an excellent dinner being served on board the ship before she berthed back in Stranraer.

WHILE remaining reluctant to the idea of linkage at all, the congregation of Bargrennan Parish Church on Tuesday night decided to form a linkage with the congregation of Monigaff Parish Church, nine miles away. More than 21 of the congregation of in excess of 80 attended.

25 years ago – April 4, 1987

FRIDAY’S announcement that the international Nestle company was to close down its Dunragit factory with the loss of 106 jobs has brought universal condemnation from political and trade union sources. The factory will close down in 1989 after a slow decline in production, despite efforts by the company to develop new products which could be made with existing equipment.

The closure was described as a “betrayal of a dedicated workforce” by Stephen Norris, the SNP prospective candidate for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale. Mr Norris particularly deplored the closure because the Nestle factory in Dunragit had been used to experiment with a variety of different product lines.

He said it was not only the jobs at the Dunragit factory which would go but there would be a knock-on effect for the general community, with jobs being put at risk in local haulage firms both in Stranraer and Drummore as well as in the service sector.

GALLOWAY MP Ian Lang was this week accused of treating his constituents with contempt because he is preparing to take part in a political debate on television while continuing to refuse to take part in a local discussion panel. Mr Lang’s acceptance of the invitation has angered the local trades council, which has been trying for several months to persuade him to appear as part of a local panel discussion group. The MP has refused the invitation because he was too busy, but has offered to ensure the Conservative Party is represented at any such meeting locally.