JAMES Dyson has been under fire for planning to move the headquarters of his domestic appliance company from Malmesbury to Singapore.

It isn’t the first time he has been criticised for shedding British jobs and heading overseas, however.

This week 17 years ago we wrote: “Workers at the Dyson headquarters have expressed shock at the proposed 800 job losses at its factory in Malmesbury.

“The jobs will go because production is being shifted to the Far East.”

The precise location had yet to be settled upon, but the firm eventually established a new manufacturing base in Malaysia.

Some workers we spoke to were angry that their boss had spoken to the media about the move before consulting those directly affected.

One told us: “People have this hanging over them. They’ve booked holidays and made plans - what will they do now?

“Dyson said it was a sad day - but it’s not a sad day for him.”

Amicus union boss Roger Lyons, said: “Dyson has betrayed the 800 people whose jobs are being shipped out, and hundreds more jobs from supply chain companies.

“He has betrayed British manufacturing and British customers who have put him and his product where it is today.”

The tycoon, writing in the Adver, insisted he had no choice but to relocate to a place where manufacturing costs were lower.

“It may seem odd,” he said, “that over the last two years we have continued to invest so much money here in Malmesbury. But I was determined to try and make it work.

“In the New Year we looked again at the figures and realised we had no choice but to put forward proposals to switch production to the Far East.”

In Swindon, a group of primary school pupils had a visit from an American celebrity with an important message.

Star wrestler Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts called in during a sold-out British theatre tour whose stops included the Wyvern. He didn’t bring Damien, the python with whom he frequently made public appearances.

We said: “Children from Sevenfields Primary School in Penhill were enthralled as the towering wrestler told them his life story, including how he fought his addiction to alcohol and drugs.”

“Stephanie Wilkinson, 11, said: ‘He was a really nice man - he told us to follow our dreams.’

“He told the children how he had originally wanted to be an architect, but was now proud to be a wrestler.

“Levi Harfield, also 11, said: ‘I can’t believe how tall he was. He had a really husky voice - he must shout a lot. You would expect him to be angry but he was really friendly.”

Wrestling, and especially American-style wrestling, was very popular at the time. Jake, who had a reputation for being as thoughtful outside the ring as he was brutal inside it, believed this was partly to do with the sheer spectacle and partly because it allowed people a vicarious outlet for their aggression.

He told an Adver reporter: “They are able to put themselves in our shoes and become us for a moment.”

Jake Roberts, now 63, went on to have further stints in various American wrestling stables as well as appearing in documentaries, television programmes and a feature film.

The Queen celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 2002, and commemorative events included the Queen’s Jubilee Baton Relay, set to begin at Buckingham Palace on Commonwealth Day, March 11, and pass through 20 Commonwealth Countries.

St Joseph’s School pupil Peter Sharp was among a handful of Swindon people chosen to carry the baton through the town on June 17.

Peter, a big Swindon Town fan who played for Swindon Cricket Club, said: “I feel really proud to have been chosen, and quite excited. I have a feeling I may have been nominated by my cricket coach, Kevin Thompson.”

Peter’s father, Nigel, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to bits. When the letter came through I shed a tear.

“The letter said that Peter embodied all that is community, with a national heart.

“He paints his face when England plays, gets involved with the Boys’ Brigade and plays cricket and football.”

The week saw Wiltshire Probation Service criticised for a proposal to buy the empty former White House Hotel on Corporation Street, level the site and build a 24-resident bail hostel.

When the service offered no guarantee that sex offenders would not be housed there, many local people, especially those with children, were frightened and outraged.

One summed up the mood: “It might not be a problem if the people living there were supervised, and depending upon their offence, but paedophiles are beyond the pale.”

Another said she and her husband planned to move away from the area if necessary.

So vocal and widespread was the opposition that the owners of the building vetoed the sale, and the probation service looked elsewhere.

The site was duly cleared and flats built.