Tom Little: Glad to do our bit with grotto appeal

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Editor’s Notes

AS is newspaper tradition, this week the Evening News launched its annual Christmas appeal – but we had to think long and hard about it first. Was it fair to ask people to put their hands in their pockets when almost everyone is finding it harder to make ends meet?

Our conclusion – and I hope most readers will agree – was that even in these tough times it is important to stress the Christmas message of helping others. But we set out to find a way to help local folk do that without breaking the bank, and while putting a smile on their own loved ones’ faces.

That’s why we teamed up with Lothian Buses to help Santa Claus take his grotto around the city. Jenners, Tesco, Dobbies and Decathlon all joined the effort and this week the first kids were sitting on Santa’s knee and telling him what they want on the 25th.

In the spirit of the times, rather than charge a set fee we asked adults to make whatever donation they could or to hand in extra gifts for Santa to give out.

All the proceeds will go to a cause that’s dear to so many people’s hearts here in the Lothians and further afield – the Sick Kids Friends Foundation.

The grotto will be in Princes Street, between Frederick Street and The Mound, tomorrow from noon. Watch this space for further appearances.

Looking for highlights of the past week, it is hard to avoid the arrival of the giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo.

It felt like the world and his dog had descended on the city for the long-awaited appearance of Tian Tian and Yang Guang.

Unfortunately they had to be kept largely out of public sight but 50 News families were there as special guests after taking part in our competition, and pride of place at the airport went to winner Maisie Dalton, 6, who got so close she said she could “see Tian Tian’s teeth”.

(Well done to the zoo, too, for making sure that one runner-up who couldn’t make it will get a chance to see the bears at a later date.)

Finally, I wrote last week of how the News deals with complaints – and I’ve said before that I welcome readers’ views – good and bad – as I look to keep improving the News.

This week I received a letter from a 74-year-old who thinks we need to sharpen up our act, saying we had ignored a recent concert by Glen Campbell (we didn’t; he featured on page 3) and that we should cover their grandson’s school football team.

I’m glad that reader wrote to me and I’d have been delighted to write back, but unfortunately the letter was anonymous. If you want a reply please let me know who you are and how to contact you.

Oh, by the way – we now carry more school sports on the It’s Your News page every Tuesday.