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Angus & The Mearns

Angus football fan fined after Facebook banter goes bad

April 28 2017

An Angus football fan launched a homophobic Facebook tirade against friends after “banter” turned sour. Liverpool FC supporter Jason Lindsay lost the plot on a social media comments thread following an English League Cup upset against Southampton on January 25 this year. The Montrose man had been using the site for “good-natured” discussion about the game on the day of the result. But the Tesco security guard “became enraged” two days later when Andrew Thain called him a “joker” and tagged in friend Scott Fleming. Depute fiscal Stewart Duncan said: “The accused had been part of a Facebook chat between fans following a football match. “This started off as friendly banter but became an argument.” The 45-year-old first offender referred to both men with sexually prejudiced terms. “Screenshots were taken and the matter was reported to the police,” Mr Duncan added. Defence agent Nick Markowski said his client had been very stressed when he made the comments and “bitterly regrets” having made them. “He’s in full-time employment and works for a retail store in Arbroath, as store security,” he said. “On the Wednesday night Liverpool were playing Southampton at the football. Unexpectedly, Southampton won. "Someone had made a comment on a conversation about it, tagging in Mr Lindsay, trying to get the rise out of him. “It was all banter, but on Friday someone had commented further, and he’s having an extremely stressful day at work, and he’s on his break. “He was getting a lot of grief from his manager. He saw someone had left a comment calling him a joker and he became enraged.” Saying that he wanted to “draw a line” under the matter, Sheriff Kevin Veal fined Lindsay £100. Lindsay, of Upper Craigo Street, Montrose admitted sending messages of grossly offensive and of an indecent, obscene or malicious character to Andrew Thain and Scott Fleming, which were aggravated by prejudice to sexual orientation on January 27 2017, while at Tesco in Arbroath and other locations, unknown to the fiscal.    

Angus & The Mearns

Terminally-ill man to stand trial accused of assaults on women

January 25 2017

A terminally-ill man is to stand trial over the alleged sexual assault of a woman on an Angus road. Martin Baxter, formerly of Broughty Ferry, is accused of carrying out an assault on the A92 in 2014 and an indecent attack on another woman in Broughty Ferry between 2005 and 2006. The 52-year-old is also charged with making sexual comments towards another two women, who cannot be named for legal reasons, between 2007 and 2010. Baxter attended an intermediate diet at Forfar Sheriff Court on Tuesday, at which his solicitor maintained not guilty pleas to all four charges on his behalf. Mr Hendry told the court his client would stand trial despite mobility issues caused by a terminal illness. "In respect of all charges, Mr Baxter pleads not guilty," he said. "If this matter does go to trial, Mr Baxter is terminally ill and has issues with mobility." A previous trial diet was deserted, and Baxter will appear at Forfar on February 10. Prosecutors allege that Baxter, of Wallace Crescent, Falkirk, sexually assaulted a woman on the A92 between Monifieth and Carnoustie, as well as other roads unknown to authorities, in that he touched her inner thigh over her clothing, rubbed her leg, handled and rubbed her private parts over her clothing, handled her breasts over her clothing, and handled and rubbed her naked breasts, and made sexual comments towards her on June 17 2014. Baxter is accused of indecently assaulting another woman in Broughty Ferry, and other unknown roads in Dundee, in that he made sexual remarks to her and handled her breast over her clothing between December 1 2005 and June 30 2006. It is also alleged that Baxter conducted himself in a disorderly manner and made inappropriate comments and comments of a sexual nature to the distress, upset and alarm of a third woman, and committed a breach of the peace in Broughty Ferry between August 1 2007 and March 7 2008. He faces a charge that he conducted himself in a disorderly manner by making inappropriate comments and comments of a sexual nature to a fourth woman to her distress, upset and alarm in Dundee between May 1 2010 and December 31 2010, and committed a breach of the peace.

Angus & The Mearns

World Angus Forum will witness Glamis Castle memorial’s unveiling

January 28 2017

The unveiling of a memorial to the founder of the Aberdeen-Angus cattle breed will be one of the highlights of an international event coming to Scotland. Hugh Watson began farming Aberdeen-Angus cattle in the 19th century near Newtyle, beginning a bloodline that has a reputation for its quality and character. The Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society, which champions the breed across the UK and Ireland from its base in Perth, has been given planning permission by Angus Council to build a granite memorial to Watson in the shadow of 14th-century Glamis Castle. Its unveiling will come at the end of the World Angus Forum, a four-yearly international conference of breeders and buyers. Forum co-ordinator Hazel Baxter said the event will come to Scotland for the first time in 40 years, between June 27 and July 2. “The forum takes place every four years around the world and is a huge event,” she said. “Each country has to tender for it and most of our representatives will come from abroad, from countries like America, Hungary, Estonia, Uruguay, Australia, and others. “Hugh Watson was one of the founders of the Aberdeen-Angus breed, based at Keillor. “We’re doing a 16-day tour visiting farms up and down the country, and it’s perfect timing to unveil the memorial, by local sculptor Roddy Mathieson. “From there the group will visit the Frasers at Idvies and then the chairman of the forum, Alex Sanger.” The event on July 2 will also include a Taste of Angus showcase with local producers. Delegates will enjoy a reception at Discovery Point, see a Perth Bull Sales exhibition at United Auctions, and take in the Royal Highland Show. Watson was a tenant farmer on the Strathmore estate, and his legacy has a “connection” with Glamis, the earls and countesses of Strathmore, and farming in the area. The stone will be sited at the start of the popular nature walk from the castle to the Dean Water, with early sketches commissioned from Duncan of Jordanstone graduate Roddy Mathieson of Mobile Foundry. The castle, where the late Queen Mother spent much of her childhood, was home to the 13th and 14th earls of Strathmore when the breed first became known. “There’s always been a connection with Glamis,” said castle general manager Tommy Baxter. Following in the footsteps of his grandmother, Prince Charles is the society’s patron and has a successful Aberdeen-Angus herd at Highgrove. Watson became the tenant of Keillor Farm in 1808 and gathered stock widely from the polled, black cattle of north-east Scotland, called “doddies” and “hummlies”.

Angus & The Mearns

Arbroath 1966 World Cup torture for Tartan Army

July 28 2016

Charity chiefs who wanted to subject football fans to 12 hours of “Tartan Army torment” in the name of cancer research have re-booted the format. The Arbroath Relay for Life World Cup Challenge was set to put fans through half a day of England’s famous 1966 victory, on repeat. But organisers have decided that the gruelling marathon was perhaps too much for some, and have asked fans to sit through the game just once, followed by the sweetener of watching the “Wembley Wizards” in 1967, when Scotland beat the champions and claimed the unofficial world title. Event chairman Ian Angus said there will be one true winner at Friday night’s event – cancer research. He said: “Though we have a small band of hardy souls who were prepared to sit through 12 hours of Tartan Army torture, it was decided to open it up to others who may not have been able to commit the whole night but still wish to take part in this unique event to raise funds for vital research. “Kick-off is at 8pm at Arbroath Cricket Club where we will watch a rerun of England’s glory day at Wembley, immediately followed by the game when Scotland went to Wembley to stake their claim as unofficial world champions, becoming the first to beat the World Cup winning side and on their own turf. “It will be a great night of sporting entertainment and banter all with the added benefit of raising funds for vital research to help bring forward the victory against cancer that we all look forward to.” Entry is £10 with all proceeds going towards this year’s relay in Arbroath, which takes place on September 17, and more than £21,000 has been raised towards its £87,000 target. Visit http://relay.cancerresearchuk.org/ for more information, and sponsor forms can be obtained through Mr Angus at ianangus56@gmail.com. The Wembley Wizards Scotland travelled to face European Championship qualifying group opponents England on April 11 1967 and came away with a 3-2 victory. Despite the famous result, which pundits said won Scotland the title of “unofficial world champions”, the team finished the group one point behind England, after a return leg draw and a loss to Northern Ireland. It would be another seven years before another major tournament qualification. The 1967 Wembley Wizards starting side is generally regarded as the finest in Scotland history and comprised of: Ronnie Simpson, Eddie McCreadie, Archie Gemmell, John Greig, Ronnie McKinnon, Willie Wallace, Jim Baxter, Billy Bremner, Jim McCalliog, Dennis Law, and Bobby Lennox. Their opposite numbers were: Gordon Banks, George Cohen, Ray Wilson, Nobby Stiles, Jack Charlton, Bobby Moore, Alan Ball, Jimmy Greaves, Bobby Charlton, Geoff Hurst, and Martin Peters.

Angus & The Mearns

Recognition at BAFTA for filmmaker’s spectacular Angus hillforts project

November 15 2016

A “stunning” visual reinterpretation of two prehistoric Angus hillforts has won an award for a Dundee filmmaker. Kieran Baxter recreated the White and Brown Caterthun hillforts near Edzell, more than 2,000 years after they were populated, as part of his PhD project at Duncan of Jordanstone. His work has been given a Doctorial Award by the AHRC at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Five films were selected from a shortlist of 25 covering stories from across the world, and addressing a wide range of topical subjects from landscape and environmental change to capital punishment, people trafficking, and poverty. Entries for the awards this year hit a record high, with hundreds of submissions, an increase of 20% on last year. https://vimeo.com/147173130 The overall winner for each category will receive £2,000 towards their filmmaking. Mr Baxter moved to Dundee from Strathspey in 2008 to study animation and moved into postgraduate research in digital visualisation. He said aerial photography is his “passion.” “On this project I have used kites and flown in light aircraft to collect a catalogue of aerial photographs of the hill forts,” he said. “These are then fed into computer software that allows for them to be reconstructed in three dimensions. “We can start to see features of the sites that are invisible otherwise and also add layers of archaeological interpretation.” The White Caterthun hill fort is regarded as one of the most striking examples of iron age life still visible today. One of a pair — the other being on the adjacent Brown Caterthun — the fort is a much-loved stopping place for hill walkers. Judging panel chairman Jan Dalley said: “The second year of AHRC's Research in Film Awards has brought a fantastic range of powerful short documentary films of the highest quality and the judges had a really tough job to make their choices. “Each of the winning films, which tell such amazing stories so well, beautifully illustrate the power of film-making as a medium to capture the importance and impact of research.” Mike Collins of AHRC said: “All of the winning film-makers have taken the craft of making films about research to a new level, with an eye for detail and a passion for storytelling, that they can all be rightly proud of. “I was so impressed by all of the films and the ability to develop a compelling narrative that was captivating, engaging and entertaining.”

Angus & The Mearns

Bridies the key to Forfar Athletic’s 100% record

September 24 2016

Bridie power is fuelling the 100% charge of Scotland’s best-performing football team. Forfar Athletic are sitting proudly at the top of Scottish League Two after winning all six games in their campaign so far. Only Manchester City has the same win rate in the UK — but players and staff believe they have a special ingredient that is serving the club well. New team mascot Baxter the Bridie came to Station Park after a disappointing 2015 season in which the Sky Blues were relegated from League One. And his arrival has sparked a renaissance for the team, which has fired 18 goals in the league. Goalkeeper Grant Adam, the brother of Scotland international and Stoke City midfielder Charlie Adam, tried his hand at making a Forfar Bridie at McLaren & Sons bakers. “I felt under pressure there, I’m used to trying to keep the ball out of the back of the net,” he told football broadcaster Sky Sports. He joked that his brother has “maybe had a few” bridies in his time but promised to lay one on if he comes to visit. He praised manager Gary Bollan for his part in marshalling the team and outlined the differences between his team and the other 100% UK outfit. “The gaffer has obviously used his resources, and the players that we’ve got in," he said. “We’ve got a good squad. Look at Man City — they can buy any player they want.” But all the money in the world may not be a substitute for a humble local delicacy when it comes to fuelling success. Local bakers McLaren & Son and Saddler’s sponsored the new mascot and with further support from local firm Utopia Costumes the quirky character has established itself as a popular fixture on Angus matchdays. Special bridie boxes were set up in the town bakers for a month-long naming competition, which drew almost 100 entries — many on the popular theme of the world-famous Forfar foodie favourite and the club. Flaky and shortcrust, mince and onions were all served up as suggestions and in the naming ceremony streamed live to over 4,000 people on social media, club secretary David McGregor said Loons legends of previous eras including Seagull (Billy Gallacher), Brashie (Alex Brash) and TC (Ian McPhee) also made it into the mix.   Scottish football's most infamous mascots Partick Thistle’s yellow peril mascot Kingsley had youngsters running for cover when it was launched at Firhill last summer. The mascot, which the club revealed was designed by artist David Shrigley, represented a sponsorship deal that 
the Jags agreed with 
investment advisory 
firm Kingsford Capital 
Management. But the unveiling of Kingsley did not go down well on social media, 
with one fan calling it 
“terrifying” and another claiming it to be “an evil Pokemon-type thing”. The bad boy of Scottish football mascots, Paisley Panda, was spoken to by police after pretending to use a rival club’s jersey as toilet paper on the pitch. And in 2011 
Dunfermline Athletic bosses were questioned by police over the bizarre pre-match antics of East End Park mascot Sammy the Tammy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZSrd4y1c-E Before the Fife derby kicked off, Sammy appeared on the pitch in a 
cardboard tank and 
pretended to open fire at Raith Rovers fans. This was accompanied by sound effects played through the stadium’s loudspeakers. Rovers fans said the stunt was in bad taste, given the death of a fan who was killed by Taliban forces in Afghanistan. Dundee FC mascot Deewok has also had some fun in the past, 
regularly waving an 
inflatable sheep at 
Aberdeen fans.

Angus & The Mearns

Angus foodbank use at ‘all-time high’

May 23 2017

An Angus politician has slammed the spiralling need for foodbanks in the county. Angus North and Mearns MSP Mairi Evans spoke out during an emotional speech at the Scottish Parliament on the rising need for foodbanks across Scotland — with usage reaching record levels in Angus last year. Ms Evans praised the new Brechin Community Pantry during a debate on foodbanks, which heard more than 25% of Scotland’s children are classed as living in poverty. But she insisted the UK Government must tackle the issue of child poverty by avoiding cuts to the benefits system. She said: “In Angus, figures were published in the past week that shows that emergency food supplies had to be provided to 2,771 adults and 824 children last year. “This is an all-time high and an increase of 917 on the previous year. “The Trussell Trust has stated that the biggest increases have been seen in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out. “The simple fact is we have a social security system that has been so utterly ravaged that it is no longer the safety net it was designed to be. “Instead, it humiliates and dehumanises the very people it is supposed to help. “Over the past few years the Tory-led UK Government have introduced the seriously flawed Universal Credit system, the bedroom tax, benefit sanctions, cuts to Employment Support Allowance, a freeze on working-age benefits, and a complete cut to housing benefits for 18 to 21-year-olds. “The family element of child tax credits has been removed, there have been cuts to bereavement benefits, and the new PIP system has seen many of those transferring to it from the Disability Living Allowance lose their entitlement altogether, with only 42% of new claimants get any sort of award.” A spokesman for the DWP defended the Universal Credit system, which collapses all benefits into one and is being rolled out across the UK. He said: "The majority of UC claimants are confident in managing their money and we work closely with local authorities to support those who need extra help. "Budgeting support, benefit advances, and direct rent payments to landlords are available to those who need them."

Angus & The Mearns

Baxter the Bridie inspires Phil Mickelson to birdies

July 18 2016

Scotland’s newest addition to the weird and wonderful world of football mascots met a host of stars at the Open over the weekend. But although Baxter the Bridie had a run-in with big golf name Phil Mickelson, the diminutive mascot could not give the American master another bite at Open glory at Royal Troon. The 46-year-old was tied for the lead on Sunday’s final round with Henrik Stenson, and five holes away from becoming the oldest Open champion in 149 years, but lost out against the Swede’s flawless putting. “I played close to flawless golf and was beat,” Mickelson said. “It’s probably the best I’ve played and not won.” Credit for Mickelson’s early dominance and first-round 62 was cheekily claimed by former Manchester City and Rangers footballer Joey Barton, who rubbed shoulders with the five-time Major championship winner at the course last week. But local pundits said that an early encounter with Baxter, who was launched in May to give flagging Forfar Athletic fans something to get behind, improved Mickelson’s fortunes. As well as Mickelson, Forfar fans toting a miniature Baxter met rugby legends Gavin Hastings and Craig Chalmers, and presenter Hazel Irvine. The social media team was invited into the Open media centre, and the snack was even “interviewed” by BBC Scotland pundits Kenny Crawford and Phil Goodlad. “Baxter enjoyed speaking to the lads about all things golf and of course Forfar's great start to this season's Betfred League Cup,” they said.

Angus & The Mearns

Bon Scott joins icons at Kirriemuir gallery

April 30 2016

Scottish rock legend Bon Scott joined a “pantheon” of stars including Keith Richards, Bob Dylan — and Oor Wullie — at an Angus art exhibition. Kirriemuir’s 10th annual celebration of Bon and AC/DC, Bonfest, kicked off in rebellious style with a host of bands on Friday night. A permanent tribute to the former frontman, who died tragically in 1980 as the global phenomenon was just beginning, will be unveiled in his home town this afternoon. And the rock icon has now been immortalised as a piece of pop art. Artist Robert McSpadyen was approached to frame Bon in technicolour screen print, a format he has used to encapsulate the essence of stars such as Lee Marvin, Ava Gardner and Shirley MacLaine. Mr McSpadyen, 43, is a member of Glasgow Print Studio and creates prints which reflect his own pop cultural and cinematic preoccupations and obsessions. A selection of his work is now on display alongside Bon at the town’s Bank Street Gallery, and sales of Bon prints will support the work of DD8 Music, the music-driven youth project behind Bonfest. “I work in screen printing, as that suits the style of the characters I like – brash and bold,” he said. “I stick to working with the influences I have, and Bon fits in with that whole pantheon of rock and roll legends. “Bon and the Young brothers (musicians Angus, Malcolm and producer George) were all from Scotland before they emigrated to Australia, and so were a big part of what you could call Scotland’s biggest band. “It’s only fitting that there’s a statue getting unveiled here.” Gallery owner Susie Clark said she is “delighted” to host a first-of-its-kind artwork. “Robert is building a shrine to a deeply personal pantheon of the late 20th century's sharpest icons,” she said. The Bank Street Gallery exhibition runs until June 10. This year’s Bonfest sees the evening gigs played in a big top on the town’s south side. Last night’s headline band was the all-female quintet BACK:N:BLACK, supported by Reddog, and The Ruckus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDOeDSlvn_U This followed a day of live music around the town’s pubs and a re-enactment of the AC/DC video Long Way to the Top by German band Bon: The AC/DC Show on the back of a vintage vehicle. Today, the statue of Bon will be officially unveiled in Bellies Brae at 1pm by special guests Mark Evans, Mary Renshaw, Tony Currenti and Bob Richards. BON The AC/DC Show is tonight’s featured act, supported by Ferus Cane and The Smokin' Bugler Band. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIVtTi0_5QI Mark Evans played bass on four Bon-era albums and will give a talk and Q&A about his time in the band at 1pm tomorrow in Kirriemuir Town Hall. Former AC/DC drummer Tony Currenti will play tomorrow night, performing the entirety of the High Voltage album with Pure/DC. Mary Renshaw will also appear and discuss her book about Bon, entitled Live Wire.

Angus & The Mearns

Driving instructor with MND ‘death sentence’ jailed over sexual assault

May 11 2017

A former Tayside driving instructor who molested a woman who then tried to take her own life has been jailed over his “evil” actions. Martin Baxter spent 10 minutes groping a “young” learner during a lesson between Monifieth and Carnoustie in 2014. He also engaged in “persistent verbal abuse” of a sexual nature towards another young woman between 2007 and 2008, stating he “didn’t believe she was a virgin” and alluding to her sex life. The 54-year-old, who now suffers from Motor Neurone Disease, was told by a sheriff he has an “inevitable death sentence” but could not escape prison for his “disgusting and evil” sexual assault. Baxter, who formerly ran the Independent Driving School Dundee out of Broughty Ferry, originally appeared on petition and later pled to two charges on summary complaint at Forfar Sheriff Court. He admitted sexually assaulting a woman and making sexual comments towards her on June 17 2014 on the A92 dual carriageway, and making sexual comments to another woman on various occasions between August 1 2007 and March 7 2008 in Grove Road, Broughty Ferry. Baxter, now of Wallace Crescent in Brightons, will spend eight months in prison and will remain on the sex offenders register for 10 years. Sheriff Robert Dickson told him: “So devastating was the effect you had on her, she was involved in a feared suicide attempt but for the intervention of emergency services. “You are suffering from Motor Neurone Disease and I know from personal experience how that will be an inevitable death sentence. “The disease will cause you to lose control of your muscles but nothing will affect your mind. I however conclude the offences are so serious, the effect so devastating, the breach of trust, there is no alternative to a custodial sentence.” Solicitor Billy Hendry had asked for a psychologist’s report ahead of sentence, which he said showed Baxter “knew what he was doing” but deemed him a low-risk reoffender. “Mr Baxter is remorseful for his actions,” he said. “On balance I think it’s in the public interest he is placed in a position to seek help. “By pleading guilty he has saved the necessity of the young lady involved the acute embarrassment of appearing to give evidence. “The complainer in the other charge did not have to go through the ordeal of appearing in court.”