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Children In Need

CROWDS flocked to Stranraer’s Millennium Centre on Friday night for a memorable Children In Need party.

At one point, around a thousand people packed in to the centre as a BBC team filmed the fun for nationwide broadcast.

At 7.15 pm the first live snippet was beamed out; a brief introductory flash to the screaming crowd.

Presenter Heather Suttie fronted a two-minute live slot just after 7.30 where she went around some of the stalls chatting to various characters including a Harry Potter lookalike and a dead-ringer for cartoon baddie Cruella De Ville.

Investigations by the “Free Press” later revealed that Cruella was, in fact, Eileen Bryant, project worker for lone parent support charity Gingerbread.

The group — a national charity — launched a Stranraer branch in September and managed, between that and their Whithorn branch, to raise £431.65 for Children In Need.

The money kept flooding in all night. Donations were required to gain entry to the Centre and, once in, there were a range of stalls and games designed to make the kind-hearted public part with some of their cash.

Iain Clark, the former Park School headteacher, was local compere for the evening and joked:

“Stranraer had to look far and wide for a host older than Terry Wogan, but they eventually found one — me!”

Of his co-compere, BBC girl Heather Suttie, he added:

“I found her very easy to work with — she genuinely seemed to enjoy working with all the children”.

Mr Clark added “I was really pleased with the turnout from the town, It was beyond my wildest dreams. We know that the BBC were very pleased with the output from Stranraer because they fed that back to us in the Centre”.

Phillip Miller, from the Chamber of Commerce, who hastily but successfully arranged the evening of fundraising fun gave the night his thumbs-up too, adding

“the turnout was just incredible”.

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