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					20       THE SENTINEL Friday December 29, 2006                                          [SP]                                                              NEWS                                                                                     www.thisisthesentinel.co.uk



 WORD FROM
 THE WEB                                               When                                                                                                                                                                                   FEELING DEPRESSED:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sue Johnson, from Chell.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Picture: Clare Lewis
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (Ref: CL141206F-111)




                                                       reality
Have your say on any Sentinel story at
www.thisisthesentinel.co.uk
BARGAIN-HUNTERS hit the
Boxing Day sales yesterday,
scouring the shops for
discounts (December 27).




                                                       kicks in
IT WAS so kind of The Sentinel to
report that hundreds of people
were able to pick up a bargain in
the Boxing Day Sales, while
many of us who don’t have cars
were left stranded as no buses
operated in this city. Even on




                                                       again...
Christmas Day no-one put on a
hospital bus service so that
people could visit loved ones. We
are left on Christmas, Boxing and
New Year’s days at the mercy of
over-inflated taxi fares which
most people can’t afford in the
first place.
              Roy Naylor, Blurton

            Thomson is the only holiday company not to charge a fuel supplement on any of its holidays booked from 21.12.06. Prices below are based on
            Summer 07 holidays. Web prices, on the high street means that we guarantee to offer the same discount in store that is available at www.thomson.
            co.uk. Offer applies to new adult bookings for Thomson holidays only. If for any reason our discount differs from the Thomson website, we will match
 the discount given subject to provision, within 24 hours of booking, of a printed quote from the final costing screen for the exact same holiday. The printed
 quote must be clearly dated. Nectar points not available at Thomson.co.uk. Calls charged at 8 pence per minute on the BT network. Mobile & other network
 costs may vary. Credit card handling fee of up to 2.5% applies. Thomson reserves the right to withdraw these offers without notice. Thomson acts as an agent
 for ATOL holders, ABTA 18057. Details are correct at time of going to print 20.12.06.




                                                                                                                                                                   The festive period
                                                                                                                                                                   signals the busiest                  ‘I’ve no get up and go when it’s dreary’
                                                                                                                                                                   time for some North                  SUSAN Johnson, pictured,           who have got their family
                                                                                                                                                                                                        dreads Christmas rolling round     around them. I really miss
                                                                                                                                                                   Staffordshire                        each year.                         having people around me.”
                                                                                                                                                                   charities, as                        The 37-year-old, from Mill Hill    She added: “I wonder if I have
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Crescent, Mill Hill, who suffers   Seasonal Affective Disorder
                                                                                                                                                                   emotional problems                   from anxiety and depression, is    because if it is sunny outside I
                                                                                                                                                                   reach their annual                   one of thousands of people         feel brighter and I like to go out
                                                                                                                                                                                                        who dread the pressure the         but if it’s dreary I haven’t got
                                                                                                                                                                   peak. Reporter                       festive season brings.             any get up and go.”
                                                                                                                                                                   Graeme Brown                         Because of her condition, none     Susan, who is currently
                                                                                                                                                                                                        of her three children lives with   unemployed, said she is no
                                                                                                                                                                   spoke to volunteers                  her and she says the loneliness    longer in contact with her
                                                                                                                                                                   who are coping with                  she feels every day is             parents and usually meets up
                                                                                                                                                                                                        heightened at Christmas and        with her brother or
                                                                                                                                                                   the demand.                          the New Year.                      grandmother on December 25.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        She said: “I find Christmas        Susan admits she has felt
                                                                                                                                                                   SPIRALLING debt, excessive           particularly difficult because I   suicidal over the Christmas
                                                                     Short haul Long haul                                                                          drinking, loneliness and fam-
                                                                                                                                                                   ily arguments are just some of
                                                                                                                                                                                                        have got three children and
                                                                                                                                                                                                        none of them is actually living
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           period before, but is now
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           working hard to beat her
                                                                                                                                                                   the problems that can trigger        with me. It’s difficult all year   problems, which involves
                            Thomson
                            Thomson                                          £0
                                                                             £0                              £0
                                                                                                             £0                                                    an emotional crisis over
                                                                                                                                                                   Christmas and New Year.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        round but it all just comes
                                                                                                                                                                                                        home at Christmas.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           receiving help from the Media
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Action Group for Mental
                                                                                                                                                                      Christmas Day is the              “I feel envious of some people     Health, in Hanley.
                                                                                                                                                                   busiest day of the year for The
                            First Choice                                     £30                            £65                                                    Samaritans, while the Cit-
                                                                                                                                                                   izens’ Advice Bureau (CAB)          that often results in arguing       already have can be aggrav-
                                                                                                                                                                   and marriage counsellors            and falling out.                    ated over Christmas.”
                                                                                                                                                                   Relate see a rise of calls at the     “Or you could be watching            Marriage guidance service
                            MyTravel                                         £30                            £65                                                    beginning of a new year.
                                                                                                                                                                      Volunteers say tensions
                                                                                                                                                                                                       TV and seeing everyone hav-
                                                                                                                                                                                                       ing a good time while you are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Relate North Staffordshire
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           saw the number of people ask-
                                                                                                                                                                   which may have been sim-            sitting on your own drinking        ing for help to deal with bank-
                                                                                                                                                                   mering for months erupt,            a bottle of cider.”                 ruptcy and divorce problems
                            Thomas Cook                                      £30                            £65                                                    credit card bills pile on the
                                                                                                                                                                   pressure and family argu-
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Meanwhile, Simon Harris,
                                                                                                                                                                                                       chief executive of Stoke-on-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           jump from 18 to 35 in the first
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           four weeks of 2006.
                                                                                                                                                                   ments reach boiling point.          Trent CAB, said the number             Alison Cooper, family and
                                                                                                                                                                      Stoke-on-Trent and New-          of calls they receive about         couple counsellor for Relate,
                                                                                                                                                                   castle Samaritans gets up to        debts soar in the first three       said: “Counsellors are a lot
                                                                                                                                                                   50 calls on an average day   .      months of the year as the real-     more in demand because it is
                                                                                                                                                                      Exact figures on the num-        ity of Christmas over-spend-        a stressful time at Christmas.
                                                                                                                                                                   ber of calls taken on Decem-        ing sets in.                        Then the New Year is a time of
                                                                                                                                                                   ber 25 are not known, but four        They took 2,178 calls last        reflection.    People     think
                                                                                                                                                                   volunteers who manned the           January, rising to 2,898 in         ‘Christmas is behind us, have
                                                                                                                                                                   Stoke-on-Trent base that            April — 72 per cent more than       I really enjoyed it? Do I want
                                                                                                                                                                   evening did not have a break        the 1,676 in November.              another year in this relation-
                                                                                                                                                                   between 6pm and 10pm.                 Mr Harris said: “We always        ship?’ Before Christmas we
                                                                                                                                                                      A spokesman for the volun-       see a rise in January               have people calling in and say-
                                                                                                                                                                   teers, who are based at             and through the spring              ing ‘I am not getting any help
                                                                                                                                                                   Shelton New Road, said:             period.                             and there are family coming

              Web prices, on the high street                                                                                                                       “Debt is a big problem in the
                                                                                                                                                                   New Year because people are
                                                                                                                                                                   spending far too much on
                                                                                                                                                                                                         “Some of that is a direct
                                                                                                                                                                                                       result of over-spending at
                                                                                                                                                                                                       Christmas and sometimes it
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           over’.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Have any of these
              You’ll now find the same low holiday prices in our shops as at www.thomson.co.uk                                                                      things and when the Visa bill       is because people just take         charities helped to turn
                                                                                                                                                                   comes, they are left in des-        time off from their debts and       your life around? Write to The
                                                                                                                                                                   pair.                               enjoy themselves over Christ-       Editor, The Sentinel, Forge Lane,
                                                                                                                                                                      “Drink is also a problem         mas and then the reality kicks      Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 5SS,
                     Over 700 shops nationwide                                                              thomson.co.uk                                          because alcohol plays a prom-       in again.                           or email us at letters@
                                                                                                                                                                   inent part in festivities and         “Debt problems that people        thesentinel.co.uk


                                    0870 167 6550                                           Sky Digital 637                                                         Help for all problems is only a telephone call away
                                                                                                                                                                    THE Samaritans is open             Relationship counsellors            Stoke-on-Trent Citizens’
                                                                                                                                                                    throughout the holiday             Relate North Staffordshire          Advice Bureau offers
                                                                                                                                                                    period. Stoke-on-Trent —           can be contacted on 01782           telephone advice on 01782
                                                                                                                                                                    01782 213555, Crewe —              683050, but the offices             408600. However, the offices
   Earn                       points with Thomson                                                                                                                   01270 216666, Leek —               close for the Christmas             are currently closed for
                                                                                                                                                                    01538 384100. The national         period and re-open at 10am          Christmas and re-open at
                                                                                                                                                                    number is 08457 90 90 90.          on January 3.                       10am on January 2.
  ....

				
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