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21st February - 7th March 2014 | Ayrshire News 1

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21st Feb - 7th Mar 2014 | Issue 53 | Published by West of Scotland Media

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Just what is in that cigarette? A recent nationwide study into the trade of illegal tobacco has found evidence that trade in illicit tobacco and cigarettes is rife throughout Scotland, with an active black market blighting almost every part of the country.

A ‘test purchase’ exercise, whereby a team of trained ‘buyers’ use intelligence and information gained locally to identify locations and areas in which illegal tobacco is likely to be available for sale, was conducted across the country by former Scotland Yard Detective Chief Inspector Will O’Reilly.

The concerning findings come as the Scottish Government have committed to introduce plain packaging for tobacco products. Mr O’Reilly and his team conduct intelligence-led test purchases within a given area over a three-day period. These are performed by law-enforcement trained and experienced test purchasers. Continued on page 2

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2 Ayrshire News | 21st February - 7th March 2014 a barber shop, a mobile-phone shop, a takeaway, a betting shop, and a second-hand clothes shop.

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As illicit cigarettes retail at a fraction of the cost of legal equivalents profit margins are high for criminal gangs. HMRC’s Tobacco Tax Gap 2012-13 report estimates that the black market will deprive the UK Treasury of nearly £3bn in 2012-13. Indeed, £1bn of the total £10bn revenue loss since 2009-10 can be attributed to the illicit trade in Scotland.

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Detective Chief Inspector Will O’Reilly His latest research has uncovered a booming trade in illicit whites duty paid cigarettes smuggled into the UK - with brands such as Fest and Jin Ling easily obtainable throughout Scotland. Sizeable amounts of rollyour-own tobacco were also acquired. Three-day operations in a wide geographical range of areas of Scotland led to purchases of hundreds of packs and cartons of cigarettes, as well as tens of RYO pouches. The team found cigarettes for sale in many pubs, as well as at open-air markets, an ethnic food shop (stored in the meat section and in a refrigerator),

The illicit market is also completely unregulated. No point of sale regulation means that anyone can buy them and illicit cigarettes are often produced in unsanitary conditions; with past reports suggesting they contain anything from dead flies to human faeces.

It was also found that as much as half of all purchased hand rolled tobacco was purchased illegally. With the introduction of plain packaging it is expected the damning statistics will only get worse. Opponents of the Scottish Government’s plans say they would further assist the illicit trade by making counterfeiting easier and cheaper, as well as incentivising tobacco smuggling. Emerging evidence from Australia conducted by KPMG has shown a rise in the illicit

tobacco market to its highest recorded level following the introduction of plain packaging last year, but the Scottish Government have brazenly ignored its findings. It is forecast that the introduction of plain packaging – with the Scottish Government intending to legislate in 2014-15 would lead not only to closure of many smaller newsagents and convenience stores.

It was found that in Ayrshire Kilmarnock and Ayr to be precise, four packs of illegal cigarettes to roll your own tobacco, it was also discovered that it is organised crime in the majority of illicit transactions, The UDA being the supplier at the heart of the illegal cigarette and tobacco trade at the Ayr Sunday Market. It was reported that MS Intelligence, a Swiss based brand protection company had carried out surveys on discarded cigarette butts and horrifyingly discovered in counterfeit cigarettes, the remains of crushed flies, asbestos, mould and even human excrement.


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21st February - 7th March 2014 | Ayrshire News 3

Ground Breaking at West Langlands The official ground breaking at East Ayrshire Council’s £4m West Langlands Street development site has taken place, marking the start of an ambitious housing project in the heart of Kilmarnock town centre. Part of the Council’s extensive town centre house building programme, the former cattle market site will accommodate 39 beautiful, new affordable homes comprising a mix of accessible accommodation and larger family homes. The site will provide one and two bedroom flats, three bedroom family homes, three bedroom homes suitable for wheelchair users and homes designed specifically for older people. Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council was joined by Depute Leader and fellow local member for Kilmarnock West & Crosshouse, Councillor Tom Cook for the official ground breaking. He said: “The West Langlands Street site is a key part of the Council’s Strategic Local Programme which will see over 200 affordable homes being built in town centres throughout East Ayrshire fulfilling our objective to promote town centre living and in turn aid town centre regeneration.” “The West Langlands Street site is steeped in history. The former cattle market is just metres away from


If you love Madness you would be insane to miss it.

Michael McDaid

That’s the message from Ayr Gaiety as the theatre prepares to stage a sensational extravaganza of music and fun on Friday, February 28.

(LtoR) Peter Shepherd, Jamie McLean and Stevie Cassells from Mactaggart & Mickel Contracts with Cllrs Douglas Reid & Tom Cook, Gerry Darroch, Head of Housing & John Thompson from Corporate Infrastructure.

Andrew Barclay’s Caledonia Works, and the whole area was at one time a thriving industrial scene. Demolished in 2009, the cattle market site is set to be bustling once again. With easy access to the town centre, the train station and bus station, these homes are going to provide a vital lifeline to some of our most vulnerable residents while at the same time helping to regenerate a key part of our town.” Built in partnership with Mactaggart & Mickel, a large private housing developer, and supported by funding from the Scottish Government, work commenced

on site last November. The homes are due for completion in May 2015. Peter Shepherd, director at Mactaggart & Mickel Contracts, said: “We have been delivering developments in partnership with local authorities and housing associations for a number of years and are well-versed in the need to offer value for money without compromising on quality. We hope that these much needed affordable homes at West Langlands Street will have a positive impact on the residents when complete, offering them comfortable energy efficient homes.”

Complete Madness are the UK’s leading Madness tribute act and this five-piece band will take you on a musical journey through the story of one of Britain’s most memorably visual and fun bands. Complete with crazy costumes, comedy and chirpy banter, Complete Madness invite you to their ‘House of Fun’. Featuring all the favourites like ‘Baggy Trousers’, ‘One Step Beyond’, ‘It Must Be Love’ and ‘Driving In My Car’, this highly visual and energetic show is a riot from beginning to end. Complete Madness were formed in 1994 out of a band called ‘Beat The System’ which itself was born in 1989 with original members Mark Keegan (lead vocalist) and Derek

Wood (guitarist) who are still with Complete Madness today. Also in the line-up are Dan Johnson (saxophone), David Potter (keyboard and vocals) and drummer Jeff Thomson. Complete Madness have performed in venues around the world including the Cork Jazz Festival between 1996 and 2005 winning rave reviews and have played more than 60 theatres over the last few years. Complete Madness are now in their 20th year and each year go from strength to strength, adding new songs to the set such as a Ska version of Bruno Mars’ ‘The Lazy Song’ and Paulo Nutini’s Ska hit ’10 by 10′. Tickets: £19.50 / £18.50 (conc) Online bookings are subject to a £2 booking fee per transaction. Visit for more information or call 01292 288235

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4 Ayrshire News | 21st February - 7th March 2014

Second local action plan

unites communities Exciting; morale-boosting; welcoming; encouraging and supportive - just a few of the buzz words being used by people from the communities of Logan, Lugar and Cronberry when they gathered last weekend to officially launch their local action plan. The Logan, Lugar and Cronberry community-led action plan is the second plan to be launched in recent weeks and is the culmination of months of hard work by the local steering group. The Logan, Lugar and Cronberry community is one of several areas in East Ayrshire to benefit from funding from the Ayrshire Leader Rural 21 Programme which seek to transform 21 local communities across Ayrshire.

Members of the community have participated in a short term local area planning programme which provided them with the skills and confidence to take a more pro-active role in shaping the future of their community. The plan sets out the community’s shared vision for the next five years: By working together Logan, Lugar and Cronberry will be a community that is vibrant, clean and safe for all ages to work in, live in or visit. We will utilise out local heritage and environment to encourage a thriving economy and make this a place we can be proud of. Following an extensive consultation across the three villages, a number of priorities were identified. Top of the list is a desire to preserve the peaceful and safe aspects of their community; promote the community spirit and friendliness which already

exists; enhance the appearance of the villages and improve the range of facilities and activities available to young people. Looking forward, the community plans to develop more community events; create more activities for young people; tackle empty and derelict buildings; improve play areas; create safer walking and cycling routes and develop social enterprise to create more jobs locally. Brian Broadley, Steering Group Representative said: “This process has brought areas of the community together that have never worked together in the past. It’s encouraging to meet other people and share ideas - we have learned more about our community as a result.”

we now feel integrated and we are encouraging more people to join together. The people we have met are welcoming and very supportive of the process; it has helped boost morale.”

Katrina Stevenson, Steering Group Representative said: “Living in Cronberry, you feel isolated, however

Callum Maxwell, Education Manager said: “Pupils and staff of Logan Primary School are really excited

about the opportunity to be at the heart of the Community Led Action Plan.” Local



Stephanie Primrose, Jim Roberts and Neil McGhee attended the launch

event which took place at Logan Primary School last weekend.

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How long can you survive without your smartphone?

21st February - 7th March 2014 | Ayrshire News 5

Unicef has put together a new mobile experience project which will challenge smartphone users to put their phone down in order to help children across the world who don’t have access to clean drinking water. By

The “Unicef Tap Project” which is now in its seventh year asks concerned smartphone users to visit their site which tracks through the motion sensors in your smartphone whether or not you are using the device. For every minute you don’t touch your phone Unicef’s sponsors, which include Giorgio Armani, will donate

enough clean water and supplies to give a child clean drinking water for a day. From the website:“The Unicef Tap Project invites you to go without your phone to help children in need of clean water. Are you up for the challenge? For every minute you don’t touch your phone, our sponsors will fund one day of clean water for a

Michael McDaid

child in need. It’s that simple.” The Tap Project which has ran for seven years, has returned in a new guise through which users from all over the world can help deliver clean drinking water to those who are in desperate need. This years project which launched on February 14th aims to be the biggest yet with people from all over the world putting down

their smartphones for a little while to help children across the globe in some of the most impoverished regions.

die from diseases directly linked to unsafe water or a lack of basic sanitation facilities.”

Unicef: “Water is life. Yet 768 million people do not have access to safe, clean drinking water, and 2.5 billion people live without proper sanitation. When water is unsafe and sanitation non-existent, water can kill. Across the globe, every day, 1,400 children

To take part in the project visit www. on your phone or tablet while connected to the internet and see how long you can go without your device and help children world wide gain access to clean safe drinking water.

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6 Ayrshire News | 21st February - 7th March 2014

Calling All Budding “Curvettes”! Curves has helped millions of women get healthier with our 30 minute fitness solution. In just 30 minutes you work every major muscle group and burn up to 500 calories through a proven program of strength training, cardio and stretching. But we’ve always known that the best solution for weight loss requires a complete approach. You need exercise to boost your metabolism, a diet that starves fat and feeds muscle, and the encouragement and support necessary to stay on track. That’s why Curves has introduced Curves Complete - a complete program with exercise, diet, and coaching - all in one program, and all at one place.


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Let’s Go Fly A Kite

21st February - 7th March 2014 | Ayrshire News 7


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Chinese New Year was celebrated in style at Doon Academy, with the help of some Giant Pandas and a group of Turkish youngsters. The Dalmellington School and partners at Halit Ziya Usakligil School in Turkey have been working on a joint e-twinning project with the theme of ‘kites’ since October 2013. This encompasses maths, science - and learning about China, where kites originated. As a result of their developing interest in all things Chinese, the young Turks, with the encouragement of their Scottish pals, adopted the Chinese giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo – a first for a European school. Halit Ziya pupils led by teacher Bugra Inal raised funds to finance a one-year adoption package and Doon teacher Julia Preston helped them through the adoption process. Julia Preston said: “Many UK schools participate in animal adoption programmes, but I believe it’s the first time a school in Europe has become involved”. Pupils in the two schools communicate regularly via the internet and by post. A celebration of their work, in both countries, is updated regularly on both schools’ websites.

During a recent live video link to celebrate Chinese New Year, Edinburgh Zoo education officer Sandie Robb visited Doon Academy to help the youngsters on both sides of Europe learn more about the Giant Pandas. Also attending was Dr. Meryl James of Strathclyde University, who heads up the Confucius Institutes in Scottish Schools (CISS). She was keen to encourage links with China and to further develop learning about other languages and cultures.

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Doon Academy pupils helped the Turkish youngsters to understand Chinese New Year traditions dating back thousands of years, through games and activities during the live video link. Councillor Eoghann MacColl, Spokesperson for Lifelong Learning, said: “It’s fantastic that Doon Academy has forged such strong links with its partner school in Turkey through this successful e-twinning project. This form of global citizenship, giving young people real experience of other cultures, is exactly what Curriculum for Excellence is all about.”

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8 Ayrshire News | 21st February - 7th March 2014

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21st February - 7th March 2014 | Ayrshire News 9

Legacy project to get Scotland’s workforce active The nationwide ‘Fit in 14’ campaign, launched today by Commonwealth Games and Sport Minister Shona Robison, will encourage Scotland’s workplaces to get more active by making physical activity a part of their everyday lives. This campaign forms part of Scotland’s first ever national Physical Activity Implementation Plan, A More Active Scotland – Building a Legacy from the Commonwealth Games, which is published today. This year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow offers a unique opportunity to inspire Scots to become more active and create a lasting legacy and healthier nation. The reasons for tackling physical inactivity are compelling: It results in around 2,500 premature deaths in Scotland each day; Costs the NHS around £91 million annually and is the second biggest cause of mortality;

Being active can help prevent and treat more than 20 chronic diseases;

It is estimated that getting Scotland more active would increase life expectancy by more than a year. The Plan has been developed in consultation with NHS Health Scotland and other key partners and focuses around five areas: Environment, Workplace Settings, NHS & Social Care, Education Settings and Sport & Active Recreation, identifying key milestones within these for a 10 year period after the Games this summer. Organisations of all sizes across Scotland are being encouraged to get involved in the legacy campaign ‘Fit in 14’, with small and simple ways to improve the health and wellbeing of employees at the heart of the campaign. Ms Robison visited an Asda supermarket, the first company in Scotland to pledge its support to the programme. With more than 20,000 employees across the whole of Scotland including Ayrshire, Asda has committed to putting physical activity

on its health agenda and will work with ‘Fit in 14’ to develop a simple plan to encourage staff to improve their fitness.

Ms Robison said, “The Scottish Government is committed to increasing physical activity and we want to make Scotland a more active country by encouraging people to make physical activity a part of their everyday lives. It is well known that regular activity provides a great range of health benefits and makes people feel happier, less stressed and can add years of quality life. “The benefit of the ‘Fit in 14’ campaign is that we don’t expect people to run a marathon or join a gym, however small measures like taking the stairs instead of the lift, or going for a walk during lunch break are great steps forward towards a healthier lifestyle. “Furthermore, having a physically active workforce can also lead to 27 per cent fewer sick days, an average saving of £135 per employee. It also reduces workforce injuries and accidents by 25 per cent.

“Inactivity is the second biggest cause of death in Scotland, accounting for more than 2,500 deaths in Scotland alone each year. Our first ever Physical Activity Implementation Plan has key milestones and objectives identified for the next 10 years, and seeks to encourage Scots to enjoy more active and healthier lives.”

Feroz Pater, Head of People at Asda, said, “At Asda, we know that our people are one of our greatest assets and we are committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of more than 20,000 colleagues in Scotland. With a big year of sport ahead, including the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, 2014 is a perfect opportunity to encourage our colleagues and customers to make physical activity part of their daily life. “The ‘Fit in 14’ campaign will help us encourage colleagues to incorporate healthier practices into their daily

working life, by making just a few simple changes. “We’re looking forward to taking part and getting Asda Fit in 14.” For more information about how to get involved with ‘Fit in 14’ please visit The Physical Activity Implementation Plan – A More Active Scotland – Building a Legacy from the Commonwealth Games is available to download at

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10 Ayrshire News | 21st February - 7th March 2014

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Bookbug Sessions

in the Dick Institute Bookbug Sessions are fun, free sessions combining books, rhymes, singing and play. They are ideal for 0–4 year olds. The spring programme (Jan-Apr) begins the week commencing 6th January 2014. There will be 8 Bookbug Sessions held in the Dick Institute each week (except school holidays) - 4 drop-in sessions and 4 pre-booked sessions.

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To book a place in a Community Library please phone the library directly. This programme is subject to change at short notice depending on attendance.

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21st February - 7th March 2014 | Ayrshire News 11

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

‘Healthy mind in a healthy body’ could be the motto for Crosshouse Early Childhood Centre, as the young learners taking part covered both in one day. More than 100 children enjoyed a range of energetic sporting activities – and then settled down with their books. Taster athletics sessions were led by Active Schools Co-ordinators as part of the nursery’s build-up to its

Commonwealth Games topic and to encourage children to join in physical activity and sport. The tots took part in relay races, javelin throwing and the long jump. Children and parents also enjoyed sharing books, rhymes, singing and

games together, courtesy of fun sessions by Bookbug - part of the Scottish Book Trust, which promotes literature, reading and writing. All 65 children who attend Crosshouse ECC and 36 children from Onthank ECC who currently share the nursery

were involved in the day’s events.

Councillor Stephanie Primrose, Spokesperson for Lifelong Learning, said: “The youngsters clearly had a great time taking part in these varied and enjoyable activities – and I think their parents and teachers did too!

“It was particularly good to see colleagues from our Active Schools team leading athletics and games, as this forms a key part of the health and wellbeing curriculum for our youngest learners”. By

Ralph Smith

12 Ayrshire News | 21st February - 7th March 2014

Ramblers don’t mince 21st February - 7th March 2014 | Ayrshire News 13

their words

`The Scottish Government today launched their Physical Activity Implementation Plan called “A More Active Scotland-Building a Legacy from the Commonwealth Games” and the “fit in 14” campaign which aims to improve Scotland’s fitness during the workplace. 2014 Commonwealth Games legacy. We welcome the long term approach taken by the government for a 10-year plan with milestones after 1 year and 5 years. By 2024, Glasgow and other Scottish cities need to be as good as the best in Europe in terms of active travel, with walking or cycling being the easiest and the first choice for short journeys. Dave Morris, Director of Ramblers Scotland said: “We are very pleased to see the launch of ‘A More Active Scotland’ which is a key step in delivering the

However Dave Morris also highlights that without the correct budgetary realignment there will not be a noticeable change in Scotland’s fitness he said ““However, it is difficult to see how this step-change

in behaviour will be achieved without a similar fundamental change in the Scottish Government’s transport policy and budget. The current level of spending on walking and cycling, at around 1% of the transport budget, will not deliver the proposed increase in physical activity levels across the board.” Ramblers Scotland is the representative body for walkers in Scotland and is widely recognised by the sportscotland board, it has 6,300 members and nearly 60 local walking groups entirely run by volunteers. The Governments get fit initiative

was launched on the nineteenth of February by Shona Robison and she had this to say about the initiative “The Scottish Government is committed to increasing physical activity and we want to make Scotland a more active country by encouraging people to make physical activity a part of their everyday lives. It is well known that regular activity provides a great range of health benefits and makes people feel happier, less stressed and can add years of quality life.” But the head of Ramblers Scotland said that Councils across Ayrshire and Scotland should be trying to copy

Shona Robison Edinburgh’ s example “We would like to see the government emulate the City of Edinburgh Council’s commitment to 5% of its transport budget on active travel, with an increase of 1% year on year. It is only by this long term financial commitment that any real, accelerated change can be delivered, to the benefit of everyone’s health. “ By

G Kelly

14 Ayrshire News | 21st February - 7th March 2014

Ayrshire councils celebrate Ayrshire Hospice 25th anniversary

An Ayrshire wide celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Ayrshire Hospice, jointly hosted by North, South and East Ayrshire Councils, was held at the Walker Halls in Troon. The guests enjoyed an afternoon tea to mark the occasion. On behalf of the Ayrshire Councils South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie welcomed everyone to the reception to mark the outstanding achievements of the Ayrshire Hospice. North Ayrshire Schools Concert Band and the North Ayrshire Schools Senior Choir provided entertainment for the guests. South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie said: “25 years ago there was no Ayrshire Hospice and people across Ayrshire were working very hard to raise funds to establish the hospice. Since being established the hospice has grown physically, with facilities that we could only dream of many years ago. Importantly the main thing that has grown is its reputation for the care, attention and support it gives to

the people it cares for, their friends and families.” North Ayrshire Provost Joan Sturgeon said: “The Ayrshire Hospice is a wonderful facility which has earned the respect and gratitude of us all. I am delighted that the Ayrshire Hospice, in its special anniversary year, will share the proceeds of our gala Provost’s Civic Awards event in North Ayrshire next month. The people of North Ayrshire have taken the Ayrshire Hospice to heart in the 25 years since that long-held dream came to reality.” East Ayrshire Council Provost Jim Todd said: “It’s amazing to think that the Ayrshire Hospice has been providing such an incredible service for a quarter of a century now. Its main aim is to help people to live as actively as they can to the end of their lives - however long that may

be, wherever that may be. Because this care is provided at no cost to the patient the Hospice does require extensive, ongoing fundraising support so I would encourage people to get involved in any fundraising activities they can to help the Hospice to continue to deliver its outstanding work for many more years to come.” As a lasting reminder of the 25th anniversary of the Ayrshire the Ayrshire councils presented the hospice with a Quaich and a scroll. Mandy Yule, Chief Executive of the Ayrshire Hospice said: “We were very proud when North, South and East Ayrshire Council offered to host a civic reception in honour of our 25th anniversary this year. Since opening our doors in 1989, the hospice has gone from strength to strength and we have been privileged to provide

outstanding hospice care to almost 15,500 people with life-limiting illness, and their families, across Ayrshire over the last 25 years. Of course none of this would have been possible without the unfaltering support of a very compassionate and generous Ayrshire community and dedication of our wonderful employed and voluntary staff. Today’s civic reception is true recognition that, by working together, we can all make today matter”. A registered charity the Ayrshire Hospice provides outstanding quality care and services to adults with any life limiting illness across Ayrshire and Arran. This includes support and guidance for relatives, friends and colleagues of those using their services. The hospice has over 171 employed members of staff and over 800

voluntary staff, working together to deliver outstanding care and services to patients, families and carers across Ayrshire. In this 25th anniversary year more school children, community groups, businesses and other organisations large and small have been generously raising funds through everything from baking to biking, jogging to jam making, washing cars to washing dishes. Every penny raised is put to good use. Employees from the Ayrshire councils continue to support the Ayrshire Hospice with a range of fundraising events such as taking part in annual Go Purple Day, the Midnight Walk and by giving their time to support them.

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21st February - 7th March 2014 | Ayrshire News 15

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Unemployment in Scotland Falls 16 Ayrshire News | 21st February - 7th March 2014

Unemployment in Scotland has fallen in recent months according to a report by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released this month.

The report which covered the employment figures across the UK have indicated that the national employment rate of people between the ages of 16 and 64 has risen to 72.1% which is an increase of 0.6% on figures released this time last year.

Over 2013 Scotland saw the second largest increase in employment percentage points in the UK at a 2.0% increase, just behind wales at 2.1%. This falls into the national trend of decreasing unemployment with only a few exceptions in the north of England. With the ONS report stating “the underlying pattern suggests that all of the regions are showing a pattern of gradual decrease of the unemployment rate or are remaining stable.” The bulk of new Scottish jobs are being supplied by the engineering, customer service and energy production industries. This increase in the number of employed people is also being bolstered by the way in which business’ and local authorities are providing more and more opportunities for young people in the form of apprenticeship and training opportunities. The Commonwealth Games has also aided in the creation of much needed jobs in the construction sector but will continue to benefit the people of Scotland when the games begin with the creation of a large number of temporary jobs which will help young people in particular to gain much needed experience which potential full time employers are looking for. The Commonwealth Games has itself has injected around £187 million

into the Scottish economy and the job market already before their commencement. Steven Clark, Regional Manager for which keeps track of the most up to date employment figures as well as information on the competition level for jobs spoke about the ONS report saying:

“The job market in Scotland has gone from strength to strength as business confidence grows, with the engineering, customer service and energy industries leading the way. It’s great to see an improvement in youth employment, and signs that many companies are expanding their apprenticeship and training schemes. The Commonwealth Games in

Glasgow should also provide a lot of opportunity for jobs growth.” The Scottish job market is set for further improvements throughout the coming year with many business’ set to invest in Scottish industry and companies such as Scottish Water having already begun major investment in services which will increase the number of jobs

on offer. The implementation of apprenticeships by local councils is also allowing young people in Scotland to fill perceived skills gaps which will benefit the country and employment rates in the future.


Michael McDaid

21st February - 7th March 2014 | Ayrshire News 17

Celebrations as young people complete East Ayrshire apprenticeships The achievements of twenty young East Ayrshire people were cause for celebration at the Johnnie Walker Bond as East Ayrshire Council Leader, Douglas Reid, joined Chief Executive Fiona Lees and Chris McAleavey, Acting Executive Director of Neighbourhood Services to present SVQ certificates marking completion of their Modern Apprenticeships.

Apprentice Group The Modern Apprenticeships scheme which is available to anyone over the age of 16, offers paid employment to those on the course while studying for an SVQ, the scheme is supported by the Confederation of Business’ and Industry and the Trade Union Congress. Alongside practical training, those on the course also attend college and training courses in order to help build an understanding of the theory behind their work. The young people, all aged between 16 and 19 years old have been working for East Ayrshire Council as Modern

Apprentices for between one and four years, studying for SVQ levels 2,3 or 4 in a wide range of subjects. Two of the young apprentices gave presentations about their experiences. Josh Flanagan, who has now completed his SVQ Level 4. He has now secured a full time job with Infrastructure Support in East Ayrshire and is studying to gain an HNC which he is on course to complete in 2015. Ainsley Murphy gained an SVQ Level 2 in Business Administration and has now succeeded in finding full time employment as a Clerical Assistant in Finance and Corporate Support.

Both Josh and Ainsley were very positive about their experiences, and particularly the way in which taking on a Modern Apprenticeship had boosted their confidence, skills and helped them to learn and train while gaining real work experience. Josh who has now progressed onto studying for a HNC in computing systems said: “Attending college and working has allowed me to gain great knowledge within IT and allows me to transfer these skills into my college work and vise versa. I would like to thank the East Ayrshire Economic

Development Team for liaising with the college and making sure everything went smoothly in order for me to complete my SVQ.”

into the Council ready and able to learn and to see you all achieving worthwhile qualifications which will take you far in life.

For Catherine Burns, four years of hard work and dedication have also led to a full time job. She is now a time served joiner with an SVQ Level 3 to her name, working with Housing Asset Services.

Councillor Reid also went on to say: “As an employer we’re increasingly seeing the benefits in bringing young people into the workplace and using support to train and give them meaningful and permanent employment. We’re encouraging other local employers to do the same with the help of our Economic Development team whose support to young people and those who take them on and train them.”

Councillor Reid congratulated all the successful young people saying: “Looking round the room today we are very proud of all your achievements. It is very exciting to see a bunch of dedicated, hard working people come

18 Ayrshire News | 21st February - 7th March 2014






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21st February - 7th March 2014 | Ayrshire News 19


Feb - March - Still showing

The Lego Movie (TBC)

An ordinary LEGO minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together.

The Pirate Fairy (TBC)


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NT Live: War Horse - 27th February at 19.00 National Theatre’s original stage production of War Horse, broadcast live from London’s West End to cinemas. Based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel and adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford, War Horse takes audiences on a extraordinary journey and at its heart are astonishing life-size puppets, who bring breathing, galloping, charging horses to thrilling life on stage.

A former salsa prodigy attempts a comeback years after his career was ruined.

21st February Vampire Academy (TBC)

Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, half human/vampire, guardians of the Moroi, peaceful, mortal vampires living discretely within our world. Her legacy is to protect the Moroi from bloodthirsty, immortal Vampires, the Strigoi. This is her story.

The Monuments Men (12A)

An unlikely World War II platoon are tasked to rescue art masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their owners.

26th February The Book Thief(TBC)

While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. Under the stairs in her home, a Jewish refugee is being sheltered by her adoptive parents.

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Met Opera: Prince Igor 2014 - 1st March at 16.55 Borodin’s defining Russian epic, famous for its Polovtsian Dances, comes to the Met for the first time in nearly 100 years. Dmitri Tcherniakov’s new production is a brilliant psychological journey through the mind of its conflicted hero, with the founding of the Russian nation as the backdrop. Star bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov takes on the monumental title role, with Gianandrea Noseda conducting. NT Live: War Horse (Encore) - 13th March at 19.00 Met Opera: Werther 2014 - 15th March at 16.55 onas Kaufmann stars in the title role of Massenet’s sublime adaptation of Goethe’s revolutionary and tragic romance, opposite Sophie Koch as Charlotte. The new production is directed and designed by Richard Eyre and Rob Howell, the same team that created the Met’s recent hit staging of Carmen. Rising young maestro Alain Altinoglu conducts. Royal Ballet: Sleeping Beauty Live - 9th March at 19.15 Journey with The Royal Ballet to an enchanted world of princesses, fairy godmothers and magic spells in Petipa’s classic ballet.

28th February Non-Stop (TBC)

An air marshal springs into action during a transatlantic flight after receiving a series of text messages that put his fellow passengers at risk unless the airline transfers $150 million into an off-shore account.

7th March The Grand Budapest Hotel(TBC)

The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

300- Rise of an Empire (TBC)

Greek general Themistokles leads the charge against invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes and Artemisia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

28th March Captain America: The Winter Soldier (TBC)

Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.

Muppets Most Wanted (PG)

While on a grand world tour, The Muppets find themselves wrapped into an European jewel-heist caper headed by aKermit the Frog look-alike and his dastardly sidekick.

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20 Ayrshire News | 21st February - 7th March 2014

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival blends music to the mix By

One of the world’s most beloved Scotch whisky festivals is guaranteed to increase in size this year, as much like adding a bit of ice to your favourite whisky, the whisky festival is adding mouth-watering entertainment to the delight of the festival goers. The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival has launched the Spirit of Speyside Sessions- a unique world class music event that celebrates the areas rich traditional music heritage.

“The Sessions” as it will informally be known, will run in tandem with the festival beginning on the first of May and lasting until the fifth of the same month. Each of the events across the five days will be staged at whisky themed venues throughout the region, varying from distilleries, bars and even more off the wall ideas such as an event taking part in a vintage train. Each unique event adding to an already spectacular atmosphere with good

whisky and good music.

This being the Year of the Scottish Homecoming the festival wanted to make the event one to remember, the event also adding special music acts, comedians and even ceilidhs for those who are fond of a jig or two after a “wee dram.” Festival manager Mary Hemsworth says, “We are very excited to launch the Spirit of Speyside Sessions, a festival within the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. We have managed to pull out all the stops and have put together a packed schedule of events that really celebrate everything the region has to offer – whisky, food, music, community and heritage.” The festival since its inception in 1999 has grown from strength to strength and some of the names that are proud to be sponsors of the event are Diageo, Glenlivet, Forsyths, Glenfiddich and most of the Scotch Whisky industry. Mary Hemsworth chatted about this year’s festival within a festival and

her hopes for adding to the already huge success “It will be a showstopping part of the main festival’s programme, and over the coming years we hope it will grow to become one of the best traditional music festivals in the world. With so many fantastic artists that will appeal to music fans young and old, this major addition to our programme will open the whisky festival up to a whole new audience. By promoting variety within the festival we aim to increase the number of visitors to the area and as a result widen the economic benefit.”

The festival hopes to appeal to fans young and old, even for those people out there who aren’t too fond of a wee half or are too young to sample the drink on offer, there are still a variety of events on offer, traditional Scottish bands such as Old Blind Dogs and The Shee, as well as world renowned Ivor Novello winning musician Scott Matthew. There are famous Indie bands, side splitting comedians, some of Scotland’s leading folk artists,

James Kelly

Ceilidh bands and a whole host of amazing events for the entire family. Festival Chairman James Campbell commented, “The Spirit of Speyside Sessions offer a great programme of events that really showcases what Speyside has to offer, not only as an area that is synonymous with whisky, but as an area renowned for promoting great creative talent. By hosting events in some of the area’s most iconic venues we can ensure visitors enjoy an experience they won’t forget - from dancing the night away at the

Tomintoul Distillery to hopping on board the Folk Train on the Keith & Dufftown Heritage Railway.” So come along, enjoy a bit of Scottish history, distillery, and a whole host of fun and music (and maybe even a wee dram or two!) For more information or to purchase tickets Check Facebook and Twitter for day to day updates on the event or @spirt_speyside on Twitter.


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Ligeann Labhairt Gaidhlig: Lets Talk Gaelic!


Michael McDaid

21st February - 7th March 2014 | Ayrshire News 21 The Vibrant Communities group which is part of the East Ayrshire Council is organising a Gaelic Conversation Day as part of the Councils efforts to promote Gaelic language and culture in Ayrshire, the event will be based around the theme of the “Legacy of 2014” as this year is a cultural milestone for Scotland. The event which will take place on the 15th of March at the Boswell Community Centre in Auchinleck has been organized by the Vibrant Communities group and is being supported by the Council’s Department of Educational and Social Services. The event will be free of charge to East Ayrshire residents and secondary school pupils but a £10 fee will be asked of non-residents. This is due to the fact that the event which is held annually attracts people from both Ayrshire and the rest of Scotland, who will enjoy a tea and coffee reception as well as a delicious afternoon lunch. The Gaelic language is an important part of Ayrshire’s history as Carrick in South Ayrshire is known to be the last place in the Scottish lowlands where Gaelic was still widely spoken. Events such as this one are also important in the recent resurgence of interest in

the Gaelic language and culture since for the first time since the 1700’s the Gaelic language in Scotland’s decline has almost halted at 1.2% (58,652 speakers) of the population being bilingual speaking both English and Gaelic. While the majority of Gaelic speakers are to be found in the Highlands and the Outer Hebrides there are speakers of the language all over Scotland and events such as this one, allows speakers who are otherwise linguistically isolated to converse in Gaelic, something which they may not have the opportunity to do on a day to day basis. Gaelic in recent years has returned from obscurity, as the Scottish Government in 2005 signed the Gaelic Language Act bringing Gaelic back to the fore in the public consciousness. This is most visible in everyday life,

in the Gaelic language signs which can be found in train and bus stations. The act also set up the Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG) which is responsible for “securing the status of the Gaelic language as an official language of Scotland” the board has statutory powers to enforce Gaelic language provision and is also working on the improvement of services for Gaelic language education in schools and for Gaelic speakers. If you are interested in attending the event in the Boswell Centre at Auchileck on Saturday the 15th of March more details can be obtained from Vibrant Communities. You can contact them by phone at 01563 576705 and via email at vibrantcommunities@east-ayrshire. The closing date for registration is on Friday 7th of March.

22 Ayrshire News | 21st February - 7th March 2014

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21st February - 7th March 2014 | Ayrshire News 23


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24 Ayrshire News | 21st February - 7th March 2014

Star Signs

Joan Charles

I am delighted to be delivering your stars although; I won’t be doing them in the traditional way, as I am not an astrologer. For many years I have provided the stars using Tarot cards and that is what I will be doing here so, I guess in a sense they should be called, Taroscopes. Anyway, I do hope you enjoy what the cards have to say.


There is nothing wrong with dreams and ambitions, it only runs into problems when you stop trying and allow it to take control and get you down. Everything is achievable with the correct attitude so, perhaps its time for a mind spring clean.


There are occasions when you cannot escape the need to open up and discuss situations that are happening in order to put them right. No one said it would be easy however there could be a sense of relief when you get to the bottom of things.


The fact that you are eloquent in the art of communication means that you can put things over in a way that is understandable for others on any level to achieve what you want. This could work to your advantage over the week ahead.


You could find yourself focused on time as you may be trying to get so much done at once. The key to this is organisation and making sure that you allocate whatever time is necessary for things and allow some you time as well.


Liking the good things in life could cause you some issues where finances are concerned so go cautiously when spending or investing making sure that you have things balanced - being in the red is not where you want to be.


They say pride comes before a fall: just be aware not to let it get in the way of your overall happiness as this is far more important in the long run. Sometimes you need to be the bigger person in a situation.


When things don’t go your way don’t give up, there is always something better around the corner and it’s all a matter of focusing on the things you do want to bring them closer to you. Maybe not getting something is a blessing in disguise.


Your intuition could be working at an all time high and trying to point you in the right direction. I sense this could link to something that is family related that you have been thinking about for a while now.


That happy wanderer side of you is itching to be on the move and sunnier climates beckon. It might not matter where you head off to as long as you have something to look forward to that’s what matters.


I feel Lady Luck could be on your side and things happen out of the blue, which is always an even better surprise. Make the most of this phase as they don’t come round very often and who knows what exciting things it’s bringing to you.

One Woman’s Story of Realisation Gratitude & the Inca Trail

By Fiona Gilroy

As Erma Bombeck would say “If Life Is A Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing In the Pits?” That is where my story begins, with me in the pits …… actually No! I was 10 years old full of the joys and opportunities like a shiny new penny. So my infatuation started with a book report about the Incas and that was it for me, my love affair began right there. The mystery of the structures and gold – okay tell me what 10 year old girl would not be impressed by sparkly, shiny things, the Nazca lines, mummies and the Inca trails are a lot to be impressed by.

Anyway I digress, so as I said, life was challenging to say the least, if it could go wrong it did and in the middle of this demolition site that was my life, my friend Dawn announced she was going to do the Inca trail for charity. So here in the darkest of times is a shimmering opportunity – so I grab it and go. Landing in Cusco airport with butterflies in my stomach and heart quivering in excitement, I realise my lungs that I usually ignore are struggling - it’s like lying in bed with a small child sitting on your chest and it took a couple of days to acclimatise, before the journey began, via a bus, foot and then the checkpoint to crossing the bridge. Crossing that bridge was such a rush, it didn’t even matter that I had a chest infection; I was there in a place I have only ever dreamed of, I was euphoric. It was the rainy season, the sounds of the

As we started off the tunnel vision of Hernan’s (my guide) feet kept me going and less than 25 feet later, I remembered my beautiful boys and although they are grown up, I am all that they have, it was actually the thought of them that kept me going even though, I was full of rage, anger at my frailties, isolation and pumped full of medication the descent began. Full of devastation I felt defeated, humiliation, internal rage and loss – literally I was heart broken. Back into the Cloud Forrest we went, the steroids having taken affect, I had to stop and answer a call of nature. While sitting there I stopped being angry, alone in this beautiful place I was so grateful of the realisation that actually, regardless of my emotional feelings, I

am here in this place and how amazing is that.

Here in a place I have only ever dreamed of. Still heartbroken but starting to realise, I am alive, I am not alone. I am still loved and the universe has given guidance in the form of my earth angel Herman, he got me down that mountain and it was one of the best days of my life. I travelled by horse, the horse with no name that I called Saviour. When we returned to the starting point we couldn’t get a bus so we hitched a ride with a minivan going to market full of maize – the smell was amazing. It was pitch black and along a dirt road and was just Fantastic - then into a rickshaw to the train station where we realized, I didn’t have a passport – Hernan managed to get me through and I rejoined the group with my own unique story of challenge and I loved hearing theirs. In my time of need the Universe brought me a challenge that was unique to me a reminder that I am never alone. That love is everywhere, I just need to let go of my ego and all I need will be provided. For that I am truly grateful and to Hernan, Thank you.

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Concerns may surround emotions and those close to you and you will be there supporting you as much as you can. You could find it all blows over as quickly as it began but in the short term you will be keeping a watchful eye on it.

On entering the Cloud Forrest the moisture was like having a shower with your clothes on. As we came out of it my condition changed, the fluid building up in my lungs was increasing putting my lungs and heart at risk and I became medically unfit to continue. At that point I was advised to return to base, my ego declined, we were at 3800 meters-500 meter from Dead Woman’s Pass, the highest point but I could make that, it was only another 5 hour walking after all, and I have waited to do this since I was 10 years old.

Joan Charles


New plans could be on the horizon in terms of work and what you intend to do. I sense some kind of new learning will go hand in hand with what’s in your mind and knowing you it will all be carefully planned out.

swish, swish of our rain ponchos and the thud, thud of our footsteps as we moved along the trail became hypnotic - the sounds of ideal chatting, the noise of animals, birds and insect in the back ground and on top of all that, the views of breath taking scenery as we ascended the mountain were just out of this world.

Psychic development course in State of the Art Wigwams under a canopy of stars on 21st - 23rd March at Strathfillan. Tarot, Angel, Spiritual, Chakra and Tarumenology [a combination of tarot and numerology]

For details of any of the above contact Joan on Mob: 07930-697-229 Email:

21st February - 7th March 2014 | Ayrshire News 25

Book of Interest -

Free the Unicorn This book, which was written by Hugh Gilbert, has many interesting facts about how you can free yourself from the ties that bind and so well worth a read. Here is a short synopsis on the book to wet your appetite. “The Unicorn is a legendary animal resembling a white horse with a spiralling horn projecting from its forehead. First mentioned by the ancient Greeks it became the most powerful real or imaginary animal throughout the Middle Ages. Commonly described as a symbol of purity and grace, whose magical third eye horn had the power to purify poisoned water and to heal all sickness. Only just over a hundred years ago, belief in Unicorns existence was still widespread among historians; physicians; naturalists; theologians; writers; poets and alchemists!” [Google Definition]. What do you feel when you think of a Unicorn? Perhaps childhood thoughts of magic and mystery?

For many, a longing that they were once real is common. Now I want you to understand something. The symbolism of this playful magical Unicorn is actually feared by those who think they control you! This powerful healing and gentle creature is seen chained to the throne of England in royal coats of arms! Lions, Eagles, Wild Boars, etc are all present and free on heraldic crests, but the Unicorn alone is chained. Anything that needs to be chained must be deeply feared indeed. That sparkling, magical power of the chained Unicorn is indeed inside of you and the thought that you might remember this is what most terrifies

those who would control the world. “The Lies That Bind,” taught by society, are the chains. Society has deliberately created a “Chicken Coup For The Soul” [pun intended]. When you recognise this and see through these illusions, the power of the Unicorn within you will SWIFTLY return to your awareness and YOUR PROSPERITY IS GUARANTEED! “Every dream of success I had as a child has manifested, and every dream that I denied myself has been denied. Enjoy the proof of this statement and identify how the same pattern has played out for you. Set your sails on the path of true prosperity now and do not take a lifetime as I have done.”

Hypnosis & Weight Control

Josephine Mackenzie BSC (Hons) Psychology, PG Cert Clinical Hypnosis, Clinical Practitioner. MBPS MBSCH

Out with the old year and very much into the new and our thoughts turn to getting in shape and weight loss for the upcoming summer holidays.

Clinical hypnosis is a useful tool for stress management, goal setting and relaxation. It can also be an excellent addition to the range of professional techniques available to anyone working within the caring professions. Hypnosis creates a state of relaxation, the therapeutic component allows the patient to access positive states, stress reduction as well as enhancing the patient’s responsiveness to change. So, how does Clinical Hypnosis work? How does it enable us to lose weight painlessly? The reason so many people fail to lose weight or maintain weight loss is simple - they have not addressed the issues, which cause them to overeat in the first place. What happens is, they go back to their old habits and pile the pounds back on. There is a saying, ‘it’s not what we eat, but what’s eating us’ and it is the, self- loathing, feelings of hopelessness, helpless, worthless and lack of love. Many people are emotional eaters, they submerge their feelings and will instead eat any old thing that tastes good (and full of sugar) because food security and love are completely intertwined. I had a patient who had gone through a ‘Gastric Band’ surgery only to find that she was still dealing with ‘emotional eating’. She had taken

this drastic step to lose weight but her emotions had not been dealt with. Clinical hypnosis can help locate and redress our overeating issues. Re-programming the unconscious mind can change our relationship with food forever; the result of which is, losing weight and maintaining that weight loss through a change in the subconscious mind. A huge issue I find with overweight people is early programming whereby it was considered ‘a sin’ to waste food, as children we were forced to finish every scrap of food on the plate. Clinical hypnosis will remedy issues with reprogramming, teaching how to eat less, and that it is OK to actually leave food on the plate You begin to listen to your body and eat mindfully, paying attention to every mouthful and eating slowly, deliberately and enjoying every mouthful of good nutritious food. You will also have no desire for unhealthy sugary fattening foods because your unconscious mind will make those choices for you. In essence, most people know what they have to do to lose weight the therapist simply takes that knowledge from the conscious (aware) part of the mind where it is currently, and moves it to the back of their mind the (unconscious) part where it can become a habit. So all that we know we ‘should’ do to lose weight becomes a habit.

For more details / bookings contact Josephine on mob: 07976-124-488 Email:

“The Law of Attraction / Power of Positive Thinking as presented were deeply flawed. Stop Looking for, and following, the “next big thing” to come along, and realize that you ARE the next big thing. You can still instantly create the prosperity of everything you require in life no matter what your age or no matter what your current scenario in life.” “Follow my story, recognize and relish the proof that there MUST be a powerful, magical wizard, symbolized by society as the unicorn, deep with YOU that you have always known was there, but been afraid to recognize.” Hugh Gilbert

About Hugh: He is an Author, Lecturer, Researcher, Visionary, Physical Therapist, Consultant as well as an Ordained Minister of Spiritual Peacemaking specialising in conflict resolution. You can read an excerpt of the book at:

Shabby Cheap Cheapness

I’m going to talk you through revamping an outdated roller blind you feel is lacking in style and appeal.

By Dani

I started with a white blind that I had no use for and went onto EBay and typed in Vintage Dictionary Pictures.

There I found some lovely vintage images that are overlaid onto a 1920s dictionary in fact – there are loads to choose from so, depending on what you are into, this can give a unique and personal look to your item, flat or house. I laid my roller blind out and took 6 different pictures that I had no further use for - took a craft spray glue which you can get from craft shops and on the internet and onto the back of each picture I sprayed a little glue to stick them to the bottom of the blind leaving a 5cm gap between each picture. I then added Swarovski crystal nails in between each picture to add a little bling and finished off with a sliver ribbon to the line above and below the blind. This is just one idea, you could use anything such as: photos, old button, lace or net.

Definitely shop about - I bought each dictionary picture for £1,99 and added it to an old IKEA blind, which I bought for £6.

While out shopping today in a major high street retailer, I came across a framed vintage dictionary picture costing £25 but you can work your magic inexpensively by simply using your imagination.

The finished Blind

Vintage Art example

To have your old furniture revamped at a reasonable price contact Dani on: 07445-211-957 or check out Shabby Cheapness on Facebook

26 Ayrshire News | 21st February - 7th March 2014

Monumental Kirktonhall House needing desperate repair By

North Ayrshire and Arran MP Katy Clark visited the Kirktonhall in West Kilbride on 18th February to witness the decline of a historical masterpiece.

The Kirktonhall Creative Media Group are currently looking to source funding to renovate the historic building. Local MP Katy Clark was informed that with the building deteriorating at the current rate there is an urgent need for sourcing of funds. To help support renovation work and ensure the building has a long-term future celebrating its legendary past. Kirktonhall House has existed since the second part of the 17th century and is widely regarded as a masterpiece of construction; it also happened to be the house in which acclaimed mathematician Robert Simpson was born. Simpson who led the way in critiquing

Richard Parker

and analysing many of the world’s earliest mathematic theories and dedicated much of his life to uncovering the works of the greats of the mathematic world. He was considered the brightest mind of his time throughout the seventeenth century.

After studying in London he returned to Scotland were he took up professorship at Glasgow University and he held the position for half a century. Speaking after the visit Katy Clark said, “It was good to get shown round the Kirktonhall to see first-hand how its condition has deteriorated since I

was last in the building when it was used by the credit union. The council are currently spending money, when required, to keep the building wind and water tight and to help with putting together a business case for a future use but with it not being used and maintained the condition of the building is getting worse rapidly.”

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“In order to renovate the building and bring it back into use its needs to stripped right back and the feeling is that no commercial developer will be willing to do so as the margin for a return on their investment would be virtually non-existent. It is therefore likely that a community led project, such as the one proposed by the

Creative Media Group, looks like the only viable option.” “With the building deteriorating at a rapid pace there is a need for the project to make progress and source funding. I have intimated that I am happy to support them in their efforts in any way I possibly can.”

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No Sale Fees at Scottish Property Centre! Scottish Property Centre is excited to announce a “NO SALE FEE” promotion to the first forty (40) clients who market their property for sale. This is an incredible deal…No marketing or sale fee costs of any kind*! The average saving anticipated is approximately £2,000. Mark Higgins, Managing Director and one of the founding partners of Scottish Property Centre, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Kilmarnock office to our network, and excited to offer this “No Fees” promotion to the Kilmarnock public as a sign of our intent and commitment to being market leaders in this great Ayrshire town”. “The office is in a fantastic prime position on John Finnie Street and will significantly enhance the estate agency offering to the local community” Gregor Cope, Finance Director added: “ It is another indication of how we have grabbed the attention of well positioned, experienced operators who want to be part of an incredible story, and more importantly share in its success. The experience of Shona & Alan will ensure that people in the local community have the very best property knowledge available to them”. Since its launch on 3rd September 2012 the Scottish Property Centre network has grown to thirteen (13) offices and expects to achieve its initial target of fifteen (15) offices ahead of plan.

62 John Finnie Street, Kilmarnock KA1 1BS

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The network recently reported property sales in excess of £50m for the period January to December 2013 and has seen significant recruitment across its network of offices. The Kilmarnock office is under the ownership of Shona Barr and Alan Tulloch who join the network with significant experience in the

financial services marketplace. Shona & Alan are well recognised local business people and offer significant hands on expertise of the local and surrounding property market place. Mark Higgins and Gregor Cope and their four other board members have over 60 years

combined experience in estate agency, rentals and financial services, and have confidently dealt in property and finance through the best and worst market conditions. *T&Cs apply

28 Ayrshire News | 21st February - 7th March 2014



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21st February - 7th March 2014 | Ayrshire News 29

Smoking in Cars Legislation By


G Kelly

MP Katy Clark has called for government legislation in regards to banning smoking in cars, when accompanied by children. North Ayrshire MP Katy Clark has said that because of a recent vote in Parliament it is now essential that the safety of children should be more important than smoking a cigarette whilst driving.

The local MP spoke after a vote favoured the outright banning of smoking in vehicles and Ministers now have the power to ban it forthright. The vote passed in England and Wales from MP’s across all political spectrums and divides voted 376 in favour to 107 against. It is widely expected that the Government south of the border will pass the law banning smoking with

children in the car, sometime before the next General Election. General opinion being May 2015.

Katy Clark released this statement on the ruling coming from Westminster “I am pleased that Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to ban smoking in cars carrying in children in England & Wales. Research suggests that around 200,000 children are exposed to smoking in cars on an almost daily basis in the UK and that a single cigarette in a car can create concentrations of smoke eleven times greater than in a smoky pub. Adults, of course, are able to make an informed choice on whether or not to take such a risk. Children are not able to make such a choice however when an adult chooses to smoke in a car which they travel in.” Previous to the Parliamentary ruling Labour had proposed an amendment allowing ministers the power to regulate smoking in cars, effectively placing smoking with children in the car in the same category as not wearing a seatbelt. The Government thought it would be unenforceable and tried to oppose the amendment “with the Department of Health saying it did not think

legislation was the most effective way of stopping adults smoking in front of children in cars. This was reiterated in the Lords by Earl Howe, a health minister, who said it would be complex to police and the government preferred “behaviour change”. However, a coalition of Labour, Lib Dem and crossbench peers defeated the government, giving MPs the chance to make a final decision on the amendment in a further debate. At that point, Cameron’s spokesman said the prime minister was open to listening to the arguments. Ultimately MPs who thought legislation was a positive step defeated the Government’s negative stance. Katy Clark followed up her previous statement with a discussion about cancer rates and costs in Scotland “According to Cancer Research UK more than a third of cancer deaths in Scotland are caused by smoking and the cost of smoking to the people of Scotland is well over £1 billion a year. Now that Westminster has taken a lead on this measure essential to the health of our children I very much hope Holyrood will follow suit at the earliest opportunity.”

Green Motoring: No Longer An Oddity The Geneva International Motor Show was the first international motor show to dedicate an exhibition area specifically for vehicles powered by alternatives to petrol and by renewable energies: The Green Pavilion which began in 2009. Today, all the large manufacturers have included these low emission vehicles in their product lines. As a result, beginning last year, these vehicles have re-joined the stands of their respective brands, as they are no longer oddities but have become part of their mainstream offerings. Responding to the increasing demand for low emission vehicles, to the necessity to preserve the environment and to the introduction of CO2 emission regulations, automobile manufacturers are now in a race against each other to develop alternative energy technologies that achieve advances in both economy and ecology. In only six years the automobile industry has not only endured a major economic crisis but has also completely revised and adapted their products to satisfy the demands of automobile owners increasingly concerned about the environment. Within the framework of SwissEnergy, the platform of the Swiss government for the promotion of energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy, the Swiss national energy

office and the Geneva International Motor Show have produced a brochure that brings together all of the “green” vehicles being presented at the Show. Regardless of their means of propulsion, all of these vehicles that emit less than 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre will be listed in this publication. The threshold of 95 grams is lower in comparison with 2013. This figure corresponds to the average level of emissions that the European Union will impose on all new vehicles to be sold in 2021. Last year the threshold was fixed at 100 grams of CO2 per kilometre. Around 10% of the 900 vehicles presented at that Geneva Motor show were already below that level. This year more than 65 models or 7.2% of all the models presented will already qualify for the average emissions criteria set for new vehicles in 6 years’ time.


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30 Ayrshire News | 21st February - 7th March 2014

Eagle Eye: The Ryder Cup Review


Glasgow Speedway – the Fastest Family Fun in Town!

Welcome to my new column counting down to the 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September. It may be 7 months away but it is already the talk of clubhouses up and down the country.

Preparation for another action packed season of top class motorcycle speedway racing is now well under way as the Glasgow Tigers prepare to challenge for Premier League honours once again.

The Captains: USA

Tom Watson: The PGA of America pulled off a masterstroke recruiting “Kansas Tam”, adored by Scottish fans everywhere. However the crowd may not be so partisan when the game’s biggest gentleman tees of for the USA.


Paul McGinley is the players choice. The likeable Irishman has never been on a losing team as a player or vice captain. McGinley is sure to leave no stone unturned in his preparation and definitely deserves the captaincy. It’s also hoped that he can bring out the best in the often streaky Rory McIlroy.

The Key Players: USA

The marmite of golf, Mr Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods, may just bring his game face in respect and admiration of his captain. Phil Mickelson will again be inspired by a youthful partner on Friday and Saturday so don’t be surprised to see a partnership with the highly rated 20 yr old rookie Jordan Speith. The big hitting Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson can carry the ball further than most which will be a huge advantage.


As for the Europeans, expect the usual suspects of Poulter, Westwood, Rose, McIlroy and the resurgent Stenson. The short hitting Luke Donald needs a good start to the season. A recent change of coach has set him back a little and as such his form is a concern. To counteract the firepower of the Americans, Nicolas Colsaerts would boost the driving distance stats for Europe but like Donald , needs a good season.

The Course:

Is the Jack Nicklaus designed PGA Centenary layout the best course in Scotland? Absolutely not, but like Valhalla and Celtic Manor before it, it has been built as a “stadium course” for maximum spectator viewing. At 7088 yards it is the longest inland golf course in Scotland and if conditions are soft and the rain is coming down sideways the teams will have to play every yard of it.

Scot Watch:

Steven Gallacher had a perfect start to the 2014 season by successfully defending his desert crown in Dubai. His composure and patience that week will have impressed Captain McGinley, which may prove crucial in his chances for a place in the final 12.

Till next time, this is Eagle Eye signing off.

The Tigers who are based at the Ashfield Stadium in Springburn endured a dismal 2013 and have retained only two members of last season’s team in order to put forward a more competitive line up for the coming season. With Paisley’s James Grieves having hung up his boots at the end of a 23 year career, there are no Scots in the new look Tigers lineup, however the city will instead be represented by a team of international riders who will be sure to improve the Tigers standings this year in the Premier League of speedway racing. Competing across the length and breadth of the UK, the team hopes to capitalize on this new dynamic and make the Tigers a force to be reckoned with on the UK speedway circuit. Excitement is mounting amongst

the club’s supporters at the prospect of cheering on a new look team, which is sporting strong potential for league success when race action gets underway at the end of March. Leading the team will be German international Kevin Wolbert, who will be supported at the top end of the team by fan favourite, Theo Pijper of the Netherlands. Returning to the Tigers this season is the exciting young Anders Thomsen of Denmark who is competing with the Tigers for his second term, alongside Thomsen the team will have 3 Australian riders donning the Stripes for this season in the form of veteran rider Mark Lemon who will be accompanied by fellow countrymen Rusty Harrison and Joey Ringwood. The final rider joining the 2014 Tigers roster is the exciting 18 year old French ace Dimitri Berge who will make his British speedway debut with the Glasgow Tigers in the 2014 season. With much excitement, thrills and spills guaranteed on track at Ashfield, the club management is currently focusing on off track preparation and

is now actively looking to speak with businesses who may be interested in sponsorship and/or advertising. A club director commented: “Glasgow Speedway are the only form of professional motorsport in the City and the West of Scotland, we have supporters from all over the nation and are very much a family friendly sport. We are pretty unique in those respects and that offers any associated sponsors / advertisers many advantages in partnering with us. We would be delighted to hear from any companies who would be interested in discussing coming on board with us in 2014 and can assure them of our best attention and value for money at all times.” The Tigers season kicks off on the 28th of March ath 7:30pm with an air fence challenge against the Edinburgh Monarchs. More information about fixtures, events and the team can be found on their website at www.

21st February - 7th March 2014 | Ayrshire News 31



Image: Al Goold

Ed McGrane’s last-gasp equaliser set Braehead Clan on their way to a four-point weekend as they defeated Edinburgh Capitals on penalty shots on Sunday.The result, coupled with Saturday’s 3-1 win over Coventry Blaze keeps Ryan Finnerty’s men in second place as the race for the play-offs intensifies. Another 2,500 plus crowd crammed into Braehead Arena on Saturday as the Clan made it four home wins from their last five over a struggling Coventry team.Joel Champagne opened the scoring just over halfway into the second period before Lee Esders added another to give Braehead a two-goal lead early in the third session.

Clan netminder Kyle Jones had to leave the game early through injury and was replaced by Mike Will, who could do nothing about Adam Henrich pulling one back for the visitors. However Neil Trimm wrapped the points up with an empty net goal as Braehead restored the two-goal cushion to claim the points. On Sunday, Champagne and Trimm put the Glasgow side ahead at Murrayfield against the Edinburgh Capitals in the first period before Danny McIntyre began the fightback for the Capitals.

Curtis Leinweber notched a leveller for the Capitals as they drew level before the American found the net again to give his team the lead. But drama followed when McGrane equalised inside the final minute, as the Clan battled against a five-onthree powerplay, levelling the game in dramatic circumstances.With overtime failing to separate the teams, it was left to penalty shots and Joe Cullen finished the decisive penalty shot to win the game. Afterwards, Clan coach Ryan Finnerty said: “Any time you equalise in the last minute when you’re facing a fiveon-three is pretty special and some of us thought we were down and out.”

Mr Finnerty also went on to say “Ed popped up at a vital time and it breathed new life into us in what was a very tough game. I thought I’d seen everything in this sport until I saw what happened on Sunday.”

Clan Defenceman Chris Frank added: “We’re definitely happy about being in second place; it’s getting tighter and tighter for that top spot. The next month and a half is going to be a grind and it was a big two points for us. With the way the league is going right now, we were pretty happy to say the least.” Elsewhere, Brit trio Mike Will, Matt Haywood and Matt Towe have been called up to the preliminary Great Britain squad for the World Championships in Lithuania in April. For Will, he admits it was a surprise, but is looking forward to challenging one of his heroes for the chance to be on the flight to Vilnius in a couple of months. Saying: “I was surprised to get the call to be honest, but I always thought I had a chance when you look around the other goalies in the league. I was really excited when I was told I was being called up and it’s a dream come true to be involved with your national side.” Will also went on to explain how he is looking forward to challenging a childhood hero. “It’s especially exciting that I’ll get the chance to work with Stevie Lyle, the Swindon Wildcats goalie, who was a hero of mine growing up so I can’t wait.” By

Craig Anderson

Glasgow Rocks fall short against Newcastle Eagles, 66-74.

The Glasgow Rocks suffered a frustrating defeat at the hands of the Newcastle Eagles in front of more than 2000 home fans at the Emirates Arena, making it 5 losses in their last 6 league games. The Glasgow side came into the fixture needing a victory to give their aspirations of a playoff spot a boost. Unfortunately it was not to be, as the Eagles took command of the game early and were able to hold off a late charge from the Rocks as they secured a 66-74 point win. The visiting Newcastle Eagles started strongly and raced into an 18-11 lead by the end of the first quarter. It was looking ominous for the home side however, thanks to some inspired play from the Rocks big men Northern and Urli the Rocks pegged the Eagles back to 29-29 leading up to the halftime buzzer.

At that point Darius Defoe handed the Eagles the advantage with a pair of free-throws taking the score to 29-31, he probably didn’t expect his team to hold on to the lead for the remainder of the contest, but that is exactly how it panned out. The Eagles kept the Rocks at arms’ length during the second half, with the home side hindered by Daniel Northern getting into foul trouble. Down 62-52 with four minutes of the contest remaining, Rocks scored six points without reply to set up a nervy finale and the threat of an upset. However, the Eagles held firm and saw the game out from the free-throw line. Darius Defoe and Malik Cooke combined for an efficient 38 points for the victorious Eagles, whilst Daniel Northern (pictured) was excellent for the Rocks with a fine double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds. It was a double celebration for visiting player-coach Fab Flournoy who not only masterminded a hard-fought 6674 win against the Rocks but he also

Scotland To Face All Blacks In Sevens Tournament Of The Commonwealth Games.

set a new BBL appearance record of 541 games. The Glasgow Rocks will now prepare for a very difficult away double header on the 14th and 15th of February where they will face current league leaders Worcester Wolves and the ever-improving Plymouth Raiders. The Next Home game for the Rocks will take place on the 21st February, 7:30pm at the Emirates Arena. Tickets can be purchased for this fixture via the Rocks website.

The pools for for the sevens rugby tournament at the Commonwealth Games have been announced and it’s worrying news for Scotland. The boys in blue have been set to play against the defending champions from New Zealand in their opening match of the tournament.

other World Series regulars in Samoa, England, Kenya, Wales and Canada will be determined to challenge the dominance of the All Blacks

The four Pools confirmed by the International Rugby Board and Commonwealth Games Federation are:

Greg Warnecke, Head of Sport at Glasgow 2014 said: “Glasgow will welcome many of the world’s best Rugby Sevens nations to compete at the Games. The standard of competition will be world-class, the action is fastpaced and with all of the teams playing in each session of competition, it guarantees a feast of rugby action and a brilliant atmosphere all round.”

The All Blacks who have won the gold in the sevens rugby at every Commonwealth Games since 1998 will be facing off against Scotland in Pool A of the competition which will be taking place at Ibrox stadium over two days, Scotland will also be facing Canada and Nigeria in Pool A.

Pool A - New Zealand, Canada, Scotland, Nigeria

Pool B - South Africa, Kenya, Cook Islands, Trinidad & Tobago Pool C - Samoa, Wales, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia Pool D - England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Uganda

Delhi silver medallist Australia and bronze medallist South Africa are top seeds in pools D and B respectively, while

IRB Chairman, Bernard Lapasset, said: “For 16 years now Rugby Sevens has enjoyed being a key part of the Commonwealth Games. To compete alongside their compatriots in a multi-sport environment is a matter of huge pride and honour for our rugby players, who are making giant strides in this new Olympic era. We wish our Rugby athletes all the best in this magnificent international event.”


Michael McDaid

32 Ayrshire News | 21st February - 7th March 2014

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Commonwealth Games tickets? Going, going, nearly gone!

Organisers of the Commonwealth Games have been delighted with the demand for tickets. More than 92% percent of all tickets allocated to the general public have been sold. By G Kelly The remaining tickets are expected to be sold as the opening ceremony nears and anticipation reaches fever pitch for the event.

Almost the entire public ballot for tickets exceeded the tickets available and field, track cycling, diving and artistic gymnastics are completely sold out. More than 100,000 applications were made for the 100m men’s final, hoping to catch a glimpse of Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt.

The British Government have promised all international athletes tax exemption if they appear at Scotland’s Commonwealth Games and also the same tax break if they vouch to appear at the Sainsbury’s Grand Prix two weeks prior to the Commonwealth Games opening.

The problem with many of the largest earners in sport appearing in Britain for one off sporting events. Is the

amount of would be tax that they can end up paying due to the single appearance.

Tax rules in Britain mean that superstars such as Usain Bolt or even home grown stars such as F1 driver Lewis Hamilton pay tax on total global earnings, thus meaning that Usain Bolt would pay more tax than he could possibly earn for his one off appearance in Britain. With 90%percent of all tickets sold and the creation of as much as 30,000 jobs in Scotland thanks to the Commonwealth Games, adding to this 75% percent of all contracts have went to Scottish companies, generating nearly £250 million pounds for the economy. Of the tickets sold to date, 57% percent have been bought by people living in Scotland, with 40% percent going to people living in the rest of the UK whilst 3 percent have been sold to people living in non-

Commonwealth countries.

More than 60%percent of tickets were priced below £25 pounds and 22%percent of tickets were sold to the young and old (below 16 and above 60).

Having superstars such as Usain Bolt appearing will add to the feverish anticipation for Glasgow’s crowning

sporting glory in a year of sporting glory for Scotland. Chief Executive for 2014 Glasgow spoke of the anticipation leading up to the opening ceremony. “The demand for Glasgow 2014 tickets has been simply incredible and we want to thank everyone for their massive response to our invitation to be part of making Glasgow 2014 a great moment in sporting history.”

He continued “Already Glasgow 2014 can show it will deliver great home crowds and an impactful boost to tourism as we welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors to Glasgow in the year Scotland welcomes the world.”

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SPRING BREAKS ON THE ISLE OF ARRAN From just £50* per person, per night, bed & breakfast and from £65* per person, per night, dinner, bed & breakfast NO ADVANCE PAYMENT REQUIRED, PAY ON DEPARTURE

Book online at or call 01770 302 234

beware...auchrannie is addictive *Rate is based on 2 adults sharing a twin or double room in Auchrannie Spa resort or Auchrannie House Hotel. Rate includes accommodation, access to leisure facilities and meals as specified. The from rate displayed is the lowest price available on selected dates during March, April & May 2014. Not all dates will be available at this price. Children will incur an additional charge.

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