Column Eight: From the pits to the skies

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Michael Heseltine's week has been chequered so far. On Tuesday, of course, he faced the unenviable task of announcing the coal cuts - which he described as the toughest decision of his life. Tougher, that must mean, than his decision to resign as Secretary of State for Defence after going to the wire over Westland Helicopters in 1985.

Coincidentally, it was to Westland that he went yesterday morning, to meet staff, take a helicopter flight and tour the factory. Not surprisingly, Westland workers were said to be more receptive to the President than the miners were.

A little joke, which winged its way around Price Waterhouse yesterday.

Q: What's the difference between BCCI and the UK economy?

A: At least with BCCI, Price Waterhouse has some idea where the money went.

City types are renowned for the gung-honess with which they go in for charitable events - dragon boat racing, marathon running, parachute jumping, you name it.

So they're bound to be particularly receptive to a new pounds 20,000 appeal involving skiing, since 90 per cent of the City migrates to Meribel for winter weekends anyway. Teams from institutions involved in wholesale banking, securities and broking are being invited to the Alps for a long weekend in December for an inter-firm competition.

The entry fee is a donation to the British Ski Club for the Disabled. Contact Kevin Stoker on 071-628 0997.

One Adrian Mole, aged 22 and three quarters, has been announced as the pounds 1,000 winner of a Trainee Accountant of the Year essay prize.

He must have had a grim life ever since the publication of Sue Townsend's book about the spotty adolescent with a girlfriend called Pandora. Still, he has doubtless developed a robust sense of humour. Developing his social life as a chartered accountant, he'll need it.

Look out for Thorntons' Christmas television advertising campaign starring a chocolate racing horse and the voice of Peter O'Sullivan.

The commentary, according to a remarkable impression by chairman John Thornton, runs roughly: 'And he's round the final bend, coming up the finishing straight, coming in to win by a nose - but OH] Catastrophe . . . he's been eaten.'

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