Hillside hampers on their way

Assembling Christmas hampers for redundant Hillside workers are (from left) Simone Hourigan,...
Assembling Christmas hampers for redundant Hillside workers are (from left) Simone Hourigan, Labour Party Dunedin South MP Clare Curran and Rail and Maritime Transport Union Hillside branch chairman Stuart Johnstone, at the Bill Fraser Lounge in South Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
About $3000 worth of Christmas cheer is being delivered to redundant Hillside Engineering Workshops staff today and tomorrow in the form of 111 hampers.

More than 35 Dunedin businesses and individuals supplied food, toys, books, clothing and other items for the hampers, which were assembled at the Bill Fraser Lounge on Macandrew Rd, just a block from Hillside, yesterday.

Labour Party Dunedin South MP Clare Curran organised the Hillside hamper appeal to spread cheer among the almost 90 workers made redundant by KiwiRail.

She said community support had been ''overwhelming''.

Major donations were made by several businesses and organisations, and other

business operators supplied vouchers for the hampers. Hamper recipients will enjoy a range of chocolate products, jelly, instant pudding, tinned and packaged food, Christmas pudding, fruit mince pies, tomato sauce, instant coffee, beer and wine, T-shirts, pavlova, truffles, candy canes, cereal and toiletries.

Some hampers also contained woollen hats, while others included books and Christmas crackers.

Wrapped children's toys for boys and girls were also incorporated, having been donated in a Santa sack-sized lucky dip.

Tomorrow is the last day for 35 Hillside staff. Thirty finished on December 7 and another 20 will leave the facility once they have closed all but its foundry and heavy lift operations.

KiwiRail leased the foundry to Bradken, which employed about 20 former Hillside workers, and seven staff will continue to work for KiwiRail on the heavy lift.

A ceremony to mark the end of 130 years of full operation at Hillside will be held at the facility's main gates on Hillside Rd from 11am tomorrow.

Members of the public were welcome to attend and encouraged to lay cut flowers on the Hillside war memorials, where wreaths will be placed.



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