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Perth & Kinross

Perth Show organisers promise event will be “bigger and better” than ever

July 27 2017

Thousands of people are expected to attend this year’s Perth Show, with its organisers claiming it will be “bigger and better” than ever. The 155th agricultural, equestrian, food and fun extravaganza takes place at Perth’s South Inch on August 4 and 5. More than 1,200 head of livestock will compete in 340 classes while other show supporters will vie for prizes in cooking and handcraft. Trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades will add to the vibrancy of the annual crowd pleaser. Visitor numbers should be boosted by the announcement that the event has secured a prestigious double by hosting two national cattle shows - the second National Highland Cattle Gathering and the Scottish National Simmental Show. Peter Stewart, chairman of Perth Show, said securing the two national cattle shows in the one year was a “terrific achievement.” “Both will bring business to the city and crowds to Perth Show, with many involved opting to stay locally for the whole weekend,” he said. “The organisers of both these gatherings have chosen the Perth Show because they know we host such events extremely well and we’re delighted to welcome them as a key part of this year’s offering.” The two-day extravaganza will also feature show jumping, champion farriers in action, sheep shearing demonstrations, kids’ activity centres and food and drink. Perth Show’s festival partner Perthshire on a Plate will include celebrity chefs Jean-Christophe Novelli and Nick Nairn, the parade of champions, vintage vehicles, pipe band, pet competition, craft stands, Scottish Women’s Institutes’ showcase competitions and agricultural and commercial trade stands. The programme on August 4 will also include a rare gathering of Scotland’s entire World Championship-winning farrier team with manager, farrier Jim Balfour from Tealing. Meanwhile, the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) will offer a range of hands-on activities for children throughout the two days, including a lambing simulator, an oilseed rape press and the ever-popular Daisy – the milking cow. RHET will also host some Scottish beekeepers complete with their live observation hive and craft activities. Show secretary Neil Forbes added: “Perth Show attracts thousands of visitors each year. “This year’s show will continue to feature many of the traditional aspects of agricultural shows, valued by generations of farmers, as well as the new and exciting visitor attractions. “The two-day event promises lots to see and do - whether it be pouring over the latest state-of-the-art agricultural machinery, admiring the finest four-legged competitors, watching a celebrity chef in action, trying your hand on a challenging sideshow, enjoying hospitality at one of the many trade and business stands or stopping for a tasty bite or a brew at the food marquee. “Our two-day festival will draw to a close with the show’s ceilidh in the park’.” He continued: “Perth Show is so much more than just a day out for the farmers. This year’s event is bigger and better than ever.”  

Perth & Kinross

Perthshire arts venue saved by generous donations from local community

October 18 2016

The owner of a closure-threatened Perthshire arts venue said a community effort to keep it open has “restored his faith” in mankind. David Campbell, project leader of Strathearn Artspace in Crieff, said he was “delighted” with local residents raising £3100 to replace an out-of-date boiler. The venue, which has attracted the support of Star Wars actors Ewan McGregor and Denis Lawson, had been forced to install extra heaters due to the building plummeting 12 degrees through the day. Mr Campbell said: “It’s been really, really good and is nice to know just how many local people are behind the venue. "We managed to raise the money within two weeks which is incredible." He continued: “We had a show on here on Saturday and had to use five electric heaters for those who attended. By replacing the boiler we can fully use the building again. “We had aimed to raise £2700 to replace the boiler but in the end were given £3100. This has restored my faith in mankind. “Many of the people who contributed have not been to the venue so it shows the backing we have in Crieff. We have a performance due this Saturday and I was getting worried as the replacement boiler had gone missing through a courier service, but it looks like it will be installed by Thursday.” And Mr Campbell emphasised how an article in The Courier helped the fundraising effort. “Having the article in The Courier definitely helped,” he added. “We were given a further £700 just after the newspaper article and then I received a cheque for £350 the day after, so the publicity definitely helped. We were at a community market the day after the article was published and lots of people were talking about it.” Strathearn Artspace hosts film screenings, performances by comedians and many other events, including hosting life-drawing classes.


Missing Scott Hutchison: Police find body

May 10 2018

Police searching for the frontman of indie band Frightened Rabbit, Scott Hutchison, have confirmed they have found the body of a man near South Queensferry. The grim find was made at Port Edgar on Thursday around 8.30pm. Formal identification is yet to take place but Mr Hutchison's family have been informed. Mr Hutchison, 36, has not been seen since leaving the Dakota Hotel in South Queensferry at 1am on Wednesday. The police search had focused on South Queensferry, as well as the Forth Road Bridge and into Fife. Mr Hutchison's family had voiced their concerns after tweets were sent by Scott shortly before he was last seen. https://twitter.com/owljohn/status/993976131928969216 Messages of hope were sent from friends, family and fellow musicians, including Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol. There was also support from authors Irvine Welsh and Christopher Brookmyre, and radio presenter Edith Bowman.  

Perth & Kinross

Legal investigation into proceeds of crime against former businessman ‘fraught with difficulties’, court told

December 13 2017

The legal representative for a former Perthshire businessman who dodged thousands of pounds of tax claimed investigations into the matter are “fraught with difficulties.” Kevin McCallum QC, who appeared at Perth Sheriff Court on Tuesday on behalf of Stuart Newing-Davis, 48, said there had been difficulties with transport arrangements so his client couldn’t be at court. And he outlined issues concerning a house owned by Newing-Davis that his family were living in over in France that forms part of the proceeds of crime investigation. “My client is currently serving a prison sentence at HM Castle Huntly but could not be here today,” he said. “I am here because there are difficulties associated with a home owned by my client over in France, that Mrs Sarah Newing-Davis and the children were living in. “The problem is that she took ill following the court case here, was hospitalised and is now in a mental health sanatorium in France. A curator been appointed to look after her affairs. “There is outstanding default on the mortgage on this property, which was occupied by Mrs Newing-Davis when the family re-located to France.” Mr McCallum explained that he has made contact with a solicitor in France regarding the situation with the property to get his opinion and he understood the Crown would be making their own inquiries into it. “I am asking for time to speak to another solicitor in France and to see if any equity can be released from this property,” he added. “However, I must say this property in France is fraught with difficulties.” Depute Fiscal Carol Whyte revealed the Crown had received a “bundle” of documents associated with the home in France from the proceeds of crime unit in Edinburgh. Newing-Davis had been sentenced to 32 months in jail in June at Perth Sheriff Court, after being convicted of a £174,000 VAT fraud. He had pled guilty to five charges of fraudulently evading VAT totalling £174,179.33 while a director of Trainpeople.co.uk on dates between March 3, 2010, and June 7, 2011. Latterly, Newing-Davis had been working as a London bus driver. The Crown and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) aim to recoup some of the money owed by investigating his assets, including the aforementioned home in France. Sheriff William Wood agreed to hold another proof hearing into the proceeds of crime investigation which will take place at court on February 23.

Perth & Kinross

Woman says Perthshire man accused of abduction and assault was “quite scary”

August 22 2017

A man accused of abduction and assault to the danger of life “bombarded” a woman with texts and left her feeling scared, a court has heard. Ellie Roy, 26, c/o Police Scotland, was giving evidence at the trial of Jamie Doak, 41, of Ruthven Street, Auchterarder. Miss Roy told Perth Sheriff Court that she met Doak at an event at Perth Racecourse in June 2014, how he travelled to her home on another day and how they then met by chance in Edinburgh. However, she said she “didn’t like” the businessman after talking to him in Edinburgh and told depute fiscal Isma Mukhtar she found the number of text messages later sent by Doak as being “not normal.” “I was on my way to a barbecue when I received a phone call from him (Doak),” she said. “He asked me if I wanted to meet for a coffee but I told him I wasn’t interested. But he didn’t take no for an answer and I found that very odd. “He said he thought we should meet up and talk about things.” Miss Roy told the court Doak then “bombarded” her with text messages, with one containing lyrics from a song. “His messages came through every five minutes one day, and they turned nasty and inappropriate,” she added. “I went to a pub following the barbecue and he was there and tried to catch my attention. He was really drunk and kept trying to pull me over to him – it was quite scary. "I told him I didn’t want to speak to him.” The hairdresser also told the court how she saw Doak near the salon she worked at in Gleneagles Hotel, sometimes drinking coffee, other times drinking beer. Miss Roy said Doak threatened to tell her father that she was a “bitch” on one occasion by text. Doak denies all the charges against him, which include one that he prodded, kicked, slapped and punched Julie Mailer. A separate charge alleges that he kicked the windscreen of a car – driven by Joanna Chac - which was travelling at 70mph on a motorway and held up a child, unrestrained, in the vehicle. He is also accused of seizing Ms Chac by the neck, lifting her off her feet and restricting her breathing – to the danger of her life – at an address in Blackford. Doak also denies a separate charge that he abducted Ms Chac at an address in Crieff. In addition, Doak denies repeatedly phoning another ex-partner, Joanna Perrett, to establish her whereabouts and movements and instructing her where she could and could not go. The charges are said to have taken place between 2000 and 2014. The trial, which is being heard before a jury and Sheriff Christopher Shead, continues.

Perth & Kinross

Tributes paid to tragic Perth pensioner Billy Clark

July 25 2016

Tributes have been paid to a Perth pensioner, with some describing him as “a gentleman” and others saying he “always had a hello for you.” Although a body found in Perth on Sunday afternoon has to be formally identified, police have contacted the family of 71-year-old Billy Clark following the grim find. The sad news came after an extensive search was carried out for Mr Clark, who had been reported missing from the Muirhall Road area of Perth around 7.30pm on Saturday. Seven fire units arrived at Tay Street, Perth, on Sunday morning and spent nearly six hours searching the river for signs of Mr Clark. Police later confirmed a body had been found in the Perth area and that officers had told Mr Clark’s family of the find. As a result, scores of people have posted messages of condolence to his family on social media. Louise Smith, Mr Clark’s niece, said: “Heartbreaking. RIP Uncle Billy. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time.” And Kenny Tunn posted: “RIP Bill. Lovely man. Always had a hello for you.” And similar sentiments were expressed by Jamie Fairlie, who posted: “RIP. Thoughts are with his family – what a gentleman.” Other Perth residents expressed their sadness, with Debbie Smith commenting: “Thoughts are with the family and friends.” And Margaret Latto added: “So sad. Thoughts are with his family.” Jackie Unsworth posted: “So sorry to hear this sad news. My condolences to his family. RIP Billy.” * During the search of the Tay, firefighters identified a piece of metal they had concerns for and the bomb disposal squad were called. However, it turned out to be a simple metal pole.

Perth & Kinross

First Perthshire business signs up to plastic free scheme

March 22 2018

A new initiative aiming to tackle plastic use in Perthshire has announced the first business to sign up to its scheme. Plastic Free Perthshire is a project helping businesses and communities in the area reduce the use of single-use plastics. It has produced a guide for businesses which sets out solutions to help reduce the use of plastic straws, takeaway cups and plastic bottles and use environmentally-friendly alternatives. Birnam Arts Centre has become the first business in the county to make the Plastic Free Perthshire pledge. The solutions to be introduced by the Birnam Arts Centre café include the use of paper straws, incentives to encourage customers to use reusable takeaway cups, and signing up to the rapidly-growing ‘Refill’ app to advertise free tap water. The project comes as the Scottish Government seeks to introduce a deposit return scheme for bottles, as well as a possible ban on plastic straws. Perth and Kinross Council will also reduce the use of plastic straws, cups and bottles. Jamie Wylie, founder of Plastic Free Perthshire, said: “The issue of plastic has been on everyone’s minds recently. TV Programmes such as Blue Planet 2 have shown people the scale of the problem that is posed by plastic and the issues that it’s causing. “A healthy environment is one of the foundations of Perthshire’s economy, so taking steps to reduce plastic pollution is vital for our county. “That’s why Plastic Free Perthshire aims to help businesses realise the benefits of reducing plastic use. There’s a real opportunity for businesses to build on the huge public interest in cutting back on single-use plastics by making simple but effective changes to their operations, which work for them and for customers.” He continued: “It’s fantastic that the Birnam Arts Centre has taken the Plastic Free Perthshire pledge. They’ve shown a real commitment to help customers cut back on plastic. "We’ve had really positive discussions with other businesses and hope that many more follow the Birnam Arts Centre’s lead.” James Irvine, manager of the Birnam Arts Centre, said: “We were delighted to get involved with Plastic Free Perthshire. We know how important a healthy environment is for Dunkeld and Birnam, so we were keen to take action to reduce our plastic use and help our customers do the same.” Mr Irvine said the arts centre has already started using compostable takeaway cups, providing free tap water and using biodegradable straws. And he revealed the centre will be offering incentives for people to use their own takeaway cups.

Perth & Kinross

Men charged with drugs offence told to stay out of Scotland

April 26 2016

Two men charged with supplying drugs in Perthshire -  said to be worth around £45,000 - have been granted bail on condition that they do not enter Scotland. Jacob Simpson, 25, and Kieran Teasdale, 22, both of Bradford, appeared in private before Sheriff Christopher Shed at Perth Sheriff Court. They faced a charge that they were both concerned in the supply of cannabis – a class ‘B’ drug – on Monday, between Broxden and Craigend on the M90. The two men – who appeared from custody – made no plea or declaration and were granted bail on condition they do not enter Scotland and that they left the country by midnight. Police Scotland claimed the drugs recovered have a street value of around £45,000.

Perth & Kinross

Woman found safe and well after River Tay search in Perth

April 16 2018

A woman was found safe and well following a search of the River Tay in Perth. Police Scotland has confirmed that emergency crews were called to Tay Street following concerns for a woman seen near the water at Queen's Bridge around 9.30pm on Monday. A police spokesperson said: "Police Scotland attended at the River Tay near to Queen's Bridge in Perth on Monday evening around 9.30pm after concerns for a woman near the edge of the water. "The woman come away from the water and was taken home." One witness said two fire engines and the police rescue boat attended as well as other emergency vehicles. Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said that Perth Water Team and a water team from the Kingsway in Dundee were called but were not required. Tay Street, from George Street to High Street, was closed during the operation. One witness said two fire engines and the police rescue boat attended as well as other emergency vehicles. Police confirmed the incident had been concluded at 10.40pm.  

Perth & Kinross

Music career advice available at BBCs Biggest Weekend Fringe event in Perth

April 11 2018

Leading figures from music and creative industries will be on hand to provide career advice to youths before a summer festival taking place at Scone Palace. BBC Music’s Biggest Weekend Fringe event will comprise Q & A sessions and special skills-building workshops aimed at youngsters aged between 16 to 24. It will take place on Saturday at the headquarters of Perth and Kinross Council at 2 High Street, Perth. And there will be an opportunity for over-18s to apply for a work experience placement at the Biggest Weekend music event on May 25/26 at Scone Palace. For those who are successful it will be a chance to see the likes of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Simple Minds, Nigel Kennedy and Squeeze perform live. The Q & A sessions at the fringe event will feature T in the Park and TRNSMT promoter DF Concerts along with staff from Dundee-based 4JStudios, which makes the Minecraft console edition. Speakers will include Scotland’s most capped female footballer Gemma Fay, and BBC Radio DJ Ally McCrae. They will share career stories and offer advice for finding work. BBC Scotland’s The Social with have a workshop focusing on digital content creation. And BBC Resourcing and Talent will provide advice on building a CV and help with job applications. An employability marketplace will give visitors one-to-one time to network with local employers and organisations. Dan Roberts, BBC Music introducing editor, said: “We can’t wait to kick off our Biggest Weekend Fringe in Perth. It’s going to be a great day full of inspirational guest speakers, local organisations and partners in the creative and skills industries. “Not only will there be Q & As and workshops, but there will also be the opportunity for young people to apply for placements on site at the Biggest Weekend at Scone Palace, ranging from working with our live music and outside broadcast teams to artist liaison and online department.” The Biggest Weekend Fringe employability day will run from 11am until 4pm on Saturday at 2 High Street, Perth. Free tickets are available by visiting https://bbc.in/2GUDd6g