16/05/2016
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Memories of the first Red Nose Day - Scottish nostalgia

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Linda Brown recalls how her workplace was involved in fundraising for the first ever Red Nose Day.

I remember when a Cub pack and their leaders took over a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland in Kilmarnock for the day. Well, not real Cubs, actually, but the bank staff (including me) in disguise. The date was 5 February, 1988 – the date the charity Comic Relief launched its very first Red Nose Day.

All the staff had been keen to join in the fun and dress up to raise funds for this new event. One of the tellers, a lovely lady named Isla was a Cub Scout leader in the town and came up with suggestion of kitting us out as Cubs. She borrowed jumpers, neckers, woggles and caps from the older boys in her pack and amazingly all the ladies managed to fit in to them.

The men, who could never squeeze into age ten gear, wore the Scout leaders’ uniforms and smart hats. We managed to acquire a fake campfire to gather round and treat (or should that be subject) our customers to the occasional Scouting song. A local business kindly donated a large toy rabbit for a prize – admittedly not the most attractive looking cuddly toy by today’s standards going by its appearance in the photograph – and we organised a Guess the Bunny’s Birthday competition. Plastic Red Noses were bought. And we were good to go.

When the bank doors opened that Friday morning, our bemused customers were greeted by the sight of a line of Cubs sitting at the tellers and ledgers positions ready to cash their cheques, count their savings and cancel their standing orders.

 We certainly raised a few eyebrows, received a few startled double-takes and triggered plenty of laughter. Most people joined in the spirit of Red Nose Day, enthusiastically buying dates from Bunny’s Birthday Diary and generously donating more than ‘a bob a job’. Unfortunately I have no recollection of how much money we raised but I do know we were delighted with the final sum when the bank doors were locked at close of business.

STRANGE LOOKS

My lasting memories of that day were the pain we inflicted on our poor beaks from wearing those hard plastic Red Noses (nearly scarred for life), the astonished looks from pedestrians and passing drivers as several of us trooped to the local bakers during our lunch break, and lastly the reaction of a security guard.

The tall, dour man was a regular to the bank bringing and collecting cash remittances. One of my colleagues and I, both ‘vertically challenged’ at around five foot tall, were assigned to deal with the bags of cash he was delivering. He looked down mystified at the two of us dressed in our beige shorts, badged jumpers and caps perched jauntily on our heads.

“Tell me?” he said dryly “Are you twa related tae Wee Jimmy Krankie?"

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