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Tatton confrontations, MUFC Dortmund, Hale-Bopp comet EWM97 Wk15

Issue number 13 Saturday the 12th of April 1997

Labour election poster on the recently-closed cinema in Withington.  As politicians promote themselves in the media, a rock band gains publicity using American cars.
Labour election poster on the recently-closed cinema in Withington. As politicians promote themselves in the media, a rock band gains publicity using American cars.

A busy week for locally-connected news stories started with the successful running of the Grand National at Aintree, and the clandestine marriage at a registry office in Marylebone, London, of Neil Gallagher and Patsy Kensit.

In the leafy Tatton constituency, which comprises Knutsford, Wilmslow and Macclesfield, Conservative MP Neil Hamilton and anti-sleaze candidate, former journalist Martin Bell continued to confront each other.

A small pub in rural Chelford was at the centre of frantic media attention as local Conservatives met and voted overwhelmingly in favour of adopting Hamilton as their candidate. Later in the week, the Liberal Democrats withdrew their candidate.

On Wednesday, thousands of Manchester United fans were in Dortmund for the match against Borussia Dortmund, and after an all-day party organised by the authorities, attended the game, where Manchester United lost 1-0.

Despite 76 United fans being arrested, Manchester supporters were praised for their generally good behaviour. Manchester hope to do better in the return leg the week after next.

On Thursday, the Manchester Evening News led with the story of a planned meeting at which a Sinn Fein representative was to speak. Mary Nellis, from Northern Ireland, had been invited by the self-styled "Irish in Britain Representation Group" to speak about Sinn Fein's role in the election.

Simon McIlwhaine, Belfast-born Tory candidate for the Manchester Central consitituency expressed, outrage at the meeting, which was to have been held at the Quakers' "Friends Meeting House" building on Mount Street, off Albert Square.

Questioned about the possible insensitivity of such a meeting, IBRG spokeswoman Bernadette Hyland replied: "The Manchester bomb has come and gone". The next day, the Quakers cancelled the booking.

Also on Thursday, Runway 2 protesters lost their fight to avoid eviction from the site near the River Bollin, in the path of the new runway. They plan to appeal, and are as determined as ever to stop the development, but in Mobberley the mood was downbeat.

The owners of Hill House, pictured in issue 1 of Eyewitness in Manchester, have only weeks to go before having to vacate their 17th century house, part of which will be relocated and the rest demolished to make way for the new runway. Elsewhere, Swampy was fined 400 for recent offences. The fines will be paid from donations.

On Friday, St Mary's Hospital announced that Siamese twins had been born to a couple from south Manchester. It's the second time in two years that conjoined babies have been born at the hospital, an extraordinary co-incidence. The parents have requested privacy.

Doctors have been extremely upbeat about the babies' survival chances, though judging from previous cases, the prognosis may not be so good. At least they have the benefit of being cared for at one of Britain's foremost childrens' hospitals by an expert and dedicated team.

The first part of the week was mild and sunny, before cloudier and colder weather took hold. By the weekend, however, bright sunshine had returned, though the temperatures were chilly. The Hale-Bopp comet is still clearly visible in the night sky over Manchester, and the forecast is for dry weather with sunny intervals.

Text and photos by Aidan O'Rourke

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