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Fife

New St Andrews Photography Festival will celebrate old and new

June 10 2016

While St Andrews is world-renowned as the home of golf, few know the role the town has played nationally and internationally in the introduction of photography. But BID St Andrews – the business improvement body created to support businesses in the town – is working with the University of St Andrews and local businesses to launch an annual photography festival in August which will celebrate the role and importance of St Andrews in the world of photography and engage with those who live, work in and visit the town. BID chairman Alistair Lang explained: “We are one of the most photographed and filmed towns in the world, yet few realise much of the technology we enjoy the benefits of today began with the work of a collection of photographic pioneers who lived and worked in the town in the 1800s.” Dr John Adamson is perhaps the most celebrated – a blue plaque adorns the wall of his former home in the town on South Street, now The Adamson Restaurant. However, many other names are to be celebrated for the role they played, including Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair, David Octavius Hill, Robert Adamson, Thomas Rodger and Sir David Brewster. The first six-week-long festival – from August 1 to September 11 - will see events and exhibitions focus on the earliest days of photography in St Andrews as well as Scottish documentary photography over the last 175 years and contemporary photography. Alistair added: “Today’s technology ensures we can all be photographers and we’re inviting everyone to be a part of this unique festival which we hope will become a regular fixture in the town’s calendar.” The festival will put some of the photographic highlights of the University of St Andrews Library Special Collections on show as well as creating a showcase for contemporary Scottish photographers. Up to 15 local businesses will be involved, including cafés and restaurants, hosting small-scale exhibitions. There will also be tours, seminars, workshops and talks including guest photographers as well as workshops to demonstrate a variety of photographic processes including calotype and collodion - two of the earliest and those used by the town’s renowned pioneers of the art. For details as they’re revealed, go to the Festival Facebook page at www.facebook.com/StAndPhotoFest/.

Fife

A packed weekend of events across the Kingdom

June 12 2017

While the weather put paid to the Highland Games planned in Cupar and on Kirkcaldy beach over the weekend, there were still plenty of events to keep Fifers occupied. Sunday saw the climax of this year’s Limekilns River Festival, hosted by Forth Cruising Club, and catered for all tastes with craft stalls and river activities both to watch and participate in. The spectacular sail-past and the popular Limekilns raft race were crowd favourites, although there was an abundance of things to see and do throughout the weekend – including high-speed trips under the Queensferry Crossing. Another event making a splash in Fife, of course, was the annual double-handed coble boat race at Newburgh, continuing a long-standing tradition harking back to the days of commercial salmon fishing on the River Tay. Saturday was also gala day in a number of areas, including Dalgety Bay and Hillend. The theme of this year’s Dalgety Bay and Hillend Gala was pirates and princesses, and there were plenty of pirate hats and pretty dresses on show as the event took place at Dalgety Bay Sports Centre. Several local groups were involved in the parade from Jubilee Park which was led by the Royal Party headed by King Fraser Cranston and Queen Jennifer O’Neill, from Donibristle Primary School. The afternoon also saw plenty of activities for all the family, including a shopping village, the Neverland tent and the Tinkerbell tent, while the arena also played host to a range of displays and live entertainment. There were similar festivities up the coast in Kinghorn, where cowboys and cowgirls had a hoedown as part of the Kinghorn Children’s Gala celebrations. The Wild West was the theme for the annual children’s gala parade, and saw costumes inspired by the American frontier. Children and adults in fancy dress walked in procession through the village, led by this year’s royal party, gala king and queen James Mercer and Eve Ness and attendants Isla Duncan and Ryan McIlravie. The parade was followed by a sports afternoon, barbecue and disco. And in Leven, Mountfleurie Primary pupil Elise Birrell was crowned this year’s Rose Queen and led a parade through the town centre joined by her attendants. That was be followed by a community concert involving Kennoway Town Pipe Band, primary school choirs and local singers, gymnasts and dancers, and a children’s fancy dress competition in the afternoon. The event marks the start of Leven Civic Week, which saw the Rose Queen visit local nursing homes on Sunday and the Sunshine Club at Scoonie Bowling Club on Tuesday. Finally, anyone craving something delicious to eat or drink over the weekend would have been in their element at this year’s Crail Food Festival. Cementing its place as one of Scotland’s major food festivals, the Crail Food Festival returned for its seventh year with a whole host of demonstrations, tastings and talks laid on to satisfy even the fussiest of appetites. Even the weather played ball on Saturday, with the rain clearing to let foodies concentrate on the wide variety of stalls and sessions springing up throughout the picturesque coastal village in the East Neuk. Hands-on cookery teacher Jenny Thomson opened Saturday’s programme, with honey and preserve specialist Heather Hills, Fife’s Food Ambassador Christopher Trotter, Wullie Balfour from SRUC Elmwood and acclaimed chef Justin Maule attracting sizeable crowds for their demonstrations. Luvians celebrated World Gin Day with a tasting in the Royal British Legion Hall, which is also where the St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company gave people the chance to try some amazing local cheeses. Sunday continued in a similar fashion, with Stuart MacAulay from St Andrews favourite The Adamson kicking things off, followed by a cocktail tasting session – again through The Adamson. Other highlights included demonstrations from Michelin-starred chef Geoffrey Smeddle, ice cream maestro Owen Hazel from Janettas Gelateria, and Craig Millar, from the 2 AA Rosette 16 West End in St Monans.

Fife

Fife ‘bedroom tax’ campaigners claim to have scored arrears victory

July 10 2017

Activists in Fife fighting the controversial 'bedroom tax' are claiming victory after Fife Council confirmed it will no longer pursue tenants with a “static balance” of arrears. Members of the Fife Anti-Bedroom Tax Campaign have been critical of the local authority’s stance on enforcing bedroom tax arrears going back to 2013/14. However, the latest move has been welcomed by campaigners who insist a decision to clear the accounts of people in that situation is long overdue. Although tenants no longer have to pay the so-called bedroom tax locally, it is still on the statute books and the Scottish Government mitigates it by covering the costs with local authorities. This started in April 2014 and has continued to date but tenants still have liability for 2013/14 bedroom tax. Maureen Closs, of the Fife Anti-Bedroom Tax Campaign, said: “From day one of the bedroom tax implementation, Fife Council pronounced its opposition to the tax but at the same time came down very hard on people who couldn’t pay. “Right up to last year tenants were receiving texts, letters, telephone calls and visits from housing officers hounding them to pay their 2013/14 arrears. “We campaigned for the council to introduce an amnesty on tenants whose only arrears were due to the bedroom tax but met with full resistance.” Those with a ‘static balance’ have arrears that have remained the same all year with no further arrears being added on to the rent account. The council will be sifting through their records to find people in this position and will contact them to let them know their account is being cleared. Mrs Closs continued:  “We are very pleased that the council is taking this step, because it’ll be a huge weight lifted from the shoulders of people who still owe the bedroom tax. “We met someone a while ago who was intimidated into borrowing the money from her mother because of the hassle she was getting from council officers and then was unable to repay it. “This was no way to treat people and we hope that the officers involved this time around will not come in heavy handed.” Despite the move though, campaigners say they fear that this new leniency will come at the cost of people transferring on to Universal Credit (UC) who will almost certainly fall behind with their rent. This benefit now includes housing costs - formerly housing benefit that used to be administered via local authorities. “UC itself is routinely delayed by six weeks before the first payment comes through and this won’t necessarily include the housing costs,” Ms Closs warned. “People not used to having to pay rent from their benefits most likely will not be aware of the situation and will end up in rent arrears. “We feel people are being set up to fail.  Everybody who knows about these things has told the government that housing costs should be paid directly to the landlord but currently this cannot happen until the person is twelve weeks in arrears.  This sort of proves our point.” Les Robertson, head of revenue and commercial services, commented: "Like other landlords we take a pragmatic approach to debt collection. “If it will cost more in time and resources to recover the arrears than the outstanding balance we're owed, we will consider writing off small, static balances. “This approach isn't limited to cases affected by the bedroom tax, nor is it a one-size fits all approach. "The council has consistently opposed the bedroom tax and continues to highlight the negative impact that the roll out of Universal Credit will have on many people throughout Fife."

Fife

Warning as £260,000 worth of fake goods removed from Fife’s streets

March 13 2017

A crackdown on potentially dangerous fake goods flooding the market in Fife has been hailed as a huge success. Raids in Dunfermline, Kelty and Buckhaven in recent months took counterfeit products worth more than £260,000 from the streets, while the spotlight is also being shone on unscrupulous traders who use social media sites such as Facebay to peddle their wares. In what has been described as the largest counterfeit investigations to date in the Kingdom, The Courier understands almost 180 black bags filled with products such as designer clothing, electrical items, jewellery, toiletries and tobacco were seized. Scores of trademark holders have been alerted to the crime trend apparently developing in Fife. After reaping such rewards, Fife Council has been warned against making cutbacks to the trading standards teams who have been working hard to safeguard the public. In a report to Monday’s safer communities committee, Dawn Adamson, trading standards service manager, will call on members to endorse and support the ongoing commitment of her team to help protect consumers and legitimate businesses. “With resources becoming more stretched in these times of high austerity, we ask that members recognise the value of tackling criminality in this area, as well as doorstep crime, rogue trading and others within the trading standards remit,” she stressed. “If we fail to do so, the residents of Fife are much more likely to become victims of these crimes, rather than it being prevented by our direct interventions.” Intelligence sharing between Fife’s trading standards service and Police Scotland led to the execution of three warrants in recent months, with premises dealing in illicit trade set up within already established business premises to sell counterfeit goods via the Facebay page on Facebook. An estimated £200,000 worth of counterfeit goods was seized in the joint operation in Dunfermline in December, with around 120 black bags full of goods taken away for further examination. One individual was detained and interviewed under caution and enquiries into the Dunfermline case are ongoing. That was followed up by two separate warrants for different addresses in Buckhaven and Kelty last month, with seized goods said to be valued at around £60,000. A total of 44 black bags were filled from the Kelty operation, while 19 were taken from the premises in Buckhaven, and enquiries are ongoing in those cases also.

Angus & The Mearns

VIDEO: Sadness as massive 40ft whale washed up at Monifieth beach dies

March 21 2018

A rescue mission to save a whale which washed up on a beach near Monifieth has turned into a recovery operation after the animal was found dead. The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) team was called to a stretch of shoreline between Monifieth and Barry Buddon shortly before 6pm on Wednesday following earlier sightings of what appeared to be a cetacean that had live stranded. HM Coastguard from Carnoustie and Arbroath were called to assist, as was the RNLI’s inshore lifeboat at Broughty Ferry, but volunteers eventually discovered that the whale – which has been identified as a 12-metre (40ft) sperm whale by experts on site - had died. Teams were out in the pitch darkness to try to secure the site, and warned members of the public not to visit the beach for their own safety. Paul Smith, the BDMLR’s Fife and Stirlingshire co-ordinator, revealed that an initial sighting was made by a dog walker at around 3pm, although he confirmed the sad news that the whale did not survive. “It wasn’t notified until later on but we’ve obviously responded with our team and we’ve found it subsequently dead,” he said. “We’re just doing a search at the minute of the beach to see if it is just the one animal, and there is a possible concern of things showing up on Thursday morning. “We’re keeping an open mind but at the minute it’s confirmed as one.” https://www.facebook.com/broughtyferrylifeboat/posts/1025381290942238 Whales are regularly spotted in the waters off the east coast of Scotland, but Mr Smith admitted it was not a usual occurrence to spot a sperm whale of this size in the Tay. “We get a lot of animals and there are a lot of whales traversing all these waters and these migration routes. You do get a lot of species and we get whales which visit this part of the world,” he added. https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/angus-mearns/622760/pictures-photos-show-scenes-on-tayside-beach-after-huge-sperm-washes-ashore/ “But it is uncommon to get big whales visiting the Tay like this – they’ll pass by certainly but it’s not very often they come in. “The problem with sperm whales is that it’s the wrong species in the wrong area. They don’t do well on the east coast. “They should be on the west coast and there’s nothing out there on the east coast for them to eat, so it’s more than likely that it has suffered dehydration or starvation and it has succumbed. “It could also be ill, but we don’t know until we do a post-mortem.” Experts were expected to revisit the beach at first light, but Mr Smith warned people to stay away and let those doing the recovery do their jobs. “We don’t want anybody down there because this is now a biohazard,” he stressed.” “It’s going to start deteriorating -  you can get a lot of nasty diseases from these animals so we don’t want anybody down there.” The whale was spotted by a man who was walking his dog by the shore. The man, who did not wish to be named, said: “It was hard to see if it was a whale or not at first, even with the binoculars. “It kind of looked like a big log, but you could see the dorsal on it. “It looked like there were a few exits from the blowhole, but it could have been water hitting the log. “It was hard to tell because it was pretty rough, but I met my friend and we got the binoculars out and we thought it definitely looked like a whale. “We then met a woman and she phoned the RSPCA. I think it stranded a lot further up, because at that time the tide was receding and it had moved a bit. “It’s such a shame if it has died.” Article includes photos from licensed drone operator Rising View

Fife

Falkirk say sorry for “abhorrent” behaviour of fans as fake eyeballs thrown at Dunfermline’s Dean Shiels

January 3 2018

Falkirk have apologised “unreservedly” for the behaviour of some of their fans after fake eyeballs were thrown at Dunfermline Athletic midfielder Dean Shiels during Tuesday’s Championship game between the sides. Shiels, 32, who lost sight in one eye in a domestic accident when he was just eight-years-old, was subjected to horrendous abuse throughout the Pars’ 2-0 victory over the Bairns at East End Park, with Falkirk fans singing songs about his visual impairment and throwing fake eyes on to the pitch. The incident came just a few weeks after Falkirk players Joe McKee and Kevin O’Hara were suspended after being found guilty of taunting the midfielder about his disability during a Challenge Cup game in October. In a statement, Falkirk have condemned the actions of a minority of supporters and pledged to root out the problem. “Falkirk FC apologises unreservedly to Dean Shiels and Dunfermline Athletic FC for the abhorrent behaviour of a small number of individuals at this afternoon’s Ladbrokes Championship match,” it read. “The club wholeheartedly condemns the abuse witnessed towards Dean Shiels in the strongest terms and will be working closely with Dunfermline Athletic FC to identify those responsible. “Abuse towards anyone with a disability is simply unacceptable and the fact this took place within a sporting context with rivalries at play is no excuse. This needs to stop now. “Disability awareness training is already being delivered to all staff and players at Falkirk FC and we take our commitment to equality seriously. “We will look to take action against anyone identified from today’s game and will not allow this disgraceful behaviour to be repeated.” Falkirk may yet face further disciplinary measures, however, if the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) decides to take action after reviewing the incident. Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston praised Shiels, who saluted the home fans at the final whistle, for dealing with the incidents so well, but admitted he had been disappointed to see the behaviour in the stands in the first place. "You never like to hear stuff like that," he told his club website. "It's poor. It's great discipline he showed. The whole team showed that. "He has had a lot to deal with, but I think the whole club have. I think we have dealt with it professionally, but you just have to move on. "That's why it was important to get the win as well, when stuff like that is going on in the background. "It's unacceptable in this day and age. The most important thing was getting the win, especially against Falkirk when you see the rivalry." O’Hara was handed an eight-match ban for mocking Shiels during the cup game between the teams last year, with McKee receiving a four-match suspension for the same charge of “excessive misconduct”.

Fife

Stunning sunshine greets visitors to Kirkcaldy’s Beach Highland Games

September 23 2017

There was a beautiful blue sky overhead as Kirkcaldy waterfront played host to its third Beach Highland Games on Saturday. Organisers would have been hoping for decent weather after the eagerly-awaited event had to be shelved in June due to poor conditions, and their prayers were certainly answered as the Games started in stunning sunshine. The Games are hosted each year by the local BID company Kirkcaldy 4 All, and hundreds of people flocked to the Fife coast to sample some of the atmosphere. All the proceedings were kicked off at 10am by a parade led by Leven and District Pipe Band, running along the Storm Road – which was lined by a number of stalls manned by local businesses and charities throughout the day. https://twitter.com/C_CSmith1/status/911516995090345991 And, as one might expect from a Highland Games, there was a full programme of professional Highland dancing, athletic running events and the traditional heavy weight events down on the sandy beach itself. Following disappointing weather conditions last year which may have affected visitor numbers, Bill Harvey, manager at Kirkcaldy 4 All, would have been delighted to see the sun come out for the rearranged Games. “This event has been putting Kirkcaldy on the map over the last few years as the UK’s 1st Beach Highland Games,” he said. ‘We owe a big thank you to the main sponsors of the Games - Kirkcaldy and Central Fife Sports Council, as well as Carrs Hutchison’s Mill. “If we can’t get a good crowd on a day like today, then we’re barking up the wrong tree.” As in previous years, children were invited to participate in kids’ races on the beach and, new for this year, organisers introduced a tug-of-war contest to the proceedings. Greig Hopcroft, development officer from Kirkcaldy and Central Fife Sports Council, said: “Kirkcaldy and Central Fife Sports Council are delighted to be associated with the Kirkcaldy Beach Highland Games. “To be the only Beach Highland Games in the UK is something special and one that we see as a great benefit to the area.”

Fife

St Andrews murder trial: Accused told policeman to “give up” trying to save sister’s life, court told

May 31 2017

A court has heard a Fife man accused of raping and murdering his sister told a police officer trying to save her life: “She’s already dead, you might as well give up.” The High Court in Glasgow was told Charles Gordon made the comment as he calmly sat on a sofa smoking a cigarette while PC Craig Walker carried out CPR on Elizabeth Bowe lying yards away. Gordon, 52, denies murdering Ms Bowe, 50, by putting a dressing gown around her neck, compressing it and placing a bag over her head at her home in Bobby Jones Place on September 17 last year. He also denies raping Ms Bowe, and behaving in a threatening manner towards detectives. PC Walker told the court he and colleague PC Keith Leinster were on mobile patrol when they were called to an incident at a flat in Bobby Jones Place at around 9.25pm on the evening in question. PC Walker said he had to force entry to the communal door but was told to come in by Gordon when he knocked on Ms Bowe’s door. There he saw Gordon sitting on the sofa smoking a cigarette, with Ms Bowe lying motionless beside a coffee table on the floor. PC Walker told the court she was only dressed on her top half wearing a vest top, with her bra undone. He saw she had blood in her mouth and what he initially thought was a blue blanket wrapped “like a scarf” around her neck. He also saw a torn and stretched carrier bag with blood on it nearby. PC Walker told the court he started doing chest compressions, as he couldn't do mouth-to-mouth due to the presence of blood, and heard Gordon say: “She's already dead, you might as well give up.” While PC Walker's focus was on trying to save Ms Bowe's life, PC Leinster told the court his attention was on Gordon, whom he handcuffed. PC Leinster said Gordon had been compliant and had not shown any emotion, albeit he had been “a bit rambling” as he appeared under the influence of alcohol. The court then heard how Gordon had told police: “I wish it hadn't happened, but it did.” After being taken to Kirkcaldy police station, Gordon was then heard to say: “Wee sister tried to be a wee slut, so I tried to kill her.” And then a short time later, he said: “Nothing to hide, I know what I’ve done.” Asked by prosecutor Iain McSporran what Gordon’s mood was like, PC Leinster replied: “He didn't appear to be a man who was distraught at the potential loss of life of his sister.” He added that Gordon had seemed “a little agitated”, but had been cooperative. Sergeant James Scarborough, who had been a detective constable at Kirkcaldy at the time, confirmed Gordon had made the statements alleged after his detention, adding that he had also heard him say: “Little b*****d sister.” Sgt Scarborough said Gordon became “quite abusive” when trying to move him from his cell at 5.18am the following morning and told him “You'll be next”. The court also heard from ambulance technician Angus Headley who arrived at Ms Bowe’s flat to find her on her back on the floor. She had no signs of life at that stage, but medics eventually managed to find a faint pulse after drugs were administered at the scene. She was taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, but the court heard that a CT scan showed changes to her brain consistent with a prolonged lack of oxygen and that doctors felt it was “highly unlikely” she would survive. She was pronounced dead at 12.01pm on September 20. The trial before judge John Morris continues. For more, see Thursday's Courier

Fife

Cowdenbeath chairman Donald Findlay rallies fans to help reverse club’s decline

March 22 2018

Cowdenbeath chairman Donald Findlay QC has issued an impassioned plea to the local community to help reverse the decline which has put the club in dire straits of late. The Blue Brazil are fighting for survival in League Two and seeking to avoid dropping into the Lowland League, but the 137-year-old club is also fighting to survive in a far more literal sense. Windfall cup receipts have helped in recent seasons, but officials recently confirmed it has been kept afloat largely due to fundraising and regular cash injections from fans who are the club’s directors. That situation is unsustainable, and Mr Findlay urged everyone at a specially arranged public meeting in the town’s Junction Bar on Thursday night to do what they can to rally round. Mr Findlay revealed that directors had held an extraordinary general meeting earlier this week during which they pledged to continue to manage and maintain the club no matter its league status next season, and committed to giving positive and practical backing to a new action plan to take the club forward under the banner of ‘Honour the Past, Ensure a Future’. “The purpose of this meeting is not to confirm the demise of Cowdenbeath FC, and I can also say that the rumours some notable people have contributed substantial sums of money are not true – if that was the case then we would not be here,” he said. “Not very far from here was a house I lived in and when I was growing up there were stories that were told to me by my father. “One was about mining and a sense of community. The other was about Central Park and the football club. “Central Park is well named for a good season because it sits right at the very heart of the town. “We’re not going to let the club die but if we’re going to take it forward we need people to come forward. “I have this foolish notion of the club and the community getting more involved together. “If I was to say now “That’s it, I’m shutting the club, we’re not going to play the game on Saturday”, we would get people coming from every direction wanting to become involved in the club. “So why not now? “We need people who will commit to doing something for the club and stick at it, at least until the end of next season.” Supporters were urged to back the Club 135 initiative, which is a plea to every fan or person with a link to Cowdenbeath to donate a minimum of £10. Reaching out to at least 13,500 people globally would raise at least £135,000 to provide some security moving forward, and the meeting heard that £35,000 has been raised in eight months – with contributions coming from the likes of Vietnam, Canada and the USA. However, despite new investors, a new ground, council assistance and joint ventures among the options considered, those associated with the club have concluded that there is no “white knight” on the horizon. The club has suffered in more recent years from dwindling home attendances, with Cowden having the lowest average crowd of the 42 Scottish clubs, and it has not recouped significant transfer income despite some of its players going on to bigger and better things. Gate income from home games this season is barely likely to exceed £28,000, which will not go far in the current football climate. The club also lost ownership of its Central Park home in 2010, and it receives nothing in the way of income from renting out the ground to accommodate stock car racing and a weekly market. "When we took over the club was in some peril - there was no team, there was no manager, there was very little. "With a lot of hard work, that was turned around and we started doing very well. "We won a championship, we played in the Championship, and the club benefited from what is brought by playing at a higher level. "But when you start to slide there is a danger that the slide can become very difficult to arrest. “The lower you go the less attractive you are to players, to managers, to coaches, to sponsors and to other commercial interests. “We have decided that our approach should be to move forward, because the other choice is to operate a strategy of containment, trying to fend off another year of relegation, and eventually that will bite you, you will bumped out of the SPFL and end up in the Lowland League. “We have decided that we need to be ambitious and try to take the club forward. “But there’s only so many times you can go back to the same sponge and keep squeezing it to get water out.”

Fife

Football stars join fundraising team to raise funds for Owen

April 20 2018

A host of footballing stars have joined together to raise over £10,000 in memory of a young footballer who tragically passed away aged just 11. In October last year, Kennoway Soccer Sevens and the local Fife community were left stunned when 11-year-old Owen Nisbet was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma. This rare form of cancer usually has high survival rates but sadly Owen passed away just five weeks after his diagnosis. Thanks to support from Liverpool FC’s James Milner and clubs such as Hibs, Raith Rovers and East Fife, the local community were able to raise a staggering £10,200 which will go to the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC). The charity supported Owen and his family throughout his illness and Kennoway Soccer Sevens coach, Rab Lindsay, was determined to raise funds for them. Rab said: “When we first found out that Owen was ill, we started fundraising to give the family a much needed holiday. “We got in touch with the Hibs team — who have always been a great support to us — through their Fife scout. They got to work straight away, organising a trip for the family. “So we turned our fundraising efforts towards arranging the end of season dance to double-up as a fundraising event for Owen and his family, to take some strain off them during this hard time.” Owen died unexpectedly just weeks before the event took place. Rab added: “We had no intention of stopping our fundraising efforts there. After hearing how ECHC had cared for Owen and his family, we turned our attention to raising money for the charity. “Raith Rovers' over 35s team, with the support of East Fife FC, helped us raise £3000 — they played us in a charity game at New Bayview with Paul McManus on their team. “I’m proud to say that we won the game, with Owen’s dad David scoring the winning goal. “Paul McManus even donated his Championship winning medal and Liverpool’s James Milner sent us a signed shirt to be auctioned. “The football club led the fundraising activity, and it wasn’t long before everyone we knew started joining in. “We wanted to give back to the charity that had looked after our wee Owen, and made him feel comfortable in his final days. “Owen was the sort of kid that never let anything hold him back. He was a great wee footballer — a real rough and ready player with a great thirst for the game. “His shirt was number 20 and that’s a strip that we’ll never use again — it’s reserved just for him. The lads all wear his name and number on their sleeves, too — he’s part of our kit now.” Owen’s mother, Cheryl Walton, said: “ECHC just went over and above with the level of care they gave us. “They took care of all the little things, allowing us to spend as much time with our son as possible. “Even with what Owen was up against, he still managed to put a smile on everyone’s face and make the nurses laugh. “He put others first with acts of kindness that will never be forgotten, like when he made up a goody bag for another child that was also receiving treatment. “No-one expected Owen to pass so suddenly so it was a huge shock to the system. What stood out to us more than anything else was just how emotionally supportive every single member of staff at ECHC were.” Vicki Watson, community fundraiser at ECHC, said: “Owen’s parents want the money to be spent on spaces within the hospital that families can go to and relax and spend some time away from the wards.”

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