April fool: scandal in Howick

2009-04-02 00:00

A group of mischievous shop owners at a Howick shopping centre put up a "brothel opening soon" sign in the window of a vacant shop yesterday in the spirit of April Fool's Day.

The main culprit seemed to be Jessica Cannan, who owns Health to You at the Green Acres Shopping Centre - however, she is adamant that she had help.

"A few of the guys were talking about it, and so we just decided to have a laugh," she said.

"I am not at all implicated in any of this," said Clide Cannan, her husband and owner of the Old Church Auction Gallery.

"Because Howick is so conservative, a lot of people were shocked," he laughed.

The owner of the Crusty Corner Coffee Shop, Simon Spencer, said an older couple were having a laugh about it over a cup of tea. "The lady even asked if she could be 'the madam' if it did open."

The owner of the complex, Steve Mingay, said the tenants approached him with the idea "so [he] said 'why not'".

"We really wanted to get people going, you know, to jump up and down. People are too serious in this day and age," Mingay added.

Meanwhile, Witness readers were not sure whether the 22% increase on residential electricity tariffs was this year's April Fool's Day article or not.

One reader was angered to find out that the article was, in fact, not a hoax after she had called in to confirm the facts with the news editor.

The Witness, which traditionally publishes a hoax article on April 1, got great feedback on the paper's website from those who were able to decipher that Loof Lirpa (the 'writer' of this year's actual hoax article titled Green: Airline to take dump over country) is actually "April Fool" spelt backwards.

In the past The Witness has even put out entire supplements as part of the April Fool's tradition.

In 1980, the paper put out a supplement celebrating Chelmsford College's centenary, a made up school that had not only the person on the street fooled, but most of the Witness staff too.

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