THIS week’s delve into the Tele archive takes us back more than two decades, when hospital staff were looking forward to a prosperous new year thanks to a pay rise which followed lengthy strike.

On this day in 2002, many Inverclyde residents were among the 500 ancillary workers who were in line for the increase.

The move came after a 10-day unofficial stoppage at Inverclyde Royal and Paisley’s Royal Alexandra over a long-standing claim for parity with staff at other NHS Argyll & Clyde sites.

Greenock Telegraph:

Hundreds of porters, domestic, transport, laundry, clinical waste and catering workers took action which caused the cancellation of non-urgent operations.

It led to a proposal being put to the staff which would see their hourly pay rise from £5 to £5.18.

Elsewhere, the Tele reported that the first baby born on Christmas day was a visitor from across the water.

Little Lara Federspiel arrived at IRH at 1.46am – the perfect present for parents Annette and Mark.

The Dunoon couple’s boy weighed in at a healthy 8lbs 5oz.

Annette and Mark said they were ‘over the moon’ and praised the staff at the IRH’s Rankin unit.

Meanwhile, a group of Inverclyde Scouts were preparing to head to the Far East in the trip of a lifetime.

Leaders David Storey and Mark Gallacher travelled to the World Scout Jamboree in Thailand with youngsters Mark Sinnamon, Calum Rennie, Christ McDermott, Chris Aitken and Mark Duffy.

Greenock Telegraph:

A total of 34,000 Scouts from 156 countries took part in conservation, cultural, educational and adventurous activities during the event.

In Greenock, 30 Scouts put themselves forward for the trip.

David told the Tele: “The Greenock lads were chosen after a series of interviews and selection weekends.

“Over the past 18 months, the boys and their families have been busy fundraising and have raised £17,500 with the help of the Inverclyde public.”

In other news, a Gourock teenager was left overwhelmed after meeting one of her musical idols.

Julie Hutchison jetted off to London to meet American popstar Anastacia after winning a radio competition.

Greenock Telegraph:

She impressed the competition judges with her question for the singer, which asked why her DVD was not released in November despite her website claiming it would be.

Julie said: “When we walked in she looked round and said: ‘Oh Glasgow, you’ve arrived. Come over and get a hug.’

“It was a surreal experience. I was speechless.

“She’s exactly how I imagined her to be. She was very down-to-earth and friendly. She really puts you at ease.”

In sport, Morton were preparing to host Third Division league leaders Peterhead at Cappielow at a time when just two points separated the top four teams.

Morton sat in fourth place on 32 points, behind East Fife and Albion Rovers on 33 and Peterhead on 34.

Greenock Telegraph:

Tele reporter Roger Graham said: “The famous old stadium has been the scene of many a drama down the years, most, if not all, in more exalted divisions, but this is a meeting which should draw a decent crowd.

“The importance of the game and its festive backdrop take care of that.”

In the end, a 1-0 win sent Morton up the table to second - one point behind Albion Rovers who put six goals past East Stirling.