GRETA Begg was playing marbles in the back court with one of her friends on the morning of Paisley’s Black Hogmanay.
Leah Dixon suggested they go to see the latest film at the Glen Cinema.
Only problem was, Leah didn’t have any money, but hit on a good idea.
Greta explained: “We enjoyed playing ‘bools’ but the cinema sounded like a far better proposition.
“Leah said she had a 2lb glass jar at home that she could exchange for a penny at Galbraith’s in Causeyside Street.
“So that’s exactly what we did and once she had the money, we ran all the way up St Mirren Brae to the Glen Cinema so we wouldn’t miss the start of the film.”
Safely inside, the girls took their seats, alongside almost 1,000 others, and settled down to watch the film.
“There wasn’t anything unusual about that day,” said Greta, now 90. “Not until the cry of ‘Fire’ went up.
“That was it, pandemonium, as everyone made for the exits.
“I ran like the wind but one of my new shoes came off in the panic. I loved those shoes, they had a Prince of Wales feather on them, but my priority was to get out of that place.
“Both Leah and I made it out safely, but then she panicked.
“She said she had to go back in to see if she could find her cousin, Alex.
“I told her that Alex would be okay but she didn’t listen. She insisted on going back in – what could I do?”
Tragically, Leah perished inside. And the terrible irony was that Alex was safe and sound and standing outside all the while.
Greta, who was born at 34 New Street, recalled: “I ran all the way back down St Mirren Brae with just one shoe on and bumped into my sister, who had looked after us since my mother died.
“Dad worked in Babcock’s and all the workers downed tools when the news filtered through.
“I was worried about my shoes although Dad promised to buy me a new pair.”
Greta, who would go on to work in Coats Mills, added: “It was an awful tragedy.”