THIS week’s look into the Telegraph archives take us back 16 years, when winds of up to 100mph battered Inverclyde.

A major clean-up operation was launched as the storm subsided, with emergency services and council workers clearing up much of the damage.

Billy Keogh was one of many left counting the cost of the storm after a gust sent a pile of bricks tumbling on top of his car.

Greenock Telegraph:

The Harwood Court resident said he was lucky not to be inside the vehicle at the time.

He added: “I got up at 5.20am and it looked as if pizza boxes were lying all over the road. Then I realised it was rubble.

Greenock Telegraph: Greenock Telegraph: Damage to the gable end at Harwood CourtDamage to the gable end at Harwood Court (Image: Newsquest)

“Then I looked further down the road and the jeep was done in — it’s a write-off.

“I could have been killed. Houses and cars can be replaced, but you can’t replace a life.”

Meanwhile, five pals from Port Glasgow were selected to take part in a popular CBBC show.

Lucy Ballinghall, Ami Boyland, Chloe Lowry, Toni McCluskey and Rebecca McDiarmid of Slaemuir Primary tested out their friendship by completing a range of tasks for an episode of Best of Friends.

The 10-year-old girls spent a day filming at Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow.

Greenock Telegraph:

Lucy said: “We had to put our feet in a bucket of porridge and baked beans and pull five stars out of them with our feet.

“We also had to wash and groom a dog who kept shaking the water on to us.”

In other news, the newly-appointed principal of James Watt College clinched an honour from the Queen for her services to education.

Sue Pinder was awarded an OBE days before taking up her new role in Greenock, after seven years as principal of West Lothian College.

She had been credited with bringing in some of Scotland’s best inspection reports during her time there.

Greenock Telegraph:

Sue told the Tele: “This is a great start to the New Year, not just for me personally but, more importantly, for James Watt College.

“I am looking forward to getting stuck into my new role here and turning what have been hard times for a good college into the best of times for a great college.”

Elsewhere, ambitious plans were lodged for 192 new homes at the old Kingston Yard.

Kenmore Homes’ proposals involved Clydeport draining and filling in the dock basin to allow houses to be built on top of it.

Greenock Telegraph:

Councillor Robert Moran warmly welcomed the plans, saying: “This shows the confidence there is in the area.

“We are attracting people to live in Inverclyde, and that can only be a good thing.

“Many people are realising this is an attractive place to live because of the views, the area’s amenities and the big regeneration plans for the waterfront.”

In sport, Morton’s Ryan McGuffie was preparing to face his former club – just two weeks after leaving the side.

The midfielder had joined from Gretna on a free transfer at New Year, ahead of a fourth round Scottish Cup clash at Cappielow on January 12.

Greenock Telegraph:

He said: “I was at Gretna for more than six years and achieved a lot, but there will be no room for sentiment on Saturday.

“You can’t afford to be sentimental in football — it’s too short a career.”