30 years ago

FROM the West Sussex County Times of Friday, April 16, 1982.

A 14-DAY cruise for around 450 West Sussex schoolchildren is likely to be called off as their ship, the SS Uganda, is destined for the Falklands as part of the naval task force.

Children from Tanbridge House and Millais schools were due to be taking part. Nearly 1,000 children who had been abroad the Uganda, when it was ear-marked for use as a hospital ship for the fleet, arrived at Gatwick Airport four days before their trip was due to end. Among them were pupils from Handcross Park School in Mid Sussex.

The next trip had been scheduled for departure on April 29, and P&O, owners of the Uganda, say they will inform West Sussex County Council whether the trip it had booked will go ahead on another ship or whether money will be refunded.

The children have each paid £210. They were due to fly from Gatwick to Malta where they would have boarded the Uganda.

Stops on the cruise included Varna in Bulgaria, Trabzon in Turkey, Constanta in Romania and Istanbul, Turkey.

Headmaster of Tanbridge School, Neil Chapman, said that as far as he knew, the cruise for 40 pupils at his school was still on.

He said he had not been told otherwise but he added he thought it was unlikely the cruise would go ahead in view of the circumstances.

Millais Girls’ School also had a party due to go on the Uganda cruise.

TIME is running out for Horsham’s leading department store with the start of its closing down sale. Grant Bros, of Middle Street, has been surrounded by speculation ever since it was revealed last Christmas Eve that the store was to be sold.

Philip Aumonier, managing director of Lawson Hunt Development Ltd, has been negotiating the sale of Grant’s to his company. In a statement he said: “It is our intention to retain the existing retail division at ground and basement floors as retail shops.

“It is not our intention to lease any part of this premises, or any part of the retail area, for use as a bank or building society, estate agents, or anything else.”

The staff at Grant’s, several of whom have worked there for many years, are concerned about what will happen to them.

“Everybody is very upset without exception, and we are all dreading the last day,” said one member of staff. “The customers are very upset too. Some of them have been coming here for 20 years.”

MOTORISTS on the A24 road outside Horsham might have been baffled by the £2 a gallon signs outside a Capel garage, which went up at the beginning of last week.

Any driver with the vaguest knowledge of current petrol prices would surely have raised an eyebrow on seeing the new figures at C and T Motors. With four star petrol selling in the Horsham area at between £1.48 and £1.59 a gallon, the Capel garage offers little inducement to the motorist.

The garage owners admit that the new prices are absurd and over-inflated, but they will remain as they are until a ‘conflict’ with the petrol suppliers, the Jet oil company, is resolved.

Since the £2 gallon was introduced on Monday last week sales have averaged out at 20 gallons a day, compared with normal sales of 800 gallons a day.

This action, according to the garage proprietor, would have put 2p on the price existing before the garage protest which was £1.57. He estimated that with this figure £1.59, petrol sales would have gone down to 200 gallons a day.

“It does not make it worthwhile selling petrol, particularly when our profit margin was not significant at the old price,” he said. Since the garage took its action, two forecourt attendants and one part-time assistant have lost their jobs.

A spokesman for Jet said he was unaware of any conflict between the company and the garage. He admitted that the price support, known as a ‘fighting allowance’ had been withdrawn.

This was because petrol prices had been improving, which meant garages could continue to make a profit, without the company’s assistance, he said.