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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Fife

Glenrothes woman’s death in woodland ‘not thought to be suspicious’

January 9 2017

The “unexplained” death of a Fife woman whose body was discovered in woodland over the weekend is not thought to be suspicious, it has emerged. Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances behind Sunday’s sad scenes in the north of Glenrothes, where 52-year-old Annie Finlay was found in a wooded area accessible from Aboyne Way. However, while police have yet to formally confirm a cause of death, sources close to the probe have hinted there appears to be no evidence of criminality. Ms Finlay’s body was found at around 10.30am on Sunday morning, and a police cordon – which was set up immediately after the alarm was raised by a member of the public - remained in place on Monday as inquiries continued. Three police officers, two in a marked police car, could be seen stationed near the path running alongside the copse where Ms Finlay was discovered. The scene of Sunday’s grim discovery is less than a quarter of a mile from the Finlay home in Ballater Green, where it is understood Ms Finlay had been staying and where relatives gathered to support each other in the wake of the weekend’s tragic events. Neighbours have suggested that Ms Finlay, whose first name is actually Sarah but is better known as Annie, had only recently returned from Australia to visit her loved ones. Locals in Collydean have been left stunned by what happened and the continuing presence of police in the area. One woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “It’s such a shame to hear what’s gone on and I think everyone’s thoughts are with the family. “I was out there along that path at the back of 6am on Sunday morning with the dog and never heard or saw anything, so when I found out the lady had been found at the back of 10am…..it’s just come as such a shock to everyone.” Tributes have been paid to Ms Finlay on social media. Craig Duncan, a former colleague of hers, said he was saddened to hear of Ms Finlay’s passing. “A happy girl with not a bad word to say about anyone,” he said. “My deepest condolences to the family. Am sure she will be sorely missed. By all.” Ms Finlay’s body was removed by private vehicle at around 4.30pm on Sunday afternoon, and the cordon is expected to be removed in due course. A Police Scotland spokesman confirmed that the death is currently being treated as “unexplained pending further inquiries”.

Angus & The Mearns

Stonehaven schoolboy meets his favourite author after touching the heart of former Scotland boss

November 15 2017

A Stonehaven schoolboy with cerebral palsy has met his favourite children’s author after touching the heart of former Scotland manager Craig Brown. Finlay Sangster has been inspired to read through the Jamie Johnson series, a collection of books about football written by Dan Freedman which have been shown on the BBC, with the support from Stonehaven primary school Mill O’Forest. His mother, Gail, a teacher, said the 12-year-old has issues with his eye muscles so scanning pages and keeping track of what he is reading can be incredibly hard and tiring for him. She said: “He thoroughly enjoys reading but accessing books can also be a challenge, as he needs help to turn the pages and hold a book in a good position. “The school have been incredibly supportive of Finlay from day one. He has been fully included in all aspects of school life. “He is very lucky to have had two amazing pupil support assistants throughout his seven years at Mill O’Forest, who can read him like a book; they know when he is a bit under the weather and know exactly how to support him when things are a wee bit much for him.” Gail praised head teacher Trish Marchant and his class teachers for removing barriers to Finlay’s learning and ensuring he is always an integral part of the school community. Rangers FC fan Finlay was given the first of Dan’s books as a present and quickly became a devotee. Gail said he loved the book so much they were soon on his wish list for Christmas and birthdays. Author of the Jamie Johnson series Dan said: “It is not an overstatement to say it makes all the hard work of writing the books worth it. “To know that Finlay is enjoying the books is hugely rewarding and inspirational.” Finlay’s story inspired ex-Scotland and Aberdeen FC football manager Craig Brown - a former teacher - to arrange for Finlay to meet author Dan in the perfect setting. Craig’s daughter is a teacher at an Ayrshire school and uses Dan’s books to encourage children who are struggling with reading. Craig was sent a letter by Dan about Finlay and his enjoyment of the books so he decided to arrange to meet them both. Craig said: “I have been incredibly moved by Finlay’s story and wanted to do something to help. “Finlay is a passionate football fan and loves to read so I thought I could combine his pleasures by inviting him to Pittodrie Stadium so he could meet Dan and me. “I hope this special event makes one boy who has overcome a great deal very happy.” Councillor Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “Finlay’s story is truly heartwarming and inspirational. “It is fantastic to see high profile figures from the world of sport and children’s literature have taken an interest in Finlay and Dan’s books have provided him with so much pleasure.”

Angus & The Mearns

VIDEO: Watch as dream comes true for Stonehaven youngster with cerebral palsy

December 18 2017

A football loving 12-year-old with cerebral palsy can finally play the game with his pals on an Xbox – thanks to a specially designed controller. Finlay Sangster, from Stonehaven, was surprised at his school by British Airways pilot Jonathan Knowlson and whisked off to London as part of the project BA Magic, which aims to create special moments. The young Rangers fan and Mill O’ Forest pupil has always wanted to play Xbox with his friends but was unable to due to his condition. His mum Gail had looked into the possibility of buying him the game console then using a specially adapted controller from the charity SpecialEffect in Oxford, but the idea had remained a pipe dream. However, she e-mailed BA and asked whether they could help out in any way. Gail said the airline had gone above and beyond on the family’s behalf; it even arranged for Rangers player Josh Windass to show up at their home at the end of their experience and personally deliver the Xbox to Finlay. Gail said: “Johnny, the pilot, showed up at Finlay’s school to surprise him in a Lamborghini then took him to the airport in style. “We were put up in a lovely hotel and the company really went above and beyond for us – as well as getting us to SpecialEffect so Finlay could work with them to specially adapt a controller.” When British Airways organised their surprise visit to Finlay’s school they also presented him with a signed Real Madrid shirt from his idol Cristiano Ronaldo – addressed to Finlay by the superstar – and he received a video message from Rangers’ captain Lee Wallace. Finlay was then told he and his mum, dad Bruce and his five-year-old brother Brodie would be flown to London for the youngster to get his very own bespoke Xbox controller. And Finlay’s father, a supercar fan, was allowed to drive them to the airport in a Lamborghini Huracán Spyder. The following day, British Airways made arrangements for Finlay and his family to visit SpecialEffect – a charity that helps people with disabilities play video games, by using technology that ranges from modified joypads to eye-control. BA ensured there was some magic included for Gail and Bruce too, by surprising them with a holiday to New York – the city they had been desperate to return to for their upcoming wedding anniversary. Gail said: “It has just been so amazing – this whole experience. It is hard to put it into words. “Finlay’s dream was to be able to play an Xbox and BA made his dream come true. “You see and read these stories about people and you never in your wildest dreams believe it will happen to you."

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Perth & Kinross

Prison razor attack by rapist left inmate scarred for life

October 15 2015

A convicted rapist savagely slashed a man in prison who had complained the sex offender was bullying him. John McKinlay left his victim scarred for life after the vicious attack with a makeshift weapon in Perth prison. He told prison officers that he had carried out the assault and said: “So what? It’s on the CCTV, anyway.” Footage of the attack captured on camera at the prison’s C Hall was shown to a judge at the High Court in Edinburgh. Sean Murphy QC, said: “This is clearly a premeditated attack with a homemade weapon.” He said it was clear from McKinlay’s record and the current offence that he was potentially “a significant danger to the public”. McKinlay, 25, who was jailed for six years for rape and assault, admitted attacking John Stephen to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of his life on January 20 at Perth Prison by striking him on the face and neck with a bladed instrument. Advocate depute Stewart Ronnie said: “He has a significant criminal history dating back to his early teens and this relates mainly to crimes of dishonesty and violent and sexually-motivated offences.” Nurses responded to the attack and found the victim with a deep, jagged wound. “He was clearly in shock and losing a lot of blood. The victim was taken by ambulance to Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital. He was found to have sustained a significant and life-threatening loss of blood and had a double wound running from underneath the eye to the back of the right side of his neck, cutting through muscle and severing a nerve. Despite a search, officers were unable to find the weapon used in the attack, which McKinlay indicated he had flushed down a toilet. But a search in his waste paper basket revealed that blades were missing from two disposable razors. The judge continued the case until next month for reports.

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

Fife

Guardbridge pays tribute to VC soldier

May 11 2015

Tribute has been paid to a Fife soldier who was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry in the First World War. David Finlay, who was born in Guardbridge and married in Cupar, was awarded the country’s highest military honour “for most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty” in France in 1915. A Fife Council-organised ceremony on Saturday afternoon marked the actual centenary of The Black Watch sergeant’s bravery, when he gallantly led a bombing party of 12 men. A large stone, with a plaque, outlining Sergeant Finlay’s bravery, was unveiled near the playpark at Guardbridge. Tribute was paid by Provost of Fife Jim Leishman, the Lord Lietenant of Fife Robert Balfour and Major Ronnie Proctor of The Black Watch Association. They were joined by members of The Black Watch Association, serving members of the 2nd Battalion The Black Watch and Royal British Legion Scotland Riders. There was also a good turnout of Guardbridge Primary children and representatives from the community. Tay Bridgehead Fife councillor Tim Brett said: “It’s good that children from the school are here as well.” On May 9 1915, the 2nd Battalion of The Black Watch had moved into a forward position and, as well as facing enemy fire, had to overcome a wide, water-filled ditch. When 10 of the group were injured two fatally the then Lance Corporal Finlay ordered the two survivors to crawl back while he went to the assistance of one of the wounded. The lance corporal carried the soldier 100 yards to safety while under heavy enemy fire. Born in 1893, David Finlay was a ploughman before enlisting in 1910 a month after his 18th birthday. Promoted to corporal with the 2nd Battalion shortly after his act of bravery on the Western Front, a month later he rose further, becoming a sergeant. The citation for his award was published in the London Gazette, with the VC presented by the king. He was posted to the Middle East at the end of 1915. He was killed in action in what is now Iraq in January 1916.

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