DIANA Dors’ love-hate relationship with her home town was prominent in the Adver this week 31 years ago.

The actress was promoting her latest book, For Adults only, which was a compilation of occasionally racy - for the time - anecdotes about showbusiness personalities.

Her round of interviews included one with Radio 4, during which she suggested that certain Swindon people she knew in her younger days resented her success.

Describing them as hometown hypocrites was enough to ruffle a few Swindon feathers, especially when her words appeared in the Adver.

We duly sent a reporter to gather local opinion, which seemed to be split, with younger people having a more sympathetic view.

“I think she’s great,” said Sheila Little, of Blunsdon. “People were jealous when she started to get famous and made up nasty stories about her.

“I admire her for her determination and talent.”

In contrast, Joyce May of Courtney Road, said: “She’s really got a cheek. Who does she think she is?”

We added: “Mrs May went to school with Swindon’s best-known blonde - and reckons there are a few choice tales to be told about Miss Dors.”

We ran an interview with the actress herself, although it seems to have come from a news agency or a PR company. She revealed a desire to concentrate on writing from now on.

“The idea has been with me for a long time. You see, I have always been a frustrated writer.

“For Adults Only is a sort of A-Z of life - not a straightforward autobiography but my memories, anecdotes, opinions and profiles of people I’ve met.”

Later that month, Diana signed copies of the book at Brunel News in The Parade, and was rapturously received.

One of the major trends of the era this week in 1978 was newspaper bingo. It attracted the public because they could win large sums of money with no outlay beyond buying a newspaper - and it attracted newspapers because readers had to buy copies each day or risk missing out on those vital numbers.

There was plenty of room aboard the bandwagon, and the Adver was no slouch.

“Eyes down, look in - we’re off on the Adver’s great new bingo bonanza,” began a front page picture story.

“First numbers in our super £1,200 prize series have been called - and you’ll find them right now, on the back page.

“Evening Advertiser Editor Jim Worsdale joined Tony Reeves, manager of the Locarno Bingo Social Club in Old Town, Swindon, to use the club’s automatic equipment for calling our first numbers.

“Just keep an eye on the Adver, the paper with winning ways, if you want to be on a real winner.”

In something of a change of pace, we sent a reporter and photographer to Terry Warner Sports in Commercial Road. Their mission was to record for posterity the running of a metal detector over some oranges by assistant manager Lloyd Comer.

When five Dutch children with stomach upsets were found to have ingested toxic metal Mercury, a terrorist organisation claimed the substance had been injected into oranges by oppressed Palestinians working in Israel’s fruit industry.

This was enough to spark a minor panic - and to inspire the spirit of traditional Swindonian innovation in sports shop manager Clive Hiett, who offered fruit-lovers free use of what we termed the “...deadly orange poison picker-upper.”

The machine was otherwise known a C-scope 700 metal detector, although we didn’t say whether the shop sold them or happened to have one lying around.

There was a moment of excitement when the machine gave an ominous bleep as we ran it over some Jaffas, but the cause was soon determined to be a nail beneath the carpet rather than a lacing of deadly poison.

Another of our stories that week was headed: “The Coronation of King Leo.”

It announced a ceremony planned for a week hence, during which Swindon civic dignitaries would unveil the new Golden Lion.

The sculpture, created to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, was a replacement for the old one, which had long since crumbled.

“At eight o’clock next Friday,” we said, “the lion, preceded by a jazz band, will be pulled on a trolley from the Town Hall to Canal Walk.”

Renowned Swindon sculptor Harry Carlton Attwood had modelled the animal. Our unnamed reporter said the new lion had a cheerier facial, expression than its predecessor.

“In the lion’s stomach,” we said, “goes a memories box, holding among other things, a copy of the Evening Advertiser, coins, photographs of the town’s murals, a shopping list with current prices (that will be an eye-opener in another century or two!) and various messages.”

The lion, of course, is still one of Swindon’s most recognisable landmarks.”