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number 14 . January/February 2017. the REJUVENATE issue


ayrshire magazine Quality & Style In Ayrshire

Quality & Style In Ayrshire


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ow many of you were sat five minutes before the bells tolled at midnight on December 31st thinking, have I done enough this year? Have I made any positive changes in my life? What does 2017 hold for me? What’s amazing for us is that this is our 14th issue and in every single magazine, we have strived to challenge ourselves to push our boundaries and do something different each time. We want you to grab life by the horns and take what you want. 2017 is going to be another monumental year for us here at AM and we want you with us every step of the way. This issue is themed around “rejuvenation” and sport … what better themes for January I hear you ask? Athletes are some of the most driven people we share this planet with and hearing about their achievements and insights is truly inspirational. This issue has some real insights into some inspirational stories that all relate to sport and rejuvenation. We have an exclusive interview with one of Scottish footballer’s biggest goal scorers of all time, Kris Boyd. He shares some personal stories and explains the reasoning behind the changes in his career. No one can deny this man has reinvented himself numerous times in his career, so his story is a worthy read that will inspire every single one of us. We also managed to catch up with the legendary Bobby Lennox, again his insight is inspiring and his story is one that will capture you from start to finish. Ever wonder

where these legends are created? Well you don’t want to miss the piece on the QTS Youth Athlete programme, which was founded to help emerging athletes in numerous sporting disciplines make it to the top and achieve their dreams. For the rugby fans out there, we also caught up with Team GB Silver Medallist, Mark Bennett, who rounds off our sport feature with his story about the journey to Olympic triumph and competing in the Rugby World Cup, where he won Breakthrough Player of the Year. We highlight some truly inspirational events that have taken place since our last issue that give us food for thought heading into a new year. Why wait until the 31st December to do something different? Rejuvenate your life whenever the notion takes you and never fear the unknown. It’s a common human perception to fear change and resist its inevitable force. My granny used to say “Don’t ruin a good today by thinking about a bad yesterday. Let it go” We know you’ll enjoy this issue, so kick back and embrace the theme of rejuvenation. Let’s make 2017 the year to embrace change, push our personal boundaries and rejuvenate areas of our life that we know need to change. No one is ever too old to reinvent them self and we should never allow waiting to become a habit. Live your dreams and take risks. Life is happening now. Andrew



of Kilmarnock ES T.

100 YRS

Burns Night Sat 28th January

What’s Included: Piper welcome Glass of bubbly reception Dram of Whisky to address the Haggis 3 course meal with tea/coffee & tablet Resident DJ until midnight



A TRADITIONAL FAMILY BUSINES S Over 400 Whiskies Exclusive Wines Extensive Range of Gins, Vodkas, Rums & Liqueurs Specialist Tobacconist Genuine Italian Pasta & Polpa Christmas Gift Sets Special Offers

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What’s On


Kris Boyd 15 Events


Your Community


Natasha Radmehr


Ayrshire Pets 34 Bobby Lennox


Billy Kirkwood


Mark Bennett


Abigail Smillie


Steven Brown


Talent Spotter


Music 62




Fashion 68 Beauty 80 Business 90 Ayrshire Mums



Sport 104

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Brought to you exclusively by Urquhart Opticians

Start seeing things differently Kilmarnock




Troon Quality & Style In Ayrshire



ayrshire magazine

Editor: Andrew Attard E - Creative Director: Keri Attard E - Fashion & Beauty: Kelly Cripps E - Sales: E -

Editorials: Sergio Burns Kelly Cripps Natasha Radmehr Steven Smith A.B. Collier Katie Harkin Alan Moore Cameron Tortolano Abigail Smillie Simone Lucas-Broadley Ryan Rowe Billy Kirkwood George Watson

Photography: Fraser Barbour

Peter Jaay

David Weir


KELLY CRIPPS FASHION & BEAUTY Kelly has been working as a make up artist for over a decade. If you need her you can find her at home watching Vice Principles, so funny, or sampling the empire biscuits down at Gro Coffee.

STEVEN SMITH WRITER Steven is a writer for Ayrshire Magazine. He is an animator and musician. He’s obsessed with moves and anything to do with the 80s.

NATASHA RADMEHR WRITER Natasha Radmehr is a writer and editor. She likes travelling, patting dogs and eating Nutella out the jar.

SIMONE LUCAS WRITER Simone is a lawyer and part time writer for the Ayrshire Magazine. When not running after her toddler, Simone loves catching up with friends and family and forever trying to perfect that feline eye-flick!

KATIE HARKIN WRITER If she’s not busy being a Glasgow Cali media student, blogging about fashion or listening to music, then she’s probably not had enough coffee

FRASER BARBOUR PHOTOGRAPHER Fraser is the owner of Opal Studios. When not working for the magazine he can be found in his photography studio in Ayr or enjoying time with his Family.

Digital Dave Photography

Andy Sokell

Fiona Reid

KSG Photography


The G Photography instagram - photosbytheg


Special Thanks: George Watson DISCLAIMER

All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. All prices and credits are accurate at time of going to press but are subject to change. All advertising is accepted by ourselves in good faith. The publisher is not responsible for the accuracy in any of the adverts. The publisher cannot accept any liability for any errors or omissions that may have appeared in this publication. Any views expressed by the advertiser may not be the views of the publisher. Now the boring stuff is out the way and we still have your attention why don’t you send us your New Years resoltuion? Post a pic on our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram. The first 10 entries will get a present from us!

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Please share your copy of Ayrshire Magazine and recycle it when you are done, or you could make some paper aeroplanes.. its up to you really .




This event for music fans, will take place in Troon Concert Hall. It will be a great musical night, for fans of all types of music, including those who love the Kinks, the Jam, Sounds of the Sixties, as well as those with more diverse musical tastes. All proceeds from this event will go to “The Ayrshire Hospice”.

The second of three January Monday meetings and this seven race card is the perfect way to start the week – or to extend your weekend! The action is under way at 1.10 pm with a maiden hurdle and throughout the afternoon the cream of northern trainers will be represented and some of the leading jockeys will be in action including Brian Hughes, Brian Harding, Craig Nichol and Sean Quinlan.

CARDBOARD CARNIVAL CUMNOCK TOWN HALL, GLAISNOCK STREET, CUMNOCK SATURDAY 14TH JANUARY 2017 ADMISSION: £3/£10 FAMILY Trunk, Tail, Ears or Wings? A Carnival creates itself from all sorts of things! This is “Carnival of the Animals” but not as we know it. Dissected for body part potential to create the “ultimate animal” we take inspiration from the music by Camille Saint-Saëns, a little help from Darwin and a whole lot of cardboard to mash up a show full of puppet possibility. AYRSHIRE FARMERS MARKET AYR CENTRAL SHOPPING CENTRE SUNDAY 15TH JANUARY 2017 When you buy from a farmers market, you can talk directly to the producer, be sure that the produce is fresh and prepared to the highest standard. You can also be sure that the sum paid is going to the farmer / producer and not to middlemen or on unnecessary packaging. It is important to remember that by using these venues that you are supporting the local economy and sustaining local jobs. WEDDING OPEN DAY LOCHSIDE HOTEL, NEW CUMNOCK 15TH JANUARY A perfect chance to scope out a location for the wedding of your dreams. Fizz and Canapes served throughout the day with free entry!

CARRICK CINEMA CLUB THE CARRICK CENTRE, CULZEAN ROAD, MAYBOLE FRIDAY 20TH JANUARY 2017 TICKETS £5 AT THE DOOR. Eddie the Eagle, cert PG. The true, uplifting and comic story about the man who was axed from the Olympic ski team, British athlete Michael “Eddie” Edwards, but who travels to Germany to test his skills at ski jumping. Doors Open 7pm. Ice cream, tea & coffee on sale. Film starts 7.30p.m. ALLOWAY 1759 - HAGGIS HOOLIE ROBERT BURNS BIRTHPLACE MUSEUM, ALLOWAY FRIDAY 20 JANUARY 2017 AT 7.30PM - 11.30PM Burns Birthplace will celebrate the Bard’s birthday in style with our informal nod to a Burns Supper - The Haggis Hoolie! The Borland Ceilidh Band and a variety of talented local performers will entertain you while you dine on traditional Burns Supper fayre. After you’ve been fed and watered, let the band ‘put life and mettle’ in your heels as the dancing gets going. Includes traditional 3 course Burns Supper (Vegetarian options available)

LEGALLY BLONDE GAIETY THEATRE, AYR WEDNESDAY 25TH - SATURDAY 28TH JANUARY 2017 TICKETS: £14 – £18. Presented by RAFT/UWS. A fabulously fun international award-winning musical based on the adored movie, Legally Blonde The Musical, follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes, snobbery, and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. This action-packed musical explodes on the stage with memorable songs and dynamic dances. Equal parts hilarious and heart-warming, this musical is so much fun it should be illegal! DOGTOOTH HARBOUR ARTS CENTRE, IRVINE 27TH JANUARY 2017 £5 Dogtooth are, quite literally, the original small faces. With the average age of the band a mere 15 years, these boys have been reared on a diet of mod, punk and classic British guitar bands. New single ‘Rebel’ has just been unleashed. BURNS ALICHT BURNS COTTAGE ALLOWAY, AYR SATURDAY 28TH JANUARY 2017 TICKETS: £7.50 AND £5 CONC. AVAILABLE FROM AYR GAIETY BOX OFFICE. Discover special illuminations, mischievous sights, sounds and entertainment. Delight in landmarks coming alive! Finale burning of John Barleycorn at 10.45pm. WEDDING OPEN NIGHT THE CARLTON HOTEL, PRESTWICK 30TH JANUARY A perfect chance to scope out a location for the wedding of your dreams. Fizz and Canapes served throughout the day with free entry!

Quality & Style In Ayrshire



JANUARY FINALE RACEDAY AYR RACECOURSE, WHITLETTS ROAD, AYR MONDAY 30TH JANUARY 2017 The last of three January Mondays when we race at Ayr – Scotland’s premier racecourse with a seven race card and some really competitive racing. Cheer on your favourite jockeys and horses as they compete for the good midweek prize-money on offer. SIDE SPLITTERS COMEDY CLUB: - GLASGOW COMEDY FEST PREVIEWS HARBOUR ARTS CENTRE, IRVINE SATURDAY 4TH FEBRUARY 2017 TICKETS: £8 We’re bringing some of the best comics from this year’s Glasgow Comedy Festival back by popular demand to Irvine for a sneak peak of their hysterical new shows including Susie McCabe, Gary Meikle, and John Gavin SEASIDE SKA 3 TROON CONCERT HALL, TROON SATURDAY 11TH FEBRUARY 2017 £18 The return of the very popular annual ska event, featuring 4 top bands; the evergreen Esperanza, the alwayspopular Big Fat Panda, the rapid-fire rush of The Amphetameanies and Bombskare, winners of the BBC’s ‘Best Part-Time Band In Britain’. There’ll be 2 bars, clothing stalls, a ska DJ and 500 folk dancing until the lights come on. SEASIDE SKA 3 TROON CONCERT HALL, TROON SATURDAY 11TH FEBRUARY 2017 £18 The return of the very popular annual ska event, featuring 4 top bands; the evergreen Esperanza, the alwayspopular Big Fat Panda, the rapid-fire rush of The Amphetameanies and Bombskare, winners of the BBC’s ‘Best Part-Time Band In Britain’. There’ll be 2 bars, clothing stalls, a ska DJ and 500 folk dancing until the lights come on.

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THE POLAR BEARS GO UP CUMNOCK TOWN HALL, GLAISNOCK STREET, CUMNOCK TUESDAY 14TH FEBRUARY 2017 TICKETS: £3 PER PERSON OR £10 FAMILY TICKET. The Polar Bears are moving up in the world. They’ve lost their balloon and they need to get it back. It’s time to get up, step up, climb up, jump up. One thing’s for sure, the only way is up! These two lovable Polar Bears are intrepid explorers, famous for their wild expeditions. This time they’ll be climbing trees, jumping on clouds and reaching for the stars as they race all the way up to space. Of course, they’ll stop for sandwiches on the way! OPERA HIGHLIGHTS MAYBOLE TOWN HALL THURSDAY 16TH FEBRUARY 2017 TICKETS: £5 UNDER 26S / £12 FULL PRICE Each year Scottish Opera takes four singers and a pianist out and about around Scotland, travelling the highways and byways, by land, air and sea, to take a musical mix of opera highlights to some of the country’s smaller and more remote venues. Join them as they set off on an unforgettable journey featuring music by Mozart, Handel, Puccini, Gilbert & Sullivan and many more. SHARK IN THE PARK PALACE THEATRE, KILMARNOCK FRIDAY 17TH FEBRUARY 2017 Timothy Pope is looking through his telescope…but wait…. is that a Shark… in the Park!? See all 3 of Nick Sharratt’s ‘Shark in the Park’ books live on stage - Shark in the Park, Shark in the Dark and Shark in the Park on a Windy Day. This fin-tastic family musical follows Timothy and his telescope on 3 exciting adventures.

MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL GAIETY THEATRE, AYR THURSDAY 16TH & FRIDAY 17TH FEBRUARY 2017 TICKETS: PREMIUM: £27.50. STANDARD: £23.50. ECONOMY: £21.00 Starring Cheryl Fergison (EastEnders), Maureen Nolan (The Nolans), Rebecca Wheatley (Casualty) and Ruth Berkeley (Penny Dreadful) this hysterical show is packed full of one-liners and parody songs about hot flushes and memory loss. An allsinging, all-dancing comedy set in a department store, where four women with seemingly nothing in common, meet by chance. They soon bond as they make fun of their woeful lives experiencing “The Change” and their problems with forgetfulness, mood swings, wrinkles, night sweats and chocolate binges. Book now for the ultimate girls night out! Join us on Facebook at “Menopause The Musical UK Tour” Due to strong language and adult themes the show is recommended for 16+ SAVOY PARK HOTEL WEDDING OPEN DAY SUNDAY 5TH MARCH 2017 12NOON - 4PM FREE Perfect oppertunity to view this stunning Ayrshire wedding venue. Special discounts and offers for new 2017 bookings.

Entry to P7 & S1 Saturday, 21st January 2017

To register for the Entrance Test, please contact our Admissions Registrar, Marian Dunlop, on 01292 269321 or The test will gauge your child’s curricular progress in a friendly, welcoming environment. Information about our means-tested bursaries will be available on the day and senior members of staff will also be on hand to answer your questions.

Our Indoor & Outdoor Nurseries are run in partnership with South Ayrshire Council Find out about funded places today.

Photo Credit | Fraser Barbour - Opal-Studios


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KRIS BOYD The Boyd’s done good. BY: RYAN ROWE

To this day I still haven’t met the man who signed was a disaster from start to finish.” That’s how Kris Boyd describes his turbulent tenure in Turkey. Boyd had signed a three-year contract with Eskisehirspor, a club from a city nearly 3,000 miles away from home, hoping that regular game time in a high-profile league would end his exile from the Scotland national team. He played 76 minutes of football in six months, before terminating his contract. That was on December 19, 2011. Almost five years to the day later, Boyd is sitting across from me in the cafe area of the stylish Park Hotel in Kilmarnock, relaxed. He’s much more content with his football life now and is a wiser head after his Turkish nightmare. Everything from his childhood to his career he speaks openly and eloquently about, which belies his guarded appearance: a black rain-jacket, zipped up to just below his chin where his dark, thick beard resides. He offers detailed opinions on the state of youth football and society in general. They aren’t for the faint-hearted. We’re in the shadow of Rugby Park, home of Kilmarnock FC. It represents a second home for the man from Tarbolton, who’s spent half of his professional career with the Ayrshire club and has iconic status here. But Boyd had to work hard to merit his place on the pitch in the first place and his outlook hasn’t changed to this day. Though his standing allows him to order his coffee and glass of blackcurrant juice on the house, it’s a rank he’s had to earn. Growing up in Ayrshire in the eighties was a wholly different ball game to what it’s like today. “There were so many of us at roughly the same age who got together and played up the park. It’s something that’s sadly missing nowadays.” “We used to get home from school, change and

head straight back out till ten o’clock. That doesn’t happen anymore. “I wouldn’t change my childhood for anything.” Boyd attended Mainholm Academy and laments that some of the more trivial pursuits of the typical male youth, including jumping off of school sheds or climbing up trees to retrieve footballs, are waning. Boyd’s adolescent environment valued hard graft. “You had to fight for everything. You had to fight for superiority in your group, which I think led to you becoming who you were.”

“To be given the opportunity was unbelievable, especially against Celtic. To replace Ally McCoist as well, in his last game, means I’ve got great memories from that day.” Boyd signed professionally with Kilmarnock as an ambitious 17-year-old, eager for the chance to showcase his talent. The big break came in 2001 and was unique in more ways than one. Boyd didn’t come on for just any old seasoned pro. He replaced Alistair Murdoch McCoist, known to many as ‘Super Ally’. It was his last ever game, and the opponent was no ordinary foe. It was Celtic. “To be given the opportunity was unbelievable, especially against Celtic. To replace Ally McCoist as Quality & Style In Ayrshire



well, in his last game, means I’ve got great memories from that day.” From that day onwards, Boyd’s career skyrocketed. He soared to stardom, firing in goals left, right, and centre (67 of them, to be precise). His penalty-box prowess made him a renowned local face and he was first man up for events, press conferences and photocalls. “You start to think that there’s something special in this place for myself, and they can see something in me. It’s not until you’re older you recognise wee silly things like that were putting you on a learning curve to realise there’s more to football than just playing on the field. And I think that’s why I can sit here today and say I’ve still got such a good relationship with the people around Kilmarnock.” That relationship would come to an end in January 2006, when Boyd fulfilled a childhood dream. Boyd grew up supporting Rangers and despite interest from English Premiership teams like Fulham, playing for the Ibrox club was always in the back of his mind. So too was the question of whether he’d be able to perform at that high level for his boyhood club when he signed. He needn’t have worried. ‘Boydy’ scored 20 goals for Rangers

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to finish the season. He finished as the top scorer for Rangers and Kilmarnock, scooping the league’s golden boot award. “It was just fairytale stuff from beginning to end that season,” he gleams. The local hero left a parting gift for his old club. He forfeited his transfer bonus upon signing for the Old Firm giants, sending the money back to the team that helped him blossom. I hand over a printout showing perhaps Boyd’s biggest achievement at Ibrox. It’s a photograph of him holding a framed jersey with the words ‘BOYD – 100 GOALS’ emblazoned. Posing with the centurion is then first-team coach (and boyhood hero), Mr McCoist. The face across the table lights up. “I think when you grow up as a Rangers fan McCoist was always someone you looked up to. But when you’re running about the park as a kid in the new top your parents got you screaming ‘And McCoist scores!’ you never think those dreams will become reality.” When Boyd scored his first career goal against Celtic in 2007, he ecstatically raced towards his idol on the sidelines. Ian Crocker, the Sky Sports commentator, exclaimed: “It means so much to Kris Boyd!” Understatement of the century.


Big-money calls came from down south but it was silver – not gold – that motivated the Ayrshire man. “I don’t think I’d have been able to live with myself had I left not having won anything. It’s easy to say ‘I’ve played with Rangers’ but as soon as you say that, people ask ‘What did you win?’ That was always in the back of my mind.” Boyd won no less than six trophies with Rangers in four-and-a-half goal-laden years. The success in Glasgow thrust him in the spotlight like never before, and Boyd admits it was strange for a boy from Tarbolton to make it like he had. But in hindsight, it isn’t so surprising. “Ayrshire as a whole is a big place. Lots of little villages produced good footballers – Kirk Broadfoot and Stewart Kean, both from Drongan, Steven Naismith in Stewarton. Going back to our youth game, the competitiveness was always there. You always wanted to be better than the guy next to you, and I think that helped everyone achieve their goal.” Such is the candid way Boyd talks about anything that I’ve allowed myself to indulge in a few questions that would bear no relevance to this piece (nightclub preferences, for example). So, who is the best player Boyd ever shared a dressing room with? He puts up three fingers: “Barry Ferguson, Pedro Mendes and Steve Davis,” he says, touching each digit. If he had to pick one it’d be Ferguson, who was so good Boyd sometimes wondered: “How am I on the same pitch as him?” He’s adamant his former teammate could’ve played for one of the top four Premiership teams. Boyd’s own spell in England was “difficult”. He admits it’s the one thing he would change in his career. He never truly settled on the pitch at Middlesbrough and Billy Davies’ sacking at Nottingham Forest burst that ball just as it got rolling.

“Ayrshire as a whole is a big place. Lots of little villages produced good footballers – Kirk Broadfoot and Stewart Kean, both from Drongan, Steven Naismith in Stewarton. Going back to our youth game, the competitiveness was always there. You always wanted to be better than the guy next to you, and I think that helped everyone achieve their goal.” The Turkish turmoil needs no more column inches. The positives Boyd took from that challenging period do. “Before I would just do what I needed to do on a football pitch but then you go to places like that and see people in poverty, properly struggling. In the long run it changed me into the person I am today.” Boyd made good friends out there, like his translator, who bunked with him after being fired from the club. Boyd felt for him, and in return he helped with the basics like ordering food. They still keep in touch. (Eskisehirspor have since been relegated, and their fans set fire to their stadium). Going from one extreme to another Boyd flew to America, signing for Portland Timbers. He has fond memories of MLS. His family were able to join him for the whole summer. “It was a fantastic year for me. I loved it.” Boyd highlights the difficulties the MLS has in expanding, chiefly the system of no relegation and the fact that teams regularly endure six or seven Quality & Style In Ayrshire


Photo Credit | Fraser Barbour - Opal-Studios


hour flights and play in heat they’re not used to. Boyd laughs, recalling visiting Houston Dynamo’s facilities when they hoped to sign him. When he left, the grey t-shirt he wore had a massive line of sweat down the middle. It was mid-January. After his American adventure Boyd returned to Scotland, finding his goalscoring touch again at Kilmarnock before moving to Rangers for a second time in 2014. Times were dark at Ibrox and Boyd was not the only one who left at the end of that season, in a clearout he believes needed to happen. Now back at Kilmarnock for a third time, he helped the club avoid relegation once again last season. On that first return to Kilmarnock, the striker’s form was so outstanding it earned him a recall to the Scotland squad. That, he says, is one of the proudest moments in his career. He never thought he’d receive that type of call again. “When I look back on my international career there’s been a lot of good times. But other times, like the George Burley incident, I’m not proud of,” (Boyd quit the international scene under Burley after the new manager put Chris Iwelumo on before him against Norway, and watched helplessly as he committed that miss). If Boyd’s international career is tinged with sadness, it doesn’t come close to the tragedy his family endured this year when his brother, Scott, a dad-to-be, took his own life. It shocked his kin to the core. They had no idea of his inner agony, and Boyd wants to do something in his brother’s name to help

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others who find themselves suffering similar issues. He plans on setting up a foundation in the New Year to do so. “It wasn’t easy for us to deal with but going forward it’s about raising awareness so no one else has to go through what we went through. “I hope in ten years time it’s a success and something Scott can look down on.” The day after we spoke, Kilmarnock had an important match at Rugby Park against St Johnstone. Boyd had struggled with injury in previous weeks, but made it onto the bench for this tie. It was a bitterly cold night and the mood amongst the home fans even frostier. When it was announced Boyd would be substituted on, the sense of expectation palpably increased around the stadium. The fact that his mere presence had the Killie faithful rubbing their hands together for a reason other than keeping warm is a measure of Boyd’s legendary status at the club. The sun is setting on Boyd’s career. During our conversation he said that “As a footballer, you never know where you’re going to end up,” something he knows better than anyone. One place his name will end up is in Scottish football’s history books. On the horizon for Boyd are opportunities in coaching, the media and beyond. It looks like ‘The Killie’ will bookmark his football story, but no-one – not even Boyd himself – knows exactly what will come in the next chapter.

brlighting die N O OW


Lighting, artwork & home accessories... 20 Main Street, Ayr, Ayrshire, KA8 8EB. T: 01292 282 288 Quality & Style In Ayrshire 19

Photo Credits - The G Photography & KSG Photography


OFFICIAL OPENING AYRSHIRE COLLEGE’S NEW KILMARNOCK CAMPUS Ayrshire College’s new £53m Kilmarnock Campus has been officially opened by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Over 200 guests celebrated this milestone event at a special ceremony on 12 December 2016 where they heard the First Minister describe the state-of-the-art facilities as “absolutely stunning”. The First Minister toured the campus with College Chair Willie Mackie and Principal Heather Dunk. She met students and staff from all areas of the College, as well as some of the partners who work with them. Speaking in front of the invited audience, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said “Students are clearly thriving in this brand new campus, and they will soon form part of a highly skilled workforce that is tailored for the regional economy.”

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w w w. b l a c k a n d l i z a r s . c o m

Available at Black & Lizars 42 Dalblair Road, Ayr

71 Templehill, Troon

Tel: 01292 267 293

Tel: 01292 311 553

Photo Credit - Air Image


JACKIE BINNIE’S FRIGHT NIGHT BIRTHDAY PARTY The Park Hotel was transformed into a Transylvanian ball room for one of the parties of the year. The night, to celebrate Jackie Binnies 50th Party was attended by over 150 guests and every single one made a tremendous effort dressing to the vampire theme. The evening had some entertainment highlights from a spooky strings accompaniment to a star performance from Jai McDowell, who delivered an impressive 5 song set. MC Robbie Duncan and local band Amplifive kept the party mood going, along with the Kilted DJ who made sure everyone had a night to remember. Massive thanks to Gregg McEwan, Phyllis McLeish, The Kilted DJ, The Park Hotel, Robbie Duncan, Mark Wilson, Jai McDowell and Amplifive. All images courtesy of Brian Muir of Air Image.

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1985 MON – WED

2 for 1 pizza / pasta £10 TUE – THU

Dine Out for £10 Breakfast, coffee, lunch, supper, dinner, drinks & cocktails.

Ayr Wellington Square 72 Fort St, Ayr KA7 1EH 01292 263607

Prestwick 74 Main St, Prestwick, Ayrshire KA9 1PA 01292 474146

Ardrossan Clyde Marina, 5 Dock Rd, Ardrossan, KA22 8DA 01294 471700


CASH FOR KIDS CHRISTMAS LUNCH 2016 Cash for Kids annual lunch held on Friday 2nd December and attended by over 500 local people raised a staggering £138K on the day. The guests at the annual lunch were entertained by Fleur East who opened the lunch with a tremendous set that got the room going. This was followed by local Musicians Aimee Penman and Colin Hunter who entertained the crowd before noughties sensation Lemar performed a terrific set. Local Band, Waterfront helped close the show and made sure it was another memorable lunch. The lunch is part of the charities Mission Christmas and has been sponsored for the past two years by local business, Digital Kitchens and Bedrooms who helped raise a further £36k. The £138k total is the largest amount that has ever been raised in Ayrshire and this meant that even more children here in our communities had a better Christmas. Over 5,000 toys were also donated to the Cash for Kids Mission Christmas appeal. 100% of everything you give to Cash for Kids goes directly to the kids who need our help.

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THE SCOTTISH ITALIAN AWARDS 2016 Italians from all over the country gathered for one of their biggest nights of the year. The Cecchinis Restaurant chain, based in Ayr, Prestwick and Ardrossan, were nominated for 4 awards this year. A great achievement for the local restaurateurs, they picked up 2 awards on the night. These were for Best Marketing and Business Person of the Year. The companies Director, Anthony Cecchini commented that this wouldn’t have been achievable without their loyal customers, dedicated staff and innovative management team. The company would love to thank all their loyal customers who voted for them and they look forward to welcoming you all back in 2017.

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JOHN GILARDI, Managing Director

GLASGOW OFFICE 7 Royal Crescent GLASGOW G3 7SL Tel: 0141 333 1616

AYRSHIRE OFFICE 12 Alloway Place AYR KA7 2AG Tel: 01292 285460




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Photo Credit - Andy Sokell


SCOTLAND V GEORGIA – AUTUMN TESTS 2016 Scottish rugby came to Rugby Park again this year for their Autumn Test fixture against Georgia. Following their fantastic result against Tonga in 2014 the anticipation for another win was high and the atmosphere within the hotel and grounds reflected this. With a final score of 43-16 Scotland played a fantastic game in front of over 15,000 fans. Hospitality was taken care of within The Park Hotel pre & post-match with hotel guests having the pleasure of ex-international host Jason White sharing anecdotes from his international career. A great day was had by all attending this fantastic sporting event in Ayrshire and we look forward to the next one!

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ver 15,000 visitors enjoyed the Scottish Maritime Museum’s four day winter spectacular, illumination : Harbour Festival of Light, which shimmered into life on Irvine’s historic waterfront on St Andrew’s Day.

Photo Credit | illumination Community Photographers

The festival, which took place along Irvine Harbourside and at the nearby Scottish Maritime Museum, was also made possible by the support of North Ayrshire Council, Creative Scotland, Arts & Business Scotland through a New Arts Sponsorship Grant, Museums Galleries Scotland, Caledonian illumination, Scotland’s newest MacBrayne, Booth Welsh, Ayrshire art and light winter spectacular, & Arran and in-kind sponsorship which received support as part from NPL Estates and West FM. of the Scotland’s Winter Festivals illumination, was also designed to events programme. celebrate the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016.

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love podcasts, and recently I’ve been bingeing on the back catalogue of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. One minute they’re talking about vibrators, the next they’re interviewing Grayson Perry about the crisis of masculinity (and I’m using creative license to mention those two topics in the same breath - oh snap), always championing women with matter-offact confidence. It’s a show with feminism at its heart and, having been on the go for 70 years, it’s provided comfort to and empowered countless women. And yet in an episode a few months ago, the presenter introduced contributor Sali Hughes with slight trepidation, anticipating that some listeners might take umbrage with the fact that she was going to talk about - gasp! - beauty products. It was clear that some people had a habit of complaining to the show whenever a subject so seemingly frivolous and, well, unfeminist as make-up was given airtime. The kind of people who believe the very act of applying lipstick is a form of self-subjugation, and that we won’t ever achieve parity with men for as long as we’re gluing on false eyelashes. Which, frankly, is a load of old horseshit. For a start, make-up was worn thousands of years ago in Ancient Egypt, long before slimy ad men

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ruminated in smoke-filled rooms over new ways to make women feel insecure enough to buy products they don’t need. Before the products even existed, Cleopatra was crushing carmine beetles and ants to create the perfect red pigment for her lips (“Maybe she’s born with it? Maybe it’s beetle spleen.”). Plus, historically, cosmetics have always been used by men, too. Who was Henry VIII, if not early evidence that even with five layers of powder and a pinch of blusher, you can’t polish a turd? And what about Tutankhamun, whose winged eyeliner game is still yet to be beaten? Even pushing those things aside and considering make-up in terms of what it means to women now, nobody could pitch me a convincing argument that wearing it makes anyone any less of a feminist. I started wearing make-up in my teens, not because adverts told me to or because I thought it would help me lose my VL (although I’m sure that came into play on some level), but because I had a deep desire to communicate to the world that I was a mosher. I loved nothing more than coating my lids in dense, black, glittery Bourjois eyeshadow and rimming my eyes with sooty kohl. My hair was streaked with flashes of red. My make-up


was shorthand for my tribe; my way of saying, ‘Hiya, please talk to me about the new Papa Roach album’. If you’ve never used make-up as a badge of belonging or creative expression, you almost certainly know someone who has: a punk, a new romantic, a goth, a rockabilly. As I grew older, my need to belong to any particular subculture waned - aesthetically, at least - but my love of make-up didn’t. It became part of my daily routine: 10 relaxing minutes in the morning dedicated to grooming myself. A ritual that, like brushing my teeth, drew a line between sleepy morning me and ok-let’s-do-this me. For me, it’s not about putting on a mask or a disguise - but if that’s your prerogative, cool - but about feeling put together. This is never more important than on the mornings I’ve got a serious case of post-cry face, or I’m feeling anxious about the day ahead. I like that a bit of concealer allows me to go about my day without wearing my heart on my face. I don’t want anyone to be able to look at me and immediately know I’m having a shitty time; that’s my business, not theirs. When I’ve got time to get ready before a night out, I savour it. In fact, sometimes I enjoy the process of getting ready even more than the actual event I’m getting ready for. One of my greatest, simplest pleasures in life is putting on a 90s r’n’b Spotify playlist, slathering on a face mask and painting my nails. It’s fun. It’s an act of self-care. It doesn’t mean I’m solely interested in superficial things or that I’m consumed by my appearance. We like to put people in boxes though, don’t we? It takes seven seconds to form a first impression of someone, and it’s incredible how pivotal our make-up can be in shaping how another person perceives us. When a women wears make-up - and I’m talking about bold, obvious make-up; fake tan, fluttery lashes, bright lipstick - it’s often seen as a marker of her intelligence, or lack thereof. That judgement comes from men and women, and to me, it’s this judgement of women who wear make-up that’s anti-feminist - not the actual act wearing of it. I know that the beauty industry is far from perfect from a feminist and ethical standpoint; I’m not for one second saying that it’s without problems. But if you condemn women who wear make-up and make the assumption that those who indulge in beauty-related pursuits can’t possibly care about women’s rights or indeed anything else ‘worthy’, then you’re denying women the right to be multifaceted, you’re denying women the right to control their appearance, and you’re denying women the right to be listened to and respected no matter what they look like. And last time I checked, that’s precisely what we’re fighting for.

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Photo Credit | Fraser Barbour - Opal-Studios


Ayrshire Pets Ann & Chester



Age? Depends who is asking Favourite Food? Steak Favourite past-time? Holidays Pet name? Gran Gran Favourite part of Ayrshire? Ayr beach Favourite place to sleep? Las Vegas Celebrity Lookalike? Olivia Newton John

Age? Two Favourite Food? Steak/chicken Favourite past-time? Chewing sticks Pet name? Chester pester Favourite part of Ayrshire? Ayr beach Favourite place to sleep? Mummy’s bed Celebrity Lookalike? Olivia Newton John

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Photo Credit | Fraser Barbour - Opal-Studios

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e glides across the pitch like a ribbon of speeding light. A blur, who mesmerises the opposition’s defence. He is laser sharp in front of goal scoring 273 times in 571 appearances in a career spanning 20 years. A Scottish football international, Bobby Lennox was the last of the Lisbon Lions to retire, having won 25 major awards – 11 Scottish League Championships, 8 Scottish Cups, 5 Scottish League Cups and, the icing, the European Cup. Only Ryan Giggs has surpassed that tally. Who would disagree that if the Ayrshire man had been born and raised in Sao Paulo instead of Saltcoats, he would have added a World Cup winners medal to that haul? The pinnacle of Lennox’s career came on May 25, 1967, in the Estadio Nacionale, Lisbon, when Scottish underdogs Celtic met Italian giants Inter Milan for the premier European trophy. Inter having already won the trophy twice were firm favourites to complete a hat trick, and when Sandro Mazzola scored with a penalty after seven minutes it looked as though the bookies had, once again, called it right. The Scottish side, however, managed to pull themselves back into the game with a Tommy Gemmell thunderbolt on 62 minutes as the Italians fell back into a defensive system, then known as catenaccio. Celtic sealed victory with a Steve Chalmers goal in 85 minutes and the European Cup was heading back to Glasgow. “We just didn’t realise we had won the European Cup,” Lennox admitted to Ayrshire Magazine when talking about the aftermath of the game and being the first British club to lift the trophy. “We didn’t have the greatest of nights believe it or not. We went back to a restaurant and sat for an hour...then Milan arrived...(and) Billy (McNeil) came in with a shoebox and said : ‘There’s your medals lads,’ and gave us all a medal.” It was an inauspicious end to what should have been a great night of celebration and fun, but the night was still young. There was more to come : “We had dinner and left there and went to a hotel the girls were in for their dinner,” Lennox recalled. “They finished their dinner then they were going to the airport to fly home. We (then) all had to go to the airport...and sat for ages and someone said their flights were due. We got back in the bus and arrived back in Estoril at two in the morning and went to our beds. We got a chap about four in the morning (telling us) that is the girls’ bus back the flight is delayed again. Everybody out their bed again

sitting downstairs, so, it wasn’t the best ever night in Europe I can assure you, although it was the best ever achievement.” This was not the way it would be today, of course, there is no social media to record the antics of misbehaving football players celebrating their victory to begin with. All we have from that famous night is Bobby Lennox quietly relating the tale staring back 50 years – this May will be the 50th anniversary of this great landmark in football history. The captain handing out gongs at dinner, the to and fro to the airport, no real celebration of what was an amazing achievement. For Lennox, a man Alfredo Di Stefano of Real Madrid fame claimed was his most difficult opponent, his route to Lisbon and, indeed, into professional football, was not a straightforward journey. He went to Chelsea at the age of 15 for four days but didn’t enjoy the experience, and later trained with Kilmarnock. “I trained at Kilmarnock once when I was a boy,” Lennox remembered his time at Rugby Park. “I trained (there) for quite a wee while. I went to Blackpool when I trained with Kilmarnock and Mr (Willie) Waddell (then manager of Kilmarnock) said to us.... come back and see us when you come back from Blackpool. But I didn’t go back in and see him.” If Kilmarnock were, apparently, disinterested in bringing Lennox to Rugby Park, there were others who wanted him. As an 18 year-old, the Saltcoats man signed for Celtic from junior side Ardeer Recreation on September 5, 1961 and played his first game for the team on March 3, 1962 – a 2-1 win at home to Dundee. The boy who was once too shy to play for his primary school team was now on his way to becoming a Scottish football legend, something not lost on Kilmarnock Football Club. “I was away with Scotland one time, we were in a hotel in Largs, sitting in our room, me and Bobby Murdoch and wee Jimmy ( Johnstone),” The Ayrshire man remembered a clumsy attempt to explain Kilmarnock Football Club’s lack of enthusiasm for his services. “Walter came in, Walter McCrae(Scotland backroom staff at the time), who was a terrific guy, Walter was a great guy, he came in and said to us ‘Aye, you were unlucky wee man when you trained with us we thought you’re too wee!’ And, Bobby Murdoch says to him, ‘I doubt he’s that wee! He’s won the European Cup and has three or four caps for Scotland already.’ So, Walter was left thinking I have said the wrong thing here.”

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BOBBY LENNOX two feet firmly planted on solid ground in his home town of Saltcoats. “I just loved being in Saltcoats,” he confessed. “It wasn’t a hardship driving up to Glasgow every day. Big Jock ( Jock Stein manager of Celtic at the time) said to me just before me and Catherine got married that they would like me to move to Glasgow, to be nearer the park. I said to him, I don’t want to leave Saltcoats, I’m happy where I am and he said, ‘Well if you are happy then we’re happy.’ The Glasgow boys would go out and there would be billions of people, but I would come back to Saltcoats and Catherine and I would go to the pictures or something, I loved coming from Saltcoats.” Bobby Lennox still lives in Saltcoats and tells the story of what he did with his win bonus from Celtic’s European Cup triumph. He used the money to come home to Ayrshire and marry Catherine. The cash paid for the wedding he revealed, the honeymoon and a few bits and pieces for the marital home.

Lennox, was now a star, a major force in Scottish football, a member of a European Cup winning side and one of the small group of Scottish football players who can claim to have played in two European Cup finals. In 1970 Celtic again reached the final of the competition, this time losing out to Feyenoord of the Netherlands after extra-time. He was also courted by some of the big sides from the south, Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton. But, apart from a six month spell at Houston Hurricanes late in his career, Lennox never moved from Celtic or Saltcoats and finished his career with the Glasgow side, adding another league championship and Scottish Cup medal in the process. He later worked as a coach at Parkhead nurturing the new talent and remembering what it was like for him when he was on the brink of a football career. Despite his success, the glowing tributes and accolades, Bobby Lennox has remained with his

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The Lisbon Lion is an unassuming man, an old style gentleman who is both straightforward and rooted firmly in his Ayrshire community. Everyone knew how good he was, and he went on to do great things in the game, but it will always be that life-defining moment in Lisbon that will forever shape his life. “Aw, it has been great,” he said with some humility. “Everybody’s treated us like royalty, it has been absolutely great. I think as the years go by it gets bigger and bigger. It is incredible, absolutely incredible.” There is now talk of a statue in the town to commemorate the former Celtic and Scotland player’s achievements in the game, with a campaign to raise money to realise this aim already underway. All of which would be a fitting tribute to a man who has achieved so much but has always remained quietly in the background. Maybe that relative anonymity says as much about Lennox the man as that career defining moment in Lisbon 50 years ago.

Photo Credit | Fraser Barbour - Opal-Studios





et’s be honest, every kid kicking a ball on a hot summer evening in the local park wanted to be somebody. As the teams were picked and jackets and were laid as goalposts shouts would go up : ‘I am Kenny Dalgliesh, ‘I want to be Kris Boyd! ‘I am Bobby Lennox!’ Different eras bring different heroes and often the greats of football are commemorated by a bit more than just hero worship from a few lads playing the game in their local park. Anyone who has been to the new Wembley, for example, will have encountered the magnificent bronze statue to West Ham and England captain Bobby Moore. At the gates of Anfield you will have come across a statue to Bill Shankly, Newcastle has Alan Shearer while Ibrox Park, the home of Rangers, has a fair representation of John Greig. Yet one of Ayrshire’s greatest ever footballers, Bobby Lennox, has, to date, nothing to remind anyone of his incredible list of achievements in the game. That is about to change as a committee of four local men have joined forces in a campaign to have a statue of one of Saltcoats’ most famous sons erected. In a town of around 11,500, Lennox emerged as a superstar of Scottish football when he helped

his side Celtic hand out a football lesson to a starstudded Inter Milan in 1967. This year will be the 50th anniversary of that amazing win and it is difficult to remember that Celtic were the first British club to secure Europe’s premier trophy. It didn’t stop there for Lennox who went on to make 571 appearances for Celtic in a career that stretched over 20 years. He claimed 25 gongs, including 11 Scottish League championships (only Ryan Giggs with 26 medals has a superior haul in professional football). In addition he was awarded an MBE and named in Celtic’s greatest ever XI by the club’s supporters. Despite the accolades and the awards, the glowing tributes from his fellow football greats such as McNeil, Charlton, Di Stefano, and loyalty to the town of Saltcoats, there is nothing to remind people of the man’s achievements. A man who has lived there all his life and continues to reside in the seaside town with his wife Catherine. It would have been easy for Bobby Lennox at the height of his powers to have abandoned his home town and moved to the more upmarket areas of Glasgow and its environs. He could have, he has confided in us, moved south Quality & Style In Ayrshire


Photo Credit | Fraser Barbour - Opal-Studios


during his glittering career and was courted by several big name English clubs. “When I was young I could have went to Tottenham or Everton or Arsenal,” Lennox has revealed. “I liked Everton for a while and I liked Tottenham.” But he stayed loyal to Celtic and remained in his beloved Saltcoats making the short hop to Glasgow to train and play. A conversation between two Celtic fans, however, sparked an ambitious project to have a statue built to this remarkably unassuming guy. Paddy Thomas, a lifelong Celtic fan and his friend Mark McLure were bemoaning the fact that despite his achievements in the game, his home town had nothing to commemorate what a great ambassador Lennox had been for Saltcoats. The two started a campaign to have a statue built, produced a Facebook page that had a remarkable 1000 hits within its first 72 hours. The campaigners then convinced local councillor and Rangers fan Jim Montgomerie that Bobby deserved recognition and together with Dean McMillan, a local man who had been trying for years to have Lennox recognised, the four set out to see this realised. The aim of the group is to raise £40,000 needed

to commission Turnberry-based sculptor John McKenna to create Lennox’ likeness for posterity. McKenna, who has already completed a statue of Lennox’s fellow ‘Lions’ Billy McNeil and Jimmy Johnstone, has also made a statue of Jock Stein. The four campaigners are to be commended in their actions to have such a football legend, who has lived his life in the Ayrshire town, recognised. But they still have that little bit of business to attend to before they can happily rest on their laurels. They still need to reach their target of £40,000, and they still need publicity and funds and the support of all interested to realise their aim. This is as much a campaign about a man as a football player and a loyal resident of Saltcoats, Ayrshire. A man who achieved everything he possibly could and conducted himself with great integrity. A man who could have deserted Ayrshire for the bright lights of Glasgow, or even, London, but who stayed where he called home. A man who is quite simply, a credit to the community. There are few who would disagree that it is now time that Saltcoats celebrate their famous son and Ayrshire get behind messrs Thomas, McClure, Montgomerie and McMillan and help them realise their dream of a statue for Bobby Lennox.

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efore we get cracking just remember that by lifting this mag and opening the pages that’s you technically started your new year work out regime. On yerself! You’ll be ripped and have heavy hard lumps like a Pineapple in no time. Right now to business. 2016 can get tae! We are all in agreement that aspects of last year were simply honking. Now don’t get me wrong life in general could be really sweet but 2016 just liked hanging about and reminding us that life could be bad. Like a Jobby in a Sauna, wafting about and making everyone look angry. So while I had fun 2016 I was delighted to see the back of that creepy weirdo of a year oan you go 2016 get tae and take yer bag of tin foil and old bus tickets with you….aye right away…all the way… he gone?......BAM! But 2017 if a fresh start, with a ton new challenges. I’ve got to say I’m buzzing about, lots of new gigs coming up and new stand up shows, hitting the road with ICW, having fun in the mornings on West FM and just getting things moving. But away from work is where I want to change some stuff. Now they say resolutions normally get given up on after 3 weeks which is a quitters attitude, as I know full well I’ve given up on stuff a day and half into it and have never looked back. So with that I’ve just decided to have NO NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS?! Eh? What? You loopy man? Kirkwood have you been eating things out the bins again? No no…well yeah..but that’s got Hee Haw Squared to do with it. I’ve decided I’m not over thinking it – we need our brain matter for enough in life, not announcing it on Facebook – cause no bam cares, I’m just doing it!

Eh? Think about it, good to have things in yer head sure, we can all take a look in the mirror at our bodies, think about the year past and mistakes made and make some goals. That’s it though, that’s what they are GOALS. You have the ability to score them any day or the year, why should Dec 31st be any different? It’s just number. If your car needs fixed…you do it…you don’t wait Dec and go….”Oh im gonna get that done after Christmas” unless of course you’re a giant lazy nugget. You don’t “My Doctor says I’ve got to…” Then wait until Hogmanay. NO you just do it…oh my god I better not be sounding like Shia Lebouf, Lebuff or whatever that Throbber’s name is. Make the promise to yourself. Get up go do it NOW. A resolutions is an excuse waiting to happen, a goal if something you’d like to achieve but a promise….well that’s promise and promises are kept. So for 2017 I promise to lose weight and get into better shape. I promise to stop writing fake reviews on Amazon for Soda Streams. I promise to stop making fun of anyone who thinks Bon Jovi is anyway good. I promise to gig more, enjoy the moments more of being a comedian And I promise to spend even more time with my family…which I’m off to do now. See you next month everyone…and that I promise.

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MARK BENNETT The Olympic Spirit: Knee injuries to Copacabana Beach BY: RYAN ROWE


ost Olympic silver medals come with a story of what might have been. They’re tinged with sadness; a reminder of how one inch here or a little luck there would have meant gold. But for Ayrshire’s Mark Bennett and the GB rugby sevens squad in Rio, it was not a case of so close yet so far. Quite frankly, their silver medal was a miracle. They could ride off into the sunset as heroes, and leave Bennett time to lasso his thoughts on his rugby journey. “It was an incredible achievement,” says Bennett, his tone of voice slightly (but noticeably) higher than usual because of the pride. “Because of the circumstances – the team only coming together 12 weeks before the tournament – I was really worried we’d struggle.” Scotland centre Bennett was the only player in the team who was signed to a Scottish club. His experience with a high-flying Glasgow Warriors side didn’t help the results too much in preparation for their Olympic adventure, as the GB side struggled to make the desired impact in warm-up tournaments. “The build up was not good. We weren’t playing well at all. I was thinking the tournament could go badly. We lost to Russia and they aren’t a particularly great team. “But we did have the makings of a real good team and that did eventually show.” The Brits kicked off their run in Rio with a match against Kenya, the African champions. Despite the fears his team ran out comfortable winners, 31-7, and Bennett himself made his mark with a try. “The Kenya game set the ball rolling and we just grew in confidence from there. It was good to see,” Bennett remarks. The games progressively toughened, with a 2119 win over a dangerous Japan side followed up by a momentous win over the perennial rugby powerhouse: New Zealand. That match put Team GB into the quarter final against Argentina, and Bennett says it was thrilling to be a part of. “It’s probably the most exciting nil-nil game ever! It was end to end, really close stuff.

“Obviously we managed to get over the line in extra time, but by this point we’d came further than we’d ever believed anyway so it was amazing.” The semi-final pitted the Lions against the Springboks and in what would go on to be an even more monumental victory than the New Zealand triumph, Team GB came out on top 7-5 thanks to a Dan Norton try and Tom Mitchell conversion. In the final, Fiji were heavy favourites (pun intended) and stamped their authority early on, scoring after 55 seconds. The islanders went on to win 43-7 but Bennett says his team were able to put their exploits into perspective. “If you’d told me two weeks before the tournament we could get a silver medal I’d have bitten your arm off. Yeah we would have. Just with the way the team came together it was so unexpected. Just an incredible achievement.” It’s exactly 5874.443 miles from Rio de Janeiro to Cumnock, where Bennett’s rugby career started with the local club. His father was the coach and Bennett joked that he “didn’t have a chance but to join”, although little did he know it would be the first step to becoming an established international player with an Olympic medal. “That’s how it all started, with the youth section at Cumnock. That’s how I got into it. “I absolutely loved it.” Bennett is still friends with many of the boys from Cumnock RFC, and at the same time these friendships were blossoming, so was Bennett’s talent. “Once I got to the latter stages of my time at Cumnock I started to realise there was potential for me in rugby. I started out just playing for fun but then it just grew from there. “I do still play for fun, I always have. Even during the Olympics I was still thinking about playing the game for enjoyment, and it definitely helps.” At school, the humble Bennett describes himself as a normal kid, not spectacularly studios or downright Quality & Style In Ayrshire



dumb, just “the same as everyone else”. P.E. was always his favourite subject however, even though it wasn’t always rugby that he excelled in. Bennett played football, squash and badminton amongst others during his schooldays. That obsession with sports continues to this day for the 23-year-old, who’s idea of relaxing is watching – or preferably, playing – golf or table tennis, two of his passions. If he’s not trying to make birdie or enjoying a game of ping-pong, trips to the cinema with friends or sessions on the PS4 suffice, he says. When asked what he would be doing if it wasn’t for rugby, Bennett says: “I genuinely don’t know.” Such answers are common for sportsmen and women but for Bennett it can be forgiven when you consider the influence of his father. He does take time to think about where he could have ended up, however. “I’d maybe be at university doing something sportrelated, maybe sports science. Recently I’ve been doing stuff like that with teaching too, but it’s on the backburner right now.” Such thoughts may have merited serious consideration when Bennett suffered a serious knee injury that completely derailed his meteoric rise. After moving from Cumnock to Ayr RFC and winning the Scottish Premiership in 2011, Bennett made his professional debut for Glasgow Warriors and sealed a move to France with Clermont Auvergne within a year, who in 2010 were crowned French champions for the first time. However instead of helping the then 100-year-old side build on that success, Bennett was struck down by injury and his career with Clermont turned to tatters. But rather than allowing the injury to ruin his life, he worked hard to find a way back onto the field and kept a positive mindset. “In a way it was

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good that I got the injury so young because it meant I healed quicker. I also knew I could still have a long career ahead of me if I kept going. “I still remember it happening, it was totally innocuous. It was in training; there was no contact. A guy slipped and I just sidestepped and felt something, and went down. “It wasn’t that sore, but then I remember all the guys coming round and asking if I was okay. Then I was sent home.” With the move to France being cut short – unlike his career – a loan move back home to Glasgow was negotiated and as Bennett’s play began to take off again, so did the fortunes of the Warriors. “It was a completely different club back when I first joined. The rise since has just been ridiculous. “We’ve went from attracting crowds of 1,500 or 1,600 to selling out Scotstoun and winning the Pro12, which was incredible. “The club really sorted itself out on and off the pitch.” The pinnacle for any rugby union player is the international game, and Bennett remembers vividly being called up for the first time. “I found out on the Tuesday and I celebrated with my family by going out for a meal. They were really proud obviously and I was looking forward to representing my country. “It was surreal to get the call and then to play, because I’d grew up watching games with my dad.” So if there are any young kids in Ayrshire who are sitting warm in front of the TV or in the cold at Murrayfield or Rugby Park watching Scotland play, with their dads and thinking: “Could that be me?” It could. Miracles do happen.


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NEW YEAR SAME ME! 2016 has brought a lot of change to the world; Brexit, many iconic celebrities passing and my parents getting rid of the bath replacing it with a walk in shower, so long lush bath bombs! We’re constantly told that change is good and we should embrace such as it’s good for personal growth blah blah, but maybe 2017 should be our selfish, stubborn year where we focus on the opposite of change- staying the same and keeping the parts about ourselves that we like! There’s no doubting that after a hard year you can change as a person, even without noticing. But you can’t exactly expect a ship to survive a storm and still stay in tip top condition, can you? My tough year was 2015 and without going into too much detail, I didn’t really recognise myself towards the end of it. Perhaps this was partly due to my hairstyle that I had cut short for a change and dyed “blonde”unbeknown to me that I was actually walking around looking like a replica of Lisa Simpson (seriously why don’t people tell you these things at the time?!) Yellow hair aside, I spent a lot of 2016 relearning about myself and bringing out the old Abi- the one I recognised and liked. And because of that, without blowing my trumpet too much, I am rather

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proud of what I’ve achieved this year. As humans we’re usually always too quick to point out our own failures instead of looking at what we’ve overcome. We’ve actually somehow trained ourselves to become hesitant to accept compliments- I too am guilty of this. We frequently see on social media a post about someone’s exam results followed by “could’ve done better” or a selfie of our best friend but she’s swatting away the compliment and replying with “not as pretty as you though.” Why are we so quick to undermine ourselves, competing for the picture perfect life when we should just be striving to be a better version of ourselves? I think it’s a good thing to practice a little self love- every now and then; we wouldn’t want to all be walking around with our heads looking like oranges on toothpicks! But as RuPaul would say, ‘If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?’ They say that the key to happiness is finding yourself. And I think this year I’ve really come to understand that expression as I’ve practiced being kinder to myself. So with that being said, I am saying goodbye to New Year’s resolutions in 2017 and hello to the upkeep of the version of myself that I like- the one with long, dark hair- the yellow can definitely go!





teven Brown defines the concept that you’re never too old to try something new or unleash an old set of skills. After life threw the Ayrshire born artist a curve ball in 2010 when he fell ill, the McCoo creator decided to re-teach himself how to paint, unbeknown to himself just where this new path would take him down. Fast forward seven years later and Steven has just shy of 80,000 followers on Facebook, has set up shop on Newmarket Street in Ayr and has collectively given thousands of pounds to charities including Clic Sargent, Marie Curie and Ayrshire Hospice. Steven began selling his pieces online and it wasn’t long after that his brightly coloured highland cows really kicked started the artist’s career. Adopting the family name of the McCoos, each character plays

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an important part of the story behind the art. “The name is such a huge part of the art because it gives that Scottish spin and might also have a connection with a member of the family,” Steven says while proudly listing through the names of his McCoo creations. “It had to be Scottish because people think of Scotland as like grey clouds, grey skies, its wet but in the paintings what it reflects- or what I hope it reflects- is that we’re the nicest people in the world, we’re the proudest people in the world when it comes to our heritage and history, and even our present day culture. Hopefully that shows in the paintings and not being dark and dreary and always raining- it’s more like we’re bright, we’re colourful, we’re friendly.”


“This first year has just been ridiculously unbelievable but I’m humbled by it, I’m totally blessed by it. And because I’m blessed by it, it just gives me the chance to do a lot more for charities.” Steven’s patriotism stems from his love of the local seaside town in which he chose to showcase his work. Having worked in Ayrshire all his life, it made sense to set up shop in a town close to home and to his heart. “We knew folk would travel for it because there’s such a huge following online and Facebook but what happened was just beyond our expectations. The thing that people forget is that when people travel to Ayr, they spend money. We don’t want a big chain of stores because it’s all about selling the art and I don’t want to spend all my time in HR, staffing levels and holidays cause I’ve come from retail and 20 years in the restaurant trade and you had a lot of staff so because I’ve done that half my life, the next half we do for the customers. We really don’t want to be like McDonalds or KFC; we want to keep it really exclusive- if we keep it exclusive to the stores, we’re still bringing that tourism in.” Speaking about his goals for 2017, Steven has a lot planned for the upcoming year. As well as hoping to launch two more stores in Edinburgh and London, he also wants to create more pieces with Scottish themes such as; an Andy Murray McCoo, a series of forest paintings to reflect the seasons in Scotland Quality & Style In Ayrshire


Photo Credit | Martin Clark


and paint the mysterious, fictitious national animal of Scotland- the Unicorn! Steven hopes that 2017 will allow him to continue on with the charitable work that he has been involved with in 2016. “There seemed to always be a calling for doing something good. When you get the stories and the emails come back where people say about the joy they’re getting from the art, that’s the inspiration. I want the people that even if they don’t like it, it’ll make them smile and make them happy for that wee second and take them out of the nonsense that this planet goes through. For me it’s about making people happy, giving them a bit of joy. I think if I go up to the pearly gates and they say ‘did you bring joy in people’s life?’ And I can say of course I did, or I’d like to think I did because that’s one of my big things.” Steven Brown Art has been involved in several local charities, giving cash donations as well as signed originals to auction off; but the artist also admits he would like to do more to get involved instead of just handing over money. At the moment he regularly visits local schools to offer hints and tips to the kids, building up a relationship with them

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as he feels this is important to show them that being creative is an important aspect of schooling as well as everyday life. “I’d like to get more involved with the charities, rather than just like giving the cash out, we’d like to go round to the actual place and meet the people who are in there and see how the money goes into effect; so that’s what I need to do more of- just for me, nobody else but just for me. This first year has just been ridiculously unbelievable but I’m humbled by it, I’m totally blessed by it. And because I’m blessed by it, it just gives me the chance to do a lot more for charities. I strongly believe that I’m blessed because I’ve got a roof over my head, got gorgeous kids and a lovely wife, I’ve got two cars, I put food in my belly everyday- I’ve got more than enough. So there’s always someone who’s less fortunate than you and I think it’s our god given right to make sure that we look after these people.” It is clear that Steven is passionate about his art and the joy it brings to others, but perhaps this artist is even more passionate about practicing the art of giving.

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nternational Sports and Wild life Artist bring new life into one of Ayrshire’s iconic buildings. Elaine Johnston managed to secure the lease of The National Burn memorial Tower in Mauchline to use as a working studio and gallery for her work. It took a few months and a different kind of painting to get the inside of the building prepared to hang her large selection and sizes of paintings. Elaine Johnston was born in Glasgow and graduated with honours from Glasgow School of Art in 1997 with another 4 years as the understudy of prominent Scottish artist Peter Howson O.B.E, completing her art education with a further BA from the Royal Conservatoire in 2004. During her ongoing career she has specialized in both design and fine art. In these particular areas she has designed sets for opera and theatre worked with the Department of Trade and Industry, The British Embassy and the royal family of Monaco to name but a few. Amongst the various awards she has obtained are “The Young Achievers Award for Scotland” presented by the Queen at Buckingham Palace and

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Design For Diplomats presented by the then prime minister Tony Blair at Downing Street. Today this accomplished artist has settled in the village of Sorn in East Ayrshire where she finds inspiration from the stags and pheasants at Sorn Castle, cattle in the fields, to the hares at her own back door. Specializing in sport, wild life and rural animal oil paintings with a diverse range in scale from 5 inches to 5 meters this adaptable artists work is seen in galleries and homes worldwide. Embracing the strong rural subjects, Elaine also enjoys bringing to life the domestic animal in her commission work and gets great joy from capturing what the owner sees in their animal. Details of how you can commission the artist, buy a painting, fine art print or her home ware collection can be found on her web site or by visiting her in the newly opened Fine Art Gallery in Mauchline, KA5 5LQ. Opening time during the month of January will be appointment only but there after Tuesday to Friday 10.00am to 3pm and Saturday 10.00am to 4.00pm. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Start and grow your business with Business Gateway Ayrshire Business Gateway Ayrshire provides a comprehensive package of information and impartial advice designed to help start and develop your business. We also offer a programme of free workshops throughout Ayrshire covering the need-to-know of running your own business, including: Start Up Workshops Practical Bookkeeping Social Media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter/Hootsuite, Pinterest/Instagram) Digital Marketing (Strategy, Content, Search Engine Ranking, Paid-for Advertising) Manage Online Reviews Marketing for Growth Create Killer Graphics to Market your Business Blogging for Business Presenting with Confidence Networking Skills Networking Sessions

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obert was often drawn down to the harbour. The thriving community of Irvine offered many social opportunities, but there was a unique atmosphere down by the harbour-side. Rab and his new found friend Dick had shared more than a few beers that Friday night, finishing up once again at the Ship Inn, where they had laughed uproariously at the anecdotes of the proprietor. The night was too warm and inviting though to waste inside the pub, so they settled on a bench by the quayside. On a late August evening the sun had finally disappeared below the horizon, leaving a misty purple haze over the mud flats, and the island of Arran had merged into the blackness beyond. The breeze brought the unique aroma of the sea: part seaweed, part mackerel, mingling with the pipe smoke of a fisherman resting by his nets. The sounds of creaking timbers from the small craft moored by the wharf were occasionally interspersed with the lonely cry of a gannet. The malty flavour of ale on Rab’s palate was blending joyously with a generous measure of French brandy from Dick’s ever ready hip flask. In addition, though somewhat in contrast to the sounds and smells of the night, there mingled the raucous laughter and cheap scent of their two recently acquired lady companions. Rab and Dick’s acquaintance was recently formed but already strong, one of many friendships forged in the town of Irvine since the nineteen year old lad had come here to work. The older man had the rolling gait and confident air of a seaman, enhanced by a gold earring. Dick’s handsome young friend was stylishly dressed with rich, dark hair fashionably tied at the back, even features and intelligent deep brown eyes. The contrast with the young man’s previous rural life was marked, and the adjustment had not been an easy one, but he was determined to make his way in life. Rab had already written home to complain that his work was dreary and dirty, not to mention unhealthy, but the bustling town offered new horizons to whet his ambitions. When free from his labours Rab devoured books with the same enthusiasm that he devoured the good companionship of the young fellows and especially the young women in the

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community. His older friend Dick was full of stories of adventures at sea, travels to the West Indies and beyond, anecdotes describing exotic places and erotic women, a sea Captain’s tales to excite the imagination and open the horizons of the younger man. Meantime the two young ladies had giggled and staggered their way into fresh company, peeved that their temporary companions had become so engrossed in their own conversation. Perhaps it was the beauty of the evening, perhaps the magic of the location or the inspirational outlook from the harbour-side, but conversation between the two friends had moved on to Rab’s love of writing, his gift for expression in prose and in rhyme, his love of old songs. Having already had the chance to read and enjoy a few of his friend’s pieces, Dick felt ready to offer advice on what he saw in the young man as a unique talent for putting pen to paper, a way with words, a gift for expression extending well beyond the horizons of the small Ayrshire town. Rab’s scribbles till then had been on whatever scraps he could lay his hands on. But even though his father had seen to his son’s education, well beyond a level required to scrape a living in town or country, poetry and song were to him still no more than a hobby. Maybe it was the drink talking, but Captain Dick too had a love of the Scots language and in a brief moment of clarity said “You mustn’t squander this talent, Rab, you have ability well beyond your present narrow horizons, and in fact you must attempt to have your work published. You should share this talent for poetry, for you’ve shown me abilities beyond mere rhyme, and above all you possess an insight into humanity and a wisdom surpassing any man I have met in my worldly travels.” Over two centuries have passed since that August evening, What transpired that night proved to be a momentous conversation between those two young men, but that same harbour setting continues to serve as an inspiration and encouragement to folk from within and beyond this community in the same way that the words of Captain Richard Brown were to inspire and encourage that young poet, Robert Burns.

Quality & Style In Ayrshire


Photo Credit | Fraser Barbour - Opal-Studios


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riginating in India, Yoga has taken the world by storm and is enjoyed by millions from America to Ayrshire. At its essence it is a group of physical, mental and spiritual exercises that are taught by a very wide variety of schools across the globe. These days, most people will be familiar with Yoga in an exercise sense. Seen as an accessible and less intense form of exercise, it quickly spread like wild fire and is continuing to rise in popularity. Helping aid its popularity, at least in Ayrshire, is local instructor Carlo Ferroni. Carlo was born in Florence, Italy and has been living in Ayrshire for the past 20 years, where he initially discovered his love for Yoga. Starting in 2008 Carlo was in a very different place than he is today. Coming in to Yoga seemingly by chance, Carlo worked a stressful and time consuming IT job. As well as this he felt unfit and overweight which did not help issues he had with his hip at the time. After having hip replacement surgery and turning 50 years old, he decided to treat himself to a Freediving Course. Freediving being a sport that can be quite daunting (as it is much like scuba diving but without the use of scuba gear) Carlo decided to try and get fitter before taking part in this activity. After hearing that Yoga was a good exercise to help healing and strength after his hip replacement Carlo decided he would give it a go. Little did he know that it would be the start of something that would drastically change his life forever.

Yoga led Carlo on a track to vastly improving his fitness, shedding several pounds, dropping smoking as well as junk food and maintaining a vegan lifestyle. Before he knew it Carlo was a totally different man. He claims that this journey to good health made him feel more empathetic towards other people, which is when he started to pick up charity work. He began to work as a Samaritan, helping people out in their lowest moments and with his IT background he started helping out those with brain damage and other disabilities with their IT needs. Knowing that he could do more and fed up with the IT work he decided that he would try and help people in a way that incorporated his one true passion. He decided to become a Yoga instructor. Apprehensive at first due to how late in the game he picked up Yoga, Carlo went to his own instructor who pushed him to take the opportunity. After training at the Merchant City Yoga teaching school for a year Carlo graduated the course and was now a certified instructor. The stars seemed to align when Carlo was offered voluntary redundancy from his old place of work just as his gym was on the search for new instructors. Carlo jumped at the chance and from there his path was set. Although he had reached what some would describe as an already incredible goal, Carlo believed he still had a lot to learn and strived to do so. Travelling to India, the birthplace of Yoga, Carlo still believes himself to be a student who has merely scratched the surface of Yoga. Coming into Yoga from an exercise standpoint there are still a Quality & Style In Ayrshire


Photo Credit | Fraser Barbour - Opal-Studios


lot of mental, philosophical and spiritual aspects that some people might never touch on. These sort of things might seem daunting or off-putting to some and Carlo really strives to keep his classes open to all. Coming into Yoga later in life than the usual enthusiast might and reaching the level that he is now is an amazing goal to achieve but Carlo is adamant that he is not done yet. Wanting to help others the way Yoga helped him, Carlo is looking to help others from all walks of life with Yoga. With focus on outreach for those in need as Carlo believes that Yoga can help recovery be it with cancer patients, addiction or those with depression and anxiety. The calming and relaxing aspects of Yoga would be helpful for anyone going through a tough time and the health benefits on top are an appealing way to get people involved. Accessibility is something that Carlo pushes for in his classes. A true opportunity for anyone at any level of fitness to take part is something that can be quite difficult from other forms of exercise but Carlo

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maintains that as long as you can breathe, move and follow instructions then you can do Yoga. It’s here that the appeal lies and when you work with Carlo you know that he came from the same place when he discovered Yoga. He understands how hard it can be to maintain a healthy lifestyle and better yourself and through that understanding he can make your journey easier through his Yoga teachings. Carlo first discovered Yoga nine years ago and though he feels this has been a only a short period of time he comes highly recommended by many and has led classes for his original instructor Sheila Dickson in her Prestwick Studio, something he feels is a massive accomplishment and testament to his teaching skills. Carlo teaches classes every weekday all over Ayrshire, in Bannatynes in Ayr, Sheila Dickson Yoga Studio in Prestwick and St. Meddans Church in Troon. His classes are open to all levels of experience and ability as well as offering private classes. You can find more information on his classes at https://


Showroom 1 Tam’s Brig, Ayr Tel: 01292 269053 Web Email

Photo Credit | Fraser Barbour - Opal-Studios


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rom Washington DC to Kilmarnock Ayrshire, Lea Gilmore travels far for her craft. The American singer who hails from the Washington DC city of Baltimore has spent the past decade collaborating with Centre Stage in Kilmarnock. So what brings this influential and motivational singer to the bright lights of Ayrshire? “I first came to Scotland almost fourteen years ago when I was invited to participate in the Common Ground project. This project brings together musicians from all across the world and helps to unite communities. It was during this time, that I was introduced to Fiona McKenzie (of Centre Stage) and you could say the rest is history.” Centre Stage is the brain child of Ayrshire music and drama specialist, Fiona McKenzie, who was formally a teacher at Grange Academy. “ Fiona and I are like kindred spirits. We just hit it off as soon as we met. What Centre Stage does is so important for the local community. It gives the spirit of fun to those who don’t have it. As Fiona said to me it is all about the Fun, Food and Folk. That really is the essence of Centre Stage. Music is so powerful and can be used to unite people and it reaches out to people who are underserved. Centre Stage uses the arts to reach out to people. The arts humanise. There are no boundaries here. There is a common ground which is so important.” So what is it about Ayrshire that is so appealing to Lea? “Oh my goodness; the people. They are so warm and real. I have spent a lot of my youth in small towns in America, and I can identify with the communities here. People help each other and there is great sense of community which is important.

I have been fortunate to perform to many people from communities some of whom had never been to a live concert in their lives. Centre Stage is all about making possibilities happen. I spent my summers in small towns and I can relate to people from small towns here in Ayrshire. I don’t need to be performing in huge stadiums. I have done that. For me it is better to go to a small community. We did the ‘Emoja Gaelica’ concert here and this was a tremendous moment in my career. “ Lea is known for her eclectic blend of Gospel, Blues and Jazz and she has travelled the globe reaching out to communities using her music as a powerful tool for championing human rights. A graduate of Morgan State University with a degree in political science, Lea combines her music and her motivational speaking to represent people of all different groups. What is it that makes music so important to Lea and the message she is trying to communicate? “Music is so energising and it unites everyone. There are no boundaries with music. It is a common language. It doesn’t matter if you are black or white. We can all relate to the music. We don’t laugh in white, we don’t cry in black. Our souls are connected beyond the superficial we like to segregate ourselves with. We are united. We are the same. The music gives us hope. I like to come to places that will never see African American women and show them I am more than television. I am a mother. I am a friend. I work on several projects when I come to Centre Stage. I visit schools and talk to students. They Quality & Style In Ayrshire


Photo Credit | Fraser Barbour - Opal-Studios


show me so much. They are interested in social justice. I have the chance to speak to the LGBT group.” The 51 year old mother of two is passionate when talking about her involvement at Centre Stage and the important contribution it makes to the community. “Family is so important to me. I have made family here in Scotland. The people of Centre Stage are my family.” Lea has two grown up children, her first whom she had when she was just 18. “This was a defining moment in my life” she says. “My sons are my world. My sons are the biggest blessings to me. They made me go on.” It is clear when talking to Lea that music and family are the biggest loves in her life. She cites some of her greatest influences as Donna Washington, Whitney Houston and Mahalia Jackson. “I grew up with Donna Summer. My Dad listened to Mahalia Jackson and as I grew up I realised the importance of the music of my ancestors. People who had gone through so much. The music resonates around the world. I have gone around the world with the music. There are at least 2000 gospel choirs in Belgium and we work with choirs in both Italy and France. Gospel music is gut music. It is in your DNA.” So where did Lea get her burning desire and

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motivation from? “I think there is something within me; that drive. I grew up in a very conservative household and when I was at college I met gay and lesbian people and they became my friends. The light of activism was put on me when 11 of my friends died from Aids. I am all about changing people’s mind sets. I am very fortunate to be able to travel the world doing what I love. Maya Angelou (influential American poet) wrote a poem and the line is ‘I am the dream and the hope of the slave.’ I recognise that I am very privileged to be sitting here in Scotland as a black African American woman and I recognise how lucky I am. It is important for me to not waste my privilege and help others”. So what does Lea think about the current climate in the United States after the recent presidential election and the controversial police shootings across America? “It is deeply disturbing. As a mother of two black sons it scares me. The current climate in American makes me speechless. Silence is complicity. I believe that singing is an important way of communicating messages.” “I keep the faith that we can move forward and influence great change not only in America, but across the world. There is always hope. President Obama campaigned on hope and hope is everything. As long as I am above this ground, I am going to continue with hope.”

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Ayrshire College recently expanded its Marketing Team with the creation of two internship positions, further demonstrating its commitment to ‘Developing Ayrshire’s Young Workforce’.

We caught up with the pair to see how the first few months of their respective roles have gone.

The ‘Graphic Design’ and ‘Marketing & Events’ internships follow the College’s appointments of two apprentices in their Marketing and ICT departments.


Events intern Ada Konkolska, 22 from Glasgow, and Graphic Designer Steven Pirrie, 23 from Kilwinning, joined Ayrshire College on six-month internships that run until March 2017.

“This position is perfect for me because I’m constantly learning new skills,” Ada began. “I graduated in Events Management this June and was looking for an Events position to get

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my career started. I’ve worked on a lot of my own projects but have never worked in the public sector before - so it’s been nice to try out a different perspective. “I only started in October but already I’ve worked on a lot of different projects. “I started to help organise the graduation ceremonies straight away. That was fun to work on as I’d just participated in my own a few months before, so it was nice to see it from the other perspective! “I have also had the chance to work on my own project, which was the College’s ‘Respect’ campaign. This campaign encouraged students and staff members at Ayrshire College to respect each other, themselves, their environment and their community. “That was something that I was mainly responsible for myself, so it was quite good to get that responsibility at the beginning. “The latest event was the official opening of the new Kilmarnock Campus in December, which was opened by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. So there have been a number of different events.”

STEvEN PIRRIE GRAPHIC DESIGN INTERN Steven studied Graphic Design for Digital Media at university and saw the Ayrshire College position as an opportunity to develop further, after a year of freelance work. Steven said “I thought Ayrshire College was a very reputable brand to be associated with. There’s a lot of space for personal development, and I knew I’d be working on a lot of interesting projects here. “I’d been doing different freelance jobs for design companies and also had a one-month internship with G1. Working in the hospitality/entertainment industry was a great experience - I was working on lots of different promotional material for different bar and restaurant brands. “At the College I’ve recently worked on their student magazine, which was a big, 40-page project. It had its own challenges which were good to overcome. I’ve also been creating graphics for a lot of different platforms at the College, such as printed posters, web graphics and social media graphics. “I’ve worked on so many tasks that I can’t think of them all right now! Every day there’s something new to work on.”


Both Ada and Steven are quick to identify skills that they have improved upon during their time at the College - Ada citing the importance of remembering the most minor details when it comes to event planning, and Steven recognising his ability to juggle an ever increasing workload. The pair still have a few months left at Ayrshire College, and are in no hurry for their internships at the Kilmarnock Campus to finish. Ada said “I’ve not thought about March yet. “However, I know when this finishes I want to follow it up with another Events position. I’ve really enjoyed my time at Ayrshire College so far, so would be keen to continue down this path and develop my skills more. We’ll see what happens when the time comes.” Steven added “I want to work with interesting companies, interesting brands, and interesting people. I’ll continue to learn, and I’ll enjoy myself at work. That’s the main thing.”

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0300 303 0303 Quality & Style In Ayrshire

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Quality & Style In Ayrshire


Photographer| Peter Jaay Photography assistant | Anna Goral Models | Conor Young & Issy Johnstone @ Colours Modeling Agency Stylist| Kelly Cripps MUA| Kelly Cripps Hair | Kelly Cripps


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Our dedicated dry eye clinic uses the latest technology to examine, analyse and treat dry eye and

blepharitis. We have Keratograph K5 Dry Eye and Meibomian Gland analysis, TearLab Osmolarity Testing, InflammaDry, Digital Biomicroscopy and BlephEx available in practice. Our Optometrists will prescribe a treatment plan for your specific needs. Find out more by visiting: 01292 265493

5 Killoch Place, Ayr, KA7 2EA







According to Forbes Magazine athleisure is the fastest growing apparel market in the last decade. With the arrival of Ivy Park, collaborations between Kanye and Adidas or Alexander Wang and H&M, sportswear is now fashion led and designed to wear to the gym, work, socialising and beyond...... I’m a firm believer in look good, feel good. I always work out better when I’m dressed the part. So take advantage of your enthusiasm for your New Years resolutions and start building your beach body now in my top picks for yoga lovers, gym bunnies or those of you who like to sweat in style.





1. Double Layer Vest £16.00 RedHerring@Debenhams | 2.Active Leggings £28.00@RiverIsland | 3.Sports Top £22.00@ RiverIsland | 4.Yoga Towel £19.99@TKMaxx | 5.Sports Top £25.00NinebySavannah@Debenhams | 6.Sports Top £18.00@ RiverIsland | 7.Sports Bra £25.00@MarksandSpencers | 8. Shorts £20.00.NinebySavannah@Debenhams | 9.Running Leggings@MarksandSpencers | 10. Nike Beautiful X Powerful Air Huarache Trainers £110@JDSports

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10. 12.

11. Rose Gold Flex 2 Fitbit 79.99@Fitbit | 12.Rose Gold Trainer 24.99@H&M |13. Mesh Sports Top £10.00@Primark | 14.Wrap Over Top £28.00NinebySavannah@Debenhams | 15.Sports Legging £8.00@Primark | 16. Sweat Top £45.00 NinebySavannah@Debenhams

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ive your poor winter ravished skin a wee bit of TLC coming into the New Year. While it’s a given that plenty water, sleep and exercise works wonders on your skin, we wanted to give Maeve a welcome boost of hydration to bring her glow back. We prepped the skin with a clay mask to draw out impurities and give her a polished luminous finish. Try GlamGlow Flashmud - it contains light reflecting particles and an exfoliator to give you tight, bright skin in a flash....well 20 mins. I applied a generous layer of Lanolips 101 to her eyebrows, lips and eyelashes while her mask was setting to condition the hairs and boost hydration in her lips.


nce removed, we ramped up the almost sweaty glow with YSL Top Secrets Flash Radiance Skincare Brush. This wakens the skin for a healthy flush. For a natural look I covered any blemishes with a moveable concealer. Benefit’s Boi-ing is great and I swept more highlighter over her cheekbones, eyes and Cupid’s bow. The Glow highlighter from Top Shop is a gorgeous creamy consistency that you apply with your fingers or I like the Rosie for Autograph@ Marks and Spencer’s highlighting stick in Starstruck which you can run right along the cheekbone from the tube.

t would be a crying shame to cover up Maeve’s super glossy skin so a swipe of vivid lipstick is all that she needs. We picked a classic red orange. Top Shop Lips in Shazam is a true bold orange or try Stila Colour Balm Lipstick in Valentina for more red in your orange. Glossy skin needs glossy, wet brows. Maybelline Brow Drama has a dual mascara brush that lets you decide if you want drama or a more subtle finish. Give them a good brush up then set the hairs in place with the wand.... Gorgeous

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Photo Credit | Fiona Reid | Model |Maeve Smyth



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01475 674553

01560 482413

* NHS conditions apply

Quality & Style In Ayrshire





efore you read any further take a minute to think about this; Look at your clothes, do you love them?

If you won a holiday today, would you know where your passport was? Are you surrounded by things that make you happy? After the festivities of Christmas, the over indulgence that we work all year to justify, and before we celebrate the coming of the New Year, I like to take stock of what I have worked all year for, and what I want to achieve in the following 12 months. Resolutions are clichéd, but not unattainable. Goals should be set, dreams should be realised and January seems like a good place to start. Recently I started reading a book about tidying up (stay with me!) The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo – a Japanese organisation consultant, yes that’s a real job and yes her services cost a significant amount of Yen. The book aims to teach the philosophy of Konmari – the idea that decluttering your home will lead to a more successful and ultimately happier life. Mise en place, tidy space tidy mind, call it what you like, the idea that being tidy and organised is a good thing isn’t new and it’s an idea that I believe in, although have seldom lived by.

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Of the few steps on Kondo’s path to tidy organised enlightenment and de-cluttterisation, the two main actions are to discard and to arrange ie throw out your rubbish and find a place for the rest. The idea being that surrounding yourself with less stuff, knowing that everything you own brings you happiness and that those things have a place and a purpose allows your mind to focus on other things like experiences and thoughts. Going back to the questions I put to you earlier, I’m a real advocate for buying less but buying better. I truly think that good quality clothing is a luxury that everyone should aspire to and is completely affordable. How often have you bought a cheap umbrella, only for it to blow out by the end of the street? How many cheap clothes have you bought, only to wear once or twice, to then throw in the bin or donate to charity? There is another way; buy only what you love. Buy the absolute best materials you can find, leather shoes, cashmere or wool jumpers, raw denim; buy fewer quality pieces that you love and less cheap pieces that you buy frivolously and throw away with the same notion. Save up and curate your pieces, look for timeless classics that will stay with you for longer and ultimately bring you more joy whenever you look at them. So as you look to the year ahead, to the successes you want to achieve, the experiences you want to gain; firstly consider what you can live without.

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Bring the focus to your style. From everyday use to the seldom reader, frames can change your face from frumpy to fun in the matter of seconds. With more and more people opting for style over substance when it comes to their prescriptions, the choices are endless. Teaming up with our local opticians, Ayrshire Magazine offers you a selection of on-trend glasses to kick start the New Year and the new you!

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Murano- £199.00 | Swarovski - £171.95 Gucci - £165.95 | Jaguar - £184.95 Frames supplied & available from Black & Lizars Quality & Style In Ayrshire



Ray Ban - £130.00 Michael Kors - £182.00 Ray Ban - £130.00 Roberto Cavalli - £179.95

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Frames supplied & available from Bonellie Opticians


Tom Ford - £219.00 Tiffany - £265.00 Ray Ban - £135.00 Oakley - £219.00

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Tiffany - £229.00 | Tiffany - £191.00 Eyespace - £110.00 | Pro design - £150.00 Frames supplied & available from Orr & Simpson

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ith the new year comes the opportunity for a fresh start and with Business Gateway’s support you can achieve more in 2017 by launching your own venture. Business Gateway Ayrshire has a team of experts working across its three offices in Ayr, Irvine and Kilmarnock, offering one-to-one support, a fully funded workshop programme, a comprehensive online resource and an Information Service that has access to a wealth of invaluable market and industry intelligence. Ideally placed to help both new and existing business owners, Business Gateway is committed to focusing on the issues that local entrepreneurs face. Family business The 43 Latin Steak & Grill House based in Titchfield Street, Kilmarnock have benefited from a plethora of Business Gateway support which has helped them turn their Latin American restaurant into a firm favourite within the Ayrshire food scene. Run by husband and wife team Ujjwal and Sarita Karki and their nephew Sandip Adhikari who is Head Chef, the family wanted to provide a unique food offering in the town within a friendly environment. Both Ujjwal and Sandip worked in restaurants whilst Sarita had a career in customer service, but after moving to Kilmarnock from London they decided to combine their skills and experience to achieve their dream of opening their own eatery. Deciding on Latin and Mexican food as their choice of cuisine due to it being Sandip’s speciality, the trio have been overwhelmed by the response for their food which includes steaks, tacos and burritos.

Sarita said: “We were new to the town and therefore a little unsure of how to go about setting up The 43 Latin Steak & Grill House but the support and guidance we’ve had from Business Gateway has been fantastic. Our adviser Stacey has been friendly while supporting us and identifying areas that we needed to strengthen and making suggestions as to how we could ensure good footfall in what is a busy food scene in the area. “We also took took advantage of two specialist surgeries in marketing and social media to learn more and with Stacey’s help we were able to host a successful launch party which allowed us to network with other local business owners. Stacey has gone above and beyond what we expected from her and we really appreciate it. The Business Gateway team has left no stone unturned to provide us with help. Now, our aim for the company is to be well-known as a family friendly restaurant with great fresh food and great service.” Stacey Neville, Business Adviser, Business Gateway Ayrshire added: “Sarita and her family made it clear from our first meeting that they wanted to create a special experience for each customer. As well as one-to-one advice on a variety of business topics such as business planning, I also helped them with their launch night, introduced them to other local businesses and worked with Sarita on the layout and interior of the restaurant. As The 43 Latin Steak & Grill House develops, we will continue to work closely with Sarita and Ujjwal as they aim to grow.” To find out how Business Gateway Ayrshire can help you, visit or call 01292 616349 (South Ayrshire), 01294 449944 (North Ayrshire) or 01563 576987 (East Ayrshire).

Business Gateway Ayrshire is delivered by the Economic Development departments of the three local authority areas.




n challenging times companies need to ensure they have the competitive edge, with a welltrained, confident workforce, providing maximum production values. Employees should feel they are a valued resource, with recognised qualifications that offer them self-esteem and transferrable skills. JB Management has developed a reputation for delivering industry led qualifications that fulfil both these briefs. With over 20 years’ experience, JB Management had Identified a need for industry-recognised qualifications and, in delivering these has forged a reputation for excellent customer service, quality and entrepreneurial innovation: an all-embracing strategy designed to deliver well qualified employees to support ambitious employers. This is reflected in the glowing tributes the organisation has received, the recommendations they have enjoyed and the repeat business they have secured Leading from the front is Bill Ure’s style and he and his team have been instrumental in developing work-based qualifications in conjunction with the lead bodies of major industries. In addition, Bill has also participated in the establishment of equivalences between work-based and academic qualifications. Offering qualifications from level 2 to level 5 N/SVQ’s as well as Modern Apprenticeships, the company has developed partnerships within various industries including construction, logistics, nuclear and oil and gas, as well as the financial and commercial sector.

As a national contractor with Skills Development Scotland, JB Management offers Modern Apprenticeships that can attract Government funding for all age groups. Given that the qualifications are delivered in the workplace with the minimum disruption to busy schedules, this is a Win-Win situation for all. JB Management also offers a range of courses and qualifications on a commercial basis throughout the UK and globally. To date there have been candidates in Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Libya These are exciting times at the JB Management headquarters in Ayr, as management and staff confidently face the future with the maxim: ’success breeds success’.

THE SCOTTISH CREDIT AND QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK This Framework diagram has been produced to show the mainstream Scottish qualifications already credit rated by SQA and HEIs. However, there are a diverse number of learning programmes on the Framework, which, due to the limitations of this format, cannot be represented here. For more information, please visit the SCQF website at to view the interactive version of the Framework or search the Database.

SCQF Levels

Qualifications of Higher Education Institutions



Doctoral Degree

Professional Apprenticeship


Masters Degree, Integrated Masters Degree, Post Graduate Diploma, Post Graduate Certificate

Professional Apprenticeship SVQ 5


Honours Degree, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate

Professional Apprenticeship

Bachelors / Ordinary Degree, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate

Technical Apprenticeship SVQ 4

Higher National Diploma

Diploma Of Higher Education

Technical Apprenticeship SVQ 4

Higher National Certificate

Certificate Of Higher Education

Modern Apprenticeship SVQ 3

SQA Qualifications

Professional Development Award

9 8 7

Advanced Higher, Awards, Scottish Baccalaureate


Higher, Awards, Skills for Work Higher

Modern Apprenticeship SVQ 3


National 5, Awards, Skills for Work National 5

Modern Apprenticeship SVQ 2


National 4, Awards, Skills for Work National 4


National 3, Awards, Skills for Work National 3


National 2, Awards


National 1, Awards

National Certificate

National Progression Award



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Suppliers and installers of exclusive fireplaces and stoves Element Fires will help you create warmth and elegance with our expertise and exceptional style. Our exclusive range contains all styles of gas, solid fuel and electric fires and stoves along with beautiful fireplace surrounds on display at our distinctive Ayrshire premises. To find out more please come into our showroom or have a look at our website and book a free home visit today.


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COMFORT ZONE Local furniture manufacturer, Comfort, go big in Europe BY: MANDY MCDOUGALL


t was a big year for Ayrshire seating manufacturer, Comfort - climaxing at Germany’s largest commercial furniture trade event - ORGATEC. But there’s little time to relax and reflect as the Newmilns-based team launch their brand across Europe. Their metamorphosis from a small, familyrun business selling office seating in the UK, to a manufacturer distributing across the whole of Europe was ambitious to say the least but, with the support of an experienced team from across the office furniture and manufacturing sectors, the future looks rosy for this dynamic brand.

Comfort’s 324 m2 exhibition stand in Cologne was certainly a bold statement. Their familiar office chairs featured prominently in a combination of Comfort’s own mesh ranges combined with Scottish fabric manufacturer – Bute’s striking, contemporary tweeds. Expanding into a wider product offering for 2017, acoustic seating pods with smart lighting and adjustable neck support complemented their well-being at work message. A firm favourite at this year’s Orgatec, agile work trends inspired sit-stand desking and storage solutions, and demonstrated innovative technology integration.

Quality & Style In Ayrshire



Punchy upholstery also featured on their Elematrix soft seating and proved popular among vistors. A range of stools, tables, pods, hot desks and accessories created comfortable zones for informal meeting or relaxing. Luxurious leather and cowhide lounge seating also offered battle-weary visitors much-needed feet-up time. Particular focus was on Comfort’s flagship Ergohuman chair – now celebrating its 10th anniversary with over a million units sold. Their latest chairs to be launched – Genidia and Genidia Smart, also took centre stage, showcasing some of the most innovative technology on the market.

Comfort’s stand at Cologne CEO Gareth exhibiting soft-seating, Gillepsie desking, breakout area and lounge furnishings.

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CEO, Gareth Gillespie, is thrilled about what 2016 brought to the business: “Orgatec was a big deal for us. We were well known within the UK office furniture sector as a distributer of exceptional ergonomic seating, but we needed to make impact on the bigger stage and get the message out about our investment in both manufacturing and distribution across the whole of Europe.” To further celebrate their flagship chair Ergohuman’s tenth birthday, Comfort will be running special promotions and events. Comfort also look forward to launching their expanded furniture offering later in 2017.

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Quality & Style In Ayrshire



KILMARNOCK REMOVALS: Domestic Mover of the Year 2016


eed that Steinway piano shifted? Need that expensive leather sofa moved across international borders or, even, time zones? Moving house to a carefully selected suburb of London, Paris or, even, Sydney, Australia? Well, it’s now official Kilmarnock has the best removal firm to be found anywhere in Great Britain. But don’t just take my word for it. As well as appearing as a finalist in the BAR (British Association of Removers) Overseas Remover of the Year award, local firm Kilmarnock Removals Ltd, also beat off fierce competition from major rivals, Richard Healey Removals Ltd and the Squab Group, to win the prestigious Domestic Remover of the year award. The ceremony held in May, 2016 in London, confirmed Kilmarnock Removals (Internationals) Ltd as the best in the business. “To win Domestic Mover of the Year 2016 outright is a dream come true,” Matt Campbell, Kilmarnock Removals (International) Ltd’s Managing Director told the press after the company had secured Great Britain’s top removal award. “The award is testament to the dedication and hard work of a very loyal workforce, and it is their skill and expertise that is being rewarded.” His sentiments were echoed by fellow director Audrey Smillie. “We stressed it was a team effort,” she explained. “The workforce we have is mostly long term and it meant as much to them as it did to us.” Now based in West Netherton Street the company started life not too far away in Douglas Street in 1976. Kilmarnock Removals soon grew and began to build their success on a determined approach to the highest standards of service and getting the staffing right. “As a company we focus heavily on training,” Audrey Smillie confirmed. “We have clear training

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records and staff appraisals on every individual. We are also very focused on quality standards. In order to maintain these standards you have to be doing things right.” Add to this a strong desire among the team to get it right for every customer and to listen and learn from feedback good or bad and you have, as Kilmarnock Removals (International) Ltd have proved, a pretty good winning combination. The award was a welcome boost to a hard working local company in a challenging and difficult time. The fall-out from Brexit may yet affect the market for adversely, so there will be no time to rest on their success or let complacency creep in. Neither Matt Campbell nor Audrey Smillie would allow that, as they agree, from here they have to look to strengthen and grow their business. “We look forward to the year ahead as Domestic Mover of the Year winner 2016,” Matt Campbell said optimistically, adding : “And we will continue to give our valued customers the services they deserve.” There is a steely determination at the heart of everything Kilmarnock Removals (international) Ltd does. In just over 40 years they have achieved great things but there is still work to be done, improvements to be made and customers to be kept satisfied. Matt Campbell, Audrey Smillie and the team at Kilmarnock Removals are more than aware of that.




Photo Credit | Fraser Barbour - Opal-Studios


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icture the scene, December 31st, 2008…my new husband watches, slack jawed as I gut the house from top to bottom, do all the ironing, pay all the bills, clean the fridge, empty bins, make beds, the works. He’s confused when I tie an old carrier bag to the front door for any last bits of rubbish, primed to be slung out the house at 11.55pm (because you can’t have rubbish in the bins or dirty washing in the basket at the bells.) He opens cupboards to find them rammed with shortbread. He is not sure what he’s seeing, but then I’m Scottish and he’s a Lancashire lad. It’s our first New Year in our first home as man and wife and he’s just witnessed some of the mentalness of Hogmanay traditions. I thought this was all pretty standard stuff, but it was new to this English boy. Which in hindsight got me thinking, if he thought my behaviour was strange, what goes on the rest of the world? Grab your passport, get a little bag of nuts off the nearest member of cabin crew and lets do a global survey of weird and wonderful traditions… DENMARK Home to Lego, hygge (if you don’t know what it is, you’ll see A LOT of articles about it in 2017), pastries, excellent parenting approaches and a people of such cool, calm efficiency they come second only to our German friends. However, at New Year? 12 months of hygge hugs, cosiness and serenity gives way to unbridled crockery smashing. True story. However, don’t fret, if you wake up on New Year’s Day with half of next doors shattered Denby set on your doorstep, it’s a sign of love and affection. Just don’t go outside in bare feet and you’ll be grand. ITALY Piles of red knickers. Exactly what you’d expect from a nation of hot blooded lovers. Soon after Christmas, shops stock red undies (for guys and gals) and everyone buys some to wear on New Year’s Eve. This is notionally to bring them luck in the following year. Seems like a thinly veiled tradition to make way for New Year nookie to me, but who am I to argue with that notion? Do you think if I got some red spanx (hey, I’ve had two kids) and hung round Lake Como for long enough, George Clooney would eventually give in? Worth a shot I reckon. COLOMBIA Fancy a holiday in 2017? Then you need this Colombian tradition: on New Year’s Eve, grab a suitcase and run around your estate with it. This will ALLEGEDLY ensure you get that one week in Ibiza you were promising yourself. The act of

running round the block with empty luggage is supposed to guarantee you a year of travel. Here’s me stupidly saving money and checking out Trivago when I could go for a gentle jog with a rucksack on instead. Also, they wear yellow underwear for luck. Obviously this causes me some confusion given the Italians wear red. Perhaps I’ll split the difference on a pair of neon orange knickers in the hope this doubles my luck for the next 12 months…? PERU A number of preliminary days drinking followed by bare knuckle fighting? No, not a taxi rank at Hogmanay, this is ‘Takanakuy’ a Peruvian tradition of starting a new year fresh with no conflicts being carried into the next 12 months. I have to say I am pretty keen on this tradition. All those little slights that build up throughout the year? I’m not ignoring them anymore. I’m saving them up alllllllllll year, getting tanked up then going on a rampage. When I am inevitably picked up by the Police, I will claim Peruvian lineage and the right to practice the tradition of my homeland. Awesome. ECUADOR Following on from my Peruvian rampage, I am now in the mood for some light arson, so lets stop off in Ecuador! Here’s a country that likes to burn effigies to symbolise the passing of the year, dramatic stuff. Oh and they don’t stop there. The younger men dress up in REALLY trashy drag and trawl the streets to get cold, hard cash from strangers. They are representing the ‘Viudas’ – the widow of the year that is ending. I for one intend to contour up my other half to within an inch of his life, pop a wig on him and send him out onto the streets to earn me some cash. So I can buy orange pants and a rucksack (see: Colombia.) ROMANIA Farmers try to eavesdrop on their animals, believing that on New Year‘s Day, their animals will gain the power of speech. This isn’t technically a New Year’s Eve tradition, it’s just something really weird I discovered when researching this article. I felt compelled to tell you about it. So, whatever your traditions are, why not try out some new ones? I plan to see in 2017 with multicoloured underwear on, drunk and trying to fight people with my husband in full drag by my side. No different from 2016 actually. I might shake things up by going pig whispering though. Who’s with me? For more ramblings, parenting and excessive images of glasses of wine, find me on Instagram: one_tired_mutha Quality & Style In Ayrshire


The Design Studio, Cathcart House, 20 Cathcart Street Ayr, KA7 1BJ 102 Quality & Style In Ayrshire

01292 618277

From Concept To Completion Specialising in creating bespoke interiors & Lifestyle Rooms.

We believe that by changing your surroundings we can change & enhance how you live and use your home. Quality & Style In Ayrshire





nverclyde National Sports Training Centre has been inspiring sportspeople for over 60 years. Now, thanks to a £12 million investment from Scottish Government and sportscotland, the centre is once again set to become a leading venue for sports development in Scotland. The ethos behind Inverclyde is that everyone should have the opportunity to participate and progress in sport. The environment, facilities and expertise being developed at the centre will make this a reality. Set in the heart of North Ayrshire in the beautiful coastal town of Largs, Inverclyde will be the first residential sports centre of its kind in the UK, designed for inclusivity. Centre Principal, and long time Largs resident, John Kent, said: “When we set out to design the centre, we didn’t only think about sports. We thought about the people taking part in sports, too. “We considered every aspect of comfort, wellbeing, safety and access. “And now we are building a training facility that works for all our customers at every level and ability.” The centre is set on a wooded hill above the town and the floor to ceiling windows are designed to

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showcase the stunning views across to Arran and the Isle of Cumbrae, where Inverclyde’s sister centre, the sportscotland National Watersports Centre is based. The venue is suitable for sports events, conferences, award ceremonies, business meetings, coach education and development workshops, and community events. The existing sports hall and gymnastics hall have been refurbished, while brand new air conditioned fitness facilities have been added. There are additional sports facilities in The Weir 3G Indoor Hall and a wide range of outdoor sports are also available from football, rugby and hockey on our grass and 3G surfaces, to tennis and orienteering. The exceptional sports facilities are backed by outstanding accommodation and dining services. The 60 twin bedrooms have been designed with athletes’ needs in mind incorporating extra-long beds, more floor space for accessibility, and en-suite wet rooms. There will be a café/bar for informal dining, a licenced bar, a dining room for residential guests, and a patio area for when the Scottish weather allows for al fresco dining. Nutritionists at the sportscotland institute of sport are involved in


planning the meals so they will not only be delicious, using the best of Scotland’s larder and freshly made on-site, but will also meet the nutritional needs of athletes in training and competition. Work has also begun on a major redevelopment of the Bob Torrance School of Golf on site. Named after the legendary golf coach who lived in Largs and coached at the centre, the golf school has long been an important part of the facilities on offer at Inverclyde. Bob, known as the ‘Swing Doctor’ coached or advised some of the world’s best players including Ian Woosnam, Darren Clarke, Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, and Padraig Harrington – who even had his own room at the Torrance family home in Largs. Ryder Cup star Sam Torrance, who was coached by his father Bob, has welcomed the development: “It’s fantastic news to see sportscotland’s golf facility at Inverclyde National Sports Training Centre in Largs get the go-head for such an amazing face lift. “The facilities have always been good, but they will now be exceptional, and I know my dad would be very proud to know that the Centre where he spent so much time will be such a leading venue in golf coaching.” It’s a really exciting time for the team at Inverclyde and we can’t wait to show you our new centre in 2017. Bookings are now being taken for May 2017 onwards. Quality & Style In Ayrshire


Photo Credit | Andy Sokell


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he good news for Irvine is that Joe Affleck has opened a new boxing club in the town. Aiming to provide a comprehensive service to the young and old the gym is also looking to suit every pocket and to be as inclusive as possible. As an experienced boxer and coming from a family of prizefighters Joe Affleck has the pedigree to organise and operate a successful working gym. “The club provides different classes to suit most,” the owner told Ayrshire Magazine when we visited. “ These range from kids’ classes ( 6-10 year-olds) on a Monday and Wednesday 5pm to 6pm, amateur boxing classes for those who want to compete on Monday, Wednesday and Friday 6pm to 7.30 and boxing keep fit classes, Monday and Wednesday 7.30 to 8.30 for those who simply love training.” To meet everyone’s needs and pocket the club offers both a monthly and yearly memberships for people who want to use the gym’s facilities outwith the classes. To date, the club currently has seven amateur boxers carded and ready to fight. Two of these boxers have already tasted success winning the Western District Boxing Championships in November. For a club barely six months old this is a remarkable achievement. Impressively, the club has also taken two professionals under its wing. Seasoned professional Ryan Brawley a well-known Scottish fighter with only one loss in 18 outings and new and exciting professional prospect Jordan Beveridge who is already off to a winning start with a debut victory. Both will fight this year at the St Andrews Boxing Club now held in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow. “I’m from a boxing family,” Joe Affleck told Ayrshire Magazine proudly. “I was born into boxing, i’ve been involved in boxing all my life... boxing is my passion. I always expect 100 per cent from my fighters, and I always give them 100 per cent.” Who, is going to disagree with that? Quality & Style In Ayrshire


We have moved to Hartfield House, 1 Racecourse View, Ayr. 108 Quality & Style In Ayrshire



artfield House is a stylish period building and perfect for our dresses and bride to be. With an open view across Belleisle Park and the Belleisle and the Seafield golf course, private parking and an environment that gets you in an opulent mood, our new shop will make your search for the perfect dress a pleasure. We have new designs for 2017 and a meticulous alteration service available, ensuring you have the choices and flexibility you want when choosing your wedding dress. Bridesmaids are offered beautiful dresses in multiple colours. Simple or sophisticated we will make your dresses look and feel the very best it can so you can feel relaxed, confident and stunning on your wedding day. We promise the same attention to detail we have always provided, a friendly responsive service and years of experience to help and advise you on

what to consider for your perfect dress. We have provided dresses for hundreds of brides over the years and pride ourselves on our reputation for high quality dresses, impeccable service and professional alterations. Our new bridal lounge is a dream for us, a lovely light open space with great views shared with other services like hair and beauty and events management. We are confident you will enjoy the space and the choices we have. Ayr is a beautiful location making that search for a dress a day out too. The park offers wide spaces for kids and pets making it much easier to plan your time here. We have been searching for our perfect place after delivering for some wonderful brides from different locations, we think we’ve found it in Hartfield House. If your planning a wedding or just received a festive proposal get in touch to arrange a dedicated booking with us in 2017. We love providing the ultimate bridal dress, making the day as special as it can be, taking the stress out of finding your dream dress. Our passion truly is

01292 284 015

Alanasbridallounge Quality & Style In Ayrshire


Photo Credit |David Weir




enowned for its severe undulations and fiery putting surfaces, links golf can become a little tricky around the greens. Understanding how to use these undulations to your advantage can help you get out of a sticky situation and turn a bogey into an easy par. One of the most popular shots we teach at the Golf Academy is the Bump and Run shot. Here are some fundamentals to help ensure success time after time:SET-UP Wwwwhen setting up for this shot I want your feet close together which will allow your hips to rotate through the strike. Lean 60% of your weight on

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your lead leg with your lead toe open by roughly 30°. With the ball positioned slightly back in the stance, I want your hands a little higher at address to feel like you’re almost lifting the heel of the club off the ground, this will help create a more putting like pendulum motion to this swing ensuring a more consistent strike and outcome. CLUB CHOICE When playing the bump and run we can use any club from a pitching wedge up to a 7 iron. Understanding the amount of air time and ground time you need relative to your lading spot is essential to your club choice, for example, pitching wedge = roughly 50% air time 50% ground time whereas 7 iron = roughly 20% air time 80% ground time.


LANDING SPOT When playing any type of chip shot one of the most important aspects is to be able to pick a point on your line and land the ball on it. As a practice drill stand side on to your chip shot, place a ball in between the thumb and forefinger of your strong hand. Imagining your arm and hand is the club I want you to make a swinging motion towards the point you want your ball to land releasing the ball so it lands on that point, this will help build feel and visualisation. Then take the club you have chosen for this shot and you will find it much easier to repeat that motion time after time. To book a lesson on our world class short game area please call 01655 334 048 or alternatively email academy@ Quality & Style In Ayrshire


Youth Athlete Program

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Investing in Tomorrow’s Future ... Today! Ever wondered how hard Andy Murray, Ricky Burns and Colin McRae had to work to get where they are today? It’s not an easy journey nurturing the talent of tomorrow, but QTS are giving it their all.

As one of the biggest brands to invest in the UK Sporting Industry, QTS have made sure that their support is felt from the grassroots right up to premier league football clubs. The company never shy away from social responsibility and their Youth Athlete Program is a fantastic mechanism to develop the emerging sporting stars of tomorrow. Athletes competing in non-conventional sports tend to struggle in the face of adversity as the demand for financial support and costs they face are often too harsh for most to persevere with their dreams of becoming sporting heroes. The Youth Athlete program exists to support these very athletes. Think of it as a life line to athletes who have what it takes to become one of the best in their chosen sporting disciplines, but need that little bit of support to help them continue to train and compete. Currently, the program has nine athletes from various sporting disciplines, which include, Golf, Rallying, Snowboarding, Skiing, Boxing and Swimming. The ideology of the program is to support athletes in disciplines that are often overlooked by the masses with the objective of helping truly

talented stars, rise to the top. You can see on the opposite page just how broad a sporting range the program covers. As governing bodies struggle to cover all bases, private companies like QTS stepping up and creating initiatives like the Youth Athlete program makes a massive difference to these young sporting stars. Not only does it give them the chance to achieve their dreams and goals of sporting success, but it also makes sure that less well funded sports aren’t forgotten about. The Youth Athletes within the QTS Program are often supported by other brands or businesses that relate to their sport, and this is a massive step in the right direction for them as these brand relationships are going to crucial in their development and future success. It’s clear for all to see that the athletes have become a strong family unit within the QTS brand and one final note worth taking from this article is just how important and impactful these “Strategic Partnerships” can be for any business out there looking to make a difference.

Quality & Style In Ayrshire


Alyson McKechin Golfer

Alyson is a Scottish Ladies Tour professional golfer and it fast becoming one of the UK’s most successful female golfers. With big aims, keep your eyes peeled for Alyson at the Ricoh Female Open 2016.

Ben Kilner Half -Pipe Snowboarder

Ben Kilner is a halfpipe snowboarder. The 8x British Champion and world Cup bronze medallist has represented team GB at 2 winter games already. Ben has the 2018 Winter Games firmly in his grasp.

David Bilsland Freestyle / Stunt Skier

David is a freestyle stunt skier who defies gravity on a daily basis. He is currently competing in the European open and is hard in training to attain a place on Team GB for the 2018 Winter Games

Joe Ham


Boxer, Professional (Super Bantamweight)

Joe Ham is a Super Bantamweight boxer from Glasgow. Joe works hard to ensure he is at his physical peak. Still undefeted, Joe is aiming for boxing stardom. The 10 x Scottish Amateur Champion and 2 x British Amateur Champion has already achieved so much.

Nicole Ritchie

Kieran McMaster

Alpine Skier

Elite Senior Amateur Boxer

Kieran McMaster, is a Senior Amateur Boxer and is the current British Amateur Silver Blair Brown Rally Driver medalist. Kieran traveled worldwide Blair Brown, a representing BRC Rally driver Scotland. Kieran and hot tipped picked up the Gold up and comer medal and best bout is making a hue of the Lah Nimani name for himself Tournament in in the Rallying Kosovo, the gold in circuit. The Scottish Swedens King of the born champion I Ring and the Bronze currently the first Medal at the Youth driver to compete Commonwealth in M-sport world games. rally team Fiesta R2 Ecoboost.

Scott Quin

Parasport Swimmer, 100m Breaststroke

Ewan Moore Tennis Player

Ewan Moore, the former British Junior No.1 Tennis Player, has recently went pro and started competing the gentlemen’s rankings. With Wimbledon and the Australian open under his belt already, Ewan is aiming for his first appearance at the French and a return to Wimbledon in 2016.

Scott Quin holds the Paralympian record for SB14 category 100m breaststroke and won the silver medal in this event at the Paralympic Games in Rio 2016. He is the reigning IPC European champion and is ranked 2nd in the world in the same event. Scott holds the world’s best time in SB14 200m breaststroke.

Nicole is an Alpine Skier, competing hard to pull up her rankings and make her dream of competing in a winter games come true. This season has been great for her with her rankings breaking the top 10 in all of her disciplines with a 4th in the Slalom, 6th in the Giant Slalom and 9th in the Super G.

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Ayrshire Magazine - Number 14 - REJUVENATE issue  
Ayrshire Magazine - Number 14 - REJUVENATE issue