THE heavily pregnant Chirnside woman who held up the Jim Clark Rally when she thought she had gone into labour has apologised to the drivers for the hold up.
It was one of several incidents which caused a delay during the event. One stage had to be cancelled and homes evacuated after a car crashed into a gas structure. Another stage had to be stopped when police had to attend and incident involving a group of 14-17 year olds, who were caught with a large quantity of alcohol.
The rally began on Friday night but the Duns stage had to be halted after Gwen Richardson from Chirnside went into false premature labour seven weeks early and had to be whisked away to hospital.
Back home resting up, Gwen told ‘The Berwickshire News’ she was “really sorry” for holding the rally up but was grateful for the assistance she received.
“I was walking back getting ready to take my son Liam home when I got a really stabbing pain,” she explained.
“I phoned my husband Kevin but he didn’t pick up. I phoned my best friend Lauren but she didn’t answer either. I finally got through to Kevin – he was running around, trying to get Liam to my mother’s and then get back to me.
“I don’t think the ambulances there were expecting it at all! There was one guy, Alan, he was really helpful.
“He was knocking on folks’ doors, trying to see if I could go in and sit down for bit of quiet. Eventually he sat in the back of the ambulance with me, rubbing my back and everything, calming me down. I’d like to thank everyone for their concern and support and sorry to the rally drivers for the delay!”
There was concern of a different kind elsewhere in Duns on Friday night, as well as reports of a group of drunk people making a nuisance of themselves in the Southfield area, police officers seized what they described as “a large quantity” of drink from a group of 14-17 year olds.
Police had to intervene during the Duns stage on Friday night. The stage was stopped while police attended an incident involving teenagers on the stage near the industrial estate.
As a result of the hold-ups competitors in the Historic Rally were unable to complete the two stages around Duns as time had run out for the road closure order.
Inspector Brian Macfarlane of Lothian and Borders Police commented: “It is disappointing that some of our young people are not heeding the warnings and continue to put themselves at risk by drinking alcohol.
“We will continue to be proactive in and around the summer Borders events as well as during normal patrols to reduce the harm caused to young people by alcohol.
“We would appeal to parents to take an interest in what their teenage children are doing when at these events and to speak to their children about alcohol.”
The rally made the news again on Sunday after a competitor collided with a gas main regulator in Eccles, forcing a cordon to be put in place and 14 people evacuated from their homes.
Police praised race marshals’ prompt action is dealing with the incident and rally manager Colin Pagan said by all accounts it was another pleasing weekend for all involved.
“In general I’d say it all went very well,” he commented.
“The woman going into labour on Friday took us all by surprise but thankfully we have medical cover at the event anyway so she was dealt with quickly.
“Until the incident at Eccles on Sunday we were heading for an extremely successful event and even though it caused some disruption I can’t thank our marshals enough for bringing the situation under control the way they did.
“With regard to the excessive drinking it was brought to my attention that some of the marshals had come face to face with some drunk people which obviously isn’t a plesant experience for them.
“We create the event for people to enjoy and it’s sorry to see some people spoiling it for the majority. We all like a little tipple now and again but it’d disappointing that some people feel the need to drink to the excess.”