Leader comment: ‘The shops were heaving for the sales’

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The people of Portobello may have given the cold shoulder to one festive event this year – but it has been good to see two other Boxing Day traditions being supported with gusto in the Capital.

It is impossible not to feel sorry for fundraisers at the children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent after they were forced to cancel a Boxing Day Dip at Edinburgh’s seaside because they could not find a single hardy volunteer.

The Capital’s inhospitable winter weather hasn’t stopped South Queensferry’s Loony Dook becoming a popular annual event, but this second chilly swim was clearly a step too far for many charitable souls.

The waters at Portobello may have been deserted, but the shops were heaving for the traditional Boxing Day sales.

Heavy high street discounting earlier in December and the unstoppable rise of internet shopping had lead to predictions the annual sales would lose their appeal.

But the hundreds queueing outside Next in Princes Street at 6am proved that sales shopping is still perhaps Scotland’s most popular winter sport.

And that has to be a good thing, both for hard-pressed traders and all the shoppers who love a bargain.

Everyone may be tightening their belts, and keener than ever to bag a bargain, but it certainly hasn’t killed off the Capital’s charitable spirit.

Good causes may be feeling the pinch as donations slow down across the UK.

But city-based Mercy Corps chose Boxing Day – a traditional time for charitable giving – to reveal that Edinburgh residents donated a staggering £400,000 to fund their international relief work last year.

It is truly inspiring to know that your generosity saved lives around the world.

And if you are moved to give something more in the coming days you may wish to consider a donation to Mercy Corps . . . or to CLIC Sargent.

A fresh start

IT is amazing what you can achieve when you don’t forget the simple things in life.

The number of hospital wards closed due to outbreaks of the norovirus winter vomiting bug has been more than halved this year.

The dramatic improvement is being put down to more people – both NHS staff and visitors – remembering to wash their hands.

The result has to be welcomed, but it is hard not to wonder how we ended up in such as state in the first place.