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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...

Perth & Kinross

Parents of tragic Crieff toddler Martyn Gray focusing on fight to change ambulance breaks

August 12 2011

The parents of a Perthshire toddler who died while they waited for paramedics to arrive are focusing on change. Lisa and Martin Gray had to wait 48 minutes for an ambulance to reach their home in April while they tried to revive three-year-old Martyn. One ambulance was less than 10 minutes away but did not respond as staff were on a break. Mr and Mrs Gray have raised the matter of their son's death with health minister Nicola Sturgeon, and while they sympathise with Charlie Mathieson, of Tomintoul, whose sister Mandy died at her home in similar circumstances, they stress they are concentrating on their own efforts. Mr Mathieson has been shown a transcript of the phone call made by Bobby Taylor, Miss Mathieson's partner, to the village ambulance station when his sister took ill last October. Miss Mathieson wasn't breathing but ambulance technician Owen McLauchlan had said he was on his own and on his rest break. An ambulance crew from Grantown-on-Spey, 21 minutes away, responded and an air ambulance was also sent from Inverness but Miss Mathieson died from a blood clot by the time the ambulance arrived. Mr Mathieson, a fireman from Strathdon, Aberdeenshire, said that "technically and legally" Mr McLauchlan did nothing wrong but he still feels wronged by the handling of the incident.'Upsetting'The family were shown the transcripts by the procurator fiscal in Elgin. Mr Mathieson said, "To say Mr McLauchlan wasn't asked to go is just a play on words which is upsetting for us. "If I had been in the same position I would have gone." Mr and Mrs Gray have said they knew it could take only 10 minutes for an ambulance to reach their home at Park Cottages, Drummond Castle, near Crieff. On Thursday Mrs Gray told The Courier they are demanding a change to the situation over breaks for ambulance crews. "I think it's disgusting that Mr McLauchlan knew about the incident, to be truthful," she said. "I have spoken to Charlie Mathieson on three different occasions and this matter is following through after the death in Tomintoul. "If the ambulance technician hadn't been on his break this would never have happened." She added, "Mandy Mathieson's case was different from ours but I know what Charlie was saying in that this ambulance man had such a great level of responsibility. "We are fighting to get change and it looks like this is going through."'Attention needs to be drawn'Mrs Gray said, "We have raised the matter with Nicola Sturgeon and I've spoken with the press about our case, so it certainly seems to be working that way from a personal point of view. "Charlie is in the public sector but we are focusing on our fight to get this changed." She added, "Ambulances have been up in Crieff before for several neighbours of ours, including ourselves, and have arrived quicker. "The ambulance crew that were sent got lost and took 45 minutes to arrive. "I feel attention needs to be drawn to this as it may help someone else's child." Paramedics have defended the service, stating 45-minute unpaid breaks were imposed on them. Mr Gray has said it was his understanding that crews can waive undisturbed breaks for a yearly payment of £250 and a small call-out payment.

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.

Business news

Mathiesons Bakery in £2m Asda contract

January 22 2014

A major Scottish bakery group has secured a new £2 million supply contract with Asda after emerging from a period of severe financial difficulty. Stirlingshire-based Mathiesons Bakery hailed its first UK-wide listing with the supermarket, saying it provided an “exciting opportunity” for the brand. The deal comes just three years after the historic bakery and confection business which can trace its roots back to 1872 and was then trading as Mathiesons Bakeries plunged into administration for a first time. Mathiesons Foods was created in May 2010 after Mathiesons Bakeries was acquired from the administrator in a deal supported by Lloyds banking group. London-based specialist investor Pemberton Capital took a controlling interest in the Larbert-based firm in June 2011. The current iteration of the company, Mathiesons Bakery Ltd, emerged following a pre-pack administration in May of 2012. The restructuring gave the company a financial platform on which to build, and Mathiesons now supplies bakery goods to a number of major retailers including Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Aldi. Mathiesons also operates a mail order business and maintains a six-strong portfolio of retail shops, primarily concentrated in the Falkirk area. The company employs 200 staff, and turnover last year topped £8.5 million. Mathiesons said its new £40,000-per-week deal with Asda built on an existing relationship between the two firms that currently sees it supply stock to 56 Scottish stores. The agreement, which relates to its range of best-selling Bavarian fruit tarts, will see Mathiesons supply Asda stores with chilled products south of the border for the first time through a further 289 outlets across England and Wales. “This is a very exciting opportunity which will bring our products to a much wider audience,” Mathiesons sales director Lorna Love said. “It’s fantastic that Asda is continuing to support our brand, and we’re really excited about introducing our other flavours in due course.” Asda said the move to significantly increase its business with Mathieson’s was part of its long-term commitment to sourcing the best home-grown suppliers for its store network. “As part of our strategy we place huge importance on supporting local suppliers in growing their business, no matter how big or small,” Asda’s customer planner for Scotland and Northern Ireland Lisa Prudhoe said. “Mathiesons is the perfect example of how Asda are able to support and nurture the businesses of local Scottish producers.”


‘We’re just heartbroken’ former Dundee man Charlie Lamont dies after crash in Suffolk

November 21 2012

The sons of a Dundee man who died after his car crashed into a tree in a late-night crash have paid tribute to their ''fun-loving'' dad. Grandfather Charlie Lamont (pictured), who was 49, lay undiscovered for up to 10 hours by the busy A12 near Ipswich in Suffolk after the crash. The alarm was first raised by one of his friends when Charlie, who was originally from the Hilltown, failed to pick him up in Colchester at 8.20am on Sunday. It was not until 4pm that the 49-year-old was found by a tractor driver working in a field near the busy dual carriageway. Mr Lamont's sons Charles and Barry told of their loss. ''I just can't believe it's happened,'' Barry (21) said. ''We're just heartbroken.'' Charlie had lived in England for the last 10 years but Charles (24) said he always kept a connection with his home town. He said: ''He stayed in Clacton-on-Sea and he was working with Network Rail in maintenance but he loved Scotland and Dundee FC. ''He was always smiling, speaking about Scotland and his beloved Dundee. He's got two sons who supported United and he would say 'When are you going to support the real team?''' Charles's son Charlie was born six months ago and the proud grandfather had been up recently to visit the new arrival. Charles said: ''We still don't believe it's happened. He came up as soon as our wee one was born and Wednesday was the last time I spoke to him on FaceTime with the wee lad.'' Barry's partner is also pregnant and his dad had been looking forward to another little grandchild. ''We told him two or three weeks ago that my lass is pregnant and he was that happy,'' Barry said. Charlie was born in the Maryfield area of Dundee and attended Rosebank Primary School and then Morgan Academy. He went to work in John Menzies after school and after that he had various jobs on building sites, including work with Brown Construction. He had three sons Charles, Barry and Adam. A keen footballer, Charlie played for Riverside and Tayport until a foot injury ended his career in 1991. Police in England said his silver BMW 318i SE model had left the road, hit a tree and rolled on to its roof, landing in a field, between 6am and 9am on Sunday.

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

Farming news

SNP handling of new beef scheme attacked

November 10 2016

The Scottish Government's own efficiency has been called into question over the handling of the new £45million Beef Efficiency Scheme (BES). An estimated 180,000 beef cows from 2000 Scottish farmers have been enrolled in the new five-year  scheme which aims to improve the efficiency and quality of the beef herd and help producers increase the genetic value of their stock. But months after signing up for the scheme, farmers are still waiting to be supplied with special tags to meet the rules which call for 'tissue tagging' of 20% of cattle. And now NFU Scotland's livestock chairman Charlie Adam says farmers' confidence in the scheme is being affected and has called for the rules to be adjusted. The union has also urged the Scottish Government to update all scheme applicants on progress with BES and let them know when the necessary tags will arrive. “If tag delays cannot be resolved in the immediate future, then the Scottish Government should recognise the problem and make the tissue tagging element voluntary for 2016. This will allow those who can take samples from the animals that they still own to do so,"  said Mr Adam. “Applicants to this important scheme, worth £45 million to the industry, have every right to know now, and in detail, what they are expected to do to fulfil their BES obligations and Scottish Government must get back on the front foot in delivering the scheme.” Mr Adam added that it was frustrating for the farmers who have already housed and handled their cattle for the winter as many of those animals were by now located in overwintering accommodation that can be some distance from home farms. Shadow Rural Economy secretary, Peter Chapman MSP claimed it was impossible for farmers to sell store cattle in the autumn sales until they were told which animals need tagged and were sent  the tags to do the job. He added: "This will create huge cash flow and logistic problems for farmers who normally sell calves at this time – this is the SNP letting farmers down yet again.” A Scottish Government spokesman said work was under way to rectify the problem and a timetable was expected by the end of the week. He added: "It is not necessary for farmers to hold off from selling their animals. "We will ensure that the sampling regime accommodates those farmers who have sold their calves and there will be no penalties for those whoo have. It may mean that some farmers will have a higher rate of sampling next year." nnicolson@thecourier.co.uk      

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.

Motoring news

Audi showcases raft of new cars

June 29 2016

Audi threw everything it had at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, with no fewer than nine upcoming models making their UK debuts. One of the most interesting – and affordable – was the new Q2. Audi’s smallest crossover yet, it’ll sit underneath the Q3, Q5 and big ole Q7. It will be available as a front wheel drive or with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system. Under the skin there’s a choice of three TFSI petrol and three TDI diesels, with Audi’s 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol offering 114bhp, the 1.4 litre four-cylinder sitting below the 187bhp 2,.0 litre TFSI. Diesel options are the 1.6 litre TDI with 114bhp and a pair of 2.0 litre TDIs with 148bhp or 187bhp. It goes on sale later this summer with a starting price expected to be in the region of £20,000. At the other end of the price scale is the R8 V10 Spyder. The 553bhp supercar comes a year after the second generation coupe R8 was released. Audi reckons the new Spyder is 50 per cent stiffer than the last Spyder, and its canvas roof stows beneath a massive rear deck, able to open or close at speeds up to 31mph in 20 seconds. Fuel economy “improves” to just over 24mpg thanks to a new coasting function that idles the engine when it’s not needed. Expect it to cost around £130,000. In between those two extremes are a plethora of other upcoming Audis, including the new S5 Coupe, and the Audi TT RS which first revealed a year ago is hardly new but apparently it had never been seen in the UK before. A couple of Q7s were also at Goodwood, including the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid, which returns a claimed 156mpg, and the SQ7 – a diesel with 429bhp. There was also the refreshed A3 range. Audi’s upmarket Golf rival has been given a styling refresh along with a few new engine options. Following a trend for downsizing, there’s a 1.0 litre three -cylinder petrol unit, while a powerful 2.0 petrol engine also joins the range.