Sarah remembers tragic afternoon at the Glen Cinema
PAISLEY Theatre was the usual haunt of nine-year-old Jackie Bowes – but not on Hogmanay 1929.
Along with a group of friends, the young Buddie went to the Glen Cinema to see the midweek matinee...and he never returned home.
He was at the movies with six-year-old Sarah Adam – the young sister of his pal Robert – who couldn’t make it on the day.
Robert had decided to go to a sale – and that probably saved his life.
At the launch of the new DVD, The Legacy of the Glen Cinema, at Paisley Abbey, Sarah, now 86, and married to Peter Elias, relived her memories of that fateful afternoon where Jackie lost his life.
She said: “Jackie didn’t usually get to the cinema. His parents took him to the theatre every week but he was desperate to come with us to see what all the fuss was about.
“He didn’t have any money so he ran an errand for a neighbour and was rewarded with tuppence.
“I remember we were all sitting there, boo-ing the bad guys and cheering the goodies.
“All of a sudden there was a wee bit of smoke in the air, although nothing too terrible.
“But someone shouted ‘Fire!’ and everyone was soon screaming and running for the exits.
“But they were locked and that’s when the problems started.
“I lost my new beret in the panic and I was scrambling around on the floor looking for it. I couldn’t go home without it.”
Sarah found her beret and next thing she knew, a fireman had scooped her up and carried her to safety.
When she got out though, she discovered that Jackie wasn’t there. He hadn’t made it.
Sarah, who later worked in Anchor Mills, said: “Jackie had been trampled in the rush. It was tragic.”
Jackie’s pal Robert had been a somewhat fortuitous absentee from the Glen that day.
Sarah explained: “Robert was always at the cinema but there had been a big sale on that day in a shop called Ballantynes at the Pen Corner, at the top of New Street.
“They sold stationery and Robert had been particularly keen to get a couple of items he needed for school.
“He couldn’t be in two places at once so he opted to go to the sale and miss out on the pictures.
“After what happened to poor Jackie it was maybe a blessing in disguise that Robert didn’t go.
“I’ll never forget what happened when Jackie’s dad came down to the Glen to see if his son, an only child, was okay.
“He must have found out the bad news and was shouting at the pitch of his voice about God taking his only child.”
Sarah has a lasting memory of that day.
She said: “My grandparents are buried in Hawkhead Cemetery just yards from the Glen memorial and I regularly take up flowers.
“I think the film is a great idea. It was a huge thing for Paisley to deal with and it should never be forgotten.”