WHAT was supposed to be a nice day out for three sisters turned into one they will never forget.
Emily Brown was just five-years-old when she, 10-year-old Jean, and May, who was just three, went to the Glen Cinema on Hogmanay of 1929.
It was a treat for the trio, who lived in Paisley’s Hunter Street, just a couple of hundred yards away from the popular cinema.
That afternoon, they merrily made their way up Moss Street to watch the cowboys take on the indians.
Once inside the cinema, they settled down to watch the action – blissfully unaware of the tragedy which was about to unfold.
Emily, now 85, said: “I was a regular at the Glen. It was a fantastic day out and something you looked forward to.
“It was packed that day but not long after the main film started, someone must have thought a fire had started and began shouting.
“Before long, people were screaming and running for the exit doors.
“We joined them but when we got there the doors were locked and we couldn’t get out.
“That’s when the real panic set in.
“We tried to double back but there were people everywhere and I became separated from my sisters. I was terrified.
“Thankfully the three of us got out okay but there were some terrifying sights all around us.”
Emily’s Aunt Chrissie had heard about the tragedy and raced to the Glen.
Despite the huge crowds gathering at Paisley Cross, she spotted her nieces and they beat a hasty retreat to Hunter Street.
“It wasn’t long before the press came up to the house, and we were photographed together,” said Emily.
“My aunt stayed with us because my mum, Sarah, offered to help care for the injured. She worked round the clock in a bid to relieve the pressure on the overworked doctors.”
Emily added: “After the tragedy we were taken to Dunoon Convalescent Home where we spent an enjoyable two weeks. It was magical.”
Emily, who now lives in Shortroods, was employed at both Ferguslie and Anchor Mills.
She told of her friendship with Betty Waples, and of how neither had known the other was a survivor until they met five years ago at an exhibition.
Emily said: “Betty walked in and I was stunned, because I hadn’t seen her for ages.
“I asked if she was there with a friend and she said ‘no’, that she had been in the Glen Cinema that dreadful afternoon.
“It was incredible. We had known each other virtually all of our lives but neither had ever spoken of being in the pictures that day.
“We now meet up every fortnight for coffee.
“We’d been through a lot together but if it hadn’t have been for the exhibition in the Paisley library in 2004, we would never have known each other’s secret.
“It’s amazing how things pan out.”