Scotland is in lockdown. Shops are closing and newspaper sales are falling fast. We're not exaggerating when we say the future of local newspapers and the vital service we have provided for many years is under threat.

Please consider supporting The Gazette in whatever way you can - by paying just 90p for a copy of the newspaper when you're shopping for essential supplies for yourself and others or by subscribing to our e-edition here.


AN ERSKINE woman has told how a dream trip to celebrate a milestone birthday turned into a nightmare as the coronavirus crisis left her stranded in Australia.

Carol Mcgee had flown Down Under on February 24 for a month-long holiday which was a 50th birthday gift from family and friends.

Staying with friends in Rockingham, near Perth, in Western Australia, she visited a number of top tourist sites before the Covid-19 outbreak led to travel restrictions.

And the trip of a lifetime turned sour on her last day when airline Emirates cancelled her flight back to Glasgow.

Stranded for almost two weeks, along with thousands of others Brits trying to get home, Carol said she felt abandoned by the UK Government and the British Consulate in Perth.

The Gazette:

She eventually managed to get a flight back to the UK last week but is unhappy about the way she was treated.

"The day before I was due to come home, I learned via social media that the flight had been cancelled," said Carol.

She has criticised Emirates for a lack of communication and failing to do enough for those who were stranded.

Carol, who is a professional psychic medium, also slammed the British Consulate, adding: "The day I went to their office, 50 other people were there seeking help but they shut the doors on us."

The problems mounted for Carol as she managed to book tickets for four other flights out of Australia – bought through the generosity of a friend – but each of these was cancelled at the last minute.

She finally returned home after securing a seat on a Qatar Airways flight.

While still in Australia, her plight was covered by the BBC in a news bulletin highlighting the dilemma facing tens of thousands of tourists trying to get home.

Carol told the channel: "I think the Foreign Office have been absolutely no use whatsoever.

"People are spending thousands of pounds on tickets – that's the ones who can afford it – and the rest are left with no food, no accommodation and shelter and no help whatsoever.

"They are in dire straits."

Read all the latest from Renfrewshire and beyond