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Business news

Hammer blow as Dundee firm Fenwick Blacksmiths goes bust

April 2 2015

A blacksmiths firm which was a major supplier to collapsed Dundee building firm Muirfield Contracts has gone to the wall. Liquidators were called in this week to 111-year-old Fenwick Blacksmiths after the firm’s order book was dealt a fatal blow with the loss of its regular contract work for Muirfield. A total of 14 staff have been made redundant as a result of the provisional liquidation of the Fairfield Street firm. The liquidators linked Fenwick’s demise with that of Muirfield, which suddenly went out of business early last month. Fenwick’s was founded in 1904 and was one of Scotland’s leading traditional blacksmiths. It offered bespoke solutions across three divisions blacksmithing, structural steel and core cutting and turnover in the most recent year topped £800,000. The firm has worked on a number of high-profile contracts including providing steel for Greenmarket and Gellatly Street car parks in Dundee and the rejuvenation of the ornate steels atop the Malmaison hotel. Provisional liquidators FRP Advisory said the administration of Muirfield was a “principal cause” of Fenwick’s collapse. FRP Advisory’s Tom MacLennan said efforts were being made to support affected staff. “Fenwick Blacksmiths was a highly regarded specialist blacksmith business with a good customer base,” he said. “The administration of Muirfield Contracts meant that the company was unable to continue trading. “The company has been closed with immediate effect and unfortunately all 14 staff have been made redundant. “This is a difficult time for the staff and we will provide as much support to them as possible.” The provisional liquidators will now move to realise the assets of the business through a sale of property, vehicles, plant and machinery. There was no answer yesterday when The Courier attempted to contact company director Roy Ingram for comment. The collapse of Muirfield has already had a significant knock-on effect with a number of businesses including furniture maker JTC, Nicoll & Jack and Tor Homes encountering problems.

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...


Dundee man spared jail over child abuse material

October 14 2015

A Dundee man who stashed child abuse material under his bed and told police “it’s a disease and I’m fighting it” has avoided a jail term. Cameron Fenwick, of North Street, previously admitted having indecent images of children over a four-year period. The 47-year-old was sentenced to a three-year supervision order, 140 hours of unpaid work and ordered to take part in a sex offender rehabilitation programme. He was also ordered not to access the internet without prior approval and placed on the sex offenders register for three years. The court heard he had 25 images and 72 videos of child abuse, totalling 10 hours and 23 minutes. Five of the images and 32 of the videos found on Fenwick’s laptop were classed as the most serious, category A. A further nine images and 15 videos were classed as category B. Male and female children ranging in ages from pre-school to mid-teens were depicted in the footage, which was discovered after officers raided Fenwick’s former home address. Depute fiscal Eilidh Robertson told a previous hearing at Dundee Sheriff Court: “He stated, ‘It was me, I looked at the indecent images. It’s a disease and I’m fighting it.’ “Whilst the officers were searching his bedroom, the accused further stated ‘The laptop you’re after is under the bed. Everything you want is on there.’ “A number of items were seized from that address, including a laptop found in the accused’s bedroom.” After being taken to police headquarters, Fenwick told officers: “I don’t get any sexual gratification from it. It’s not like I’m hurting anyone.” Scott Norrie, defending, said a social work report described Fenwick as an “introverted character” who had “difficulty engaging with others”. Mr Norrie said: “He is a man who has taken this on board. He has a strong work ethic and he is suitable for a direct alternative to custody.” Fenwick previously admitted having indecent photographs or pseudo photographs of children between December 8 2010 and December 3 2014, at a property in St Columba Gardens. He further admitted taking or permitting to be taken or making indecent photographs or pseudo photographs of children, between the same dates and at the same location. Sheriff Alastair Carmichael told Fenwick: “You have pled guilty to a particularly serious offence. “But in view of the relatively small number of images, the fact you are a first-time offender and your suitability for the Moving Forward, Making Changes programme I can take the line of a community-based disposal. “If you make a mess of this order, you will come back before me and there is a high chance you will receive a custodial sentence.”

Business news

Historic Dundee blacksmiths shuts doors as Muirfield Contracts fall-out continues

April 1 2015

A 111-year-old specialist blacksmiths business which was a major supplier to failed Dundee building firm Muirfield Contracts has itself collapsed. A total of 14 staff have been made redundant as a result of the provisional liquidation of Fairfield Street-based Fenwick Blacksmiths. The failure of the business has been directly linked to the demise of Muirfield Contracts, which suddenly went out of business early last month with the loss of more than 360 jobs. Fenwick’s was founded in 1904 and was one of Scotland’s leading traditional blackmiths. It offered a bespoke solutions across three divisions - blacksmithing, structural steel and core cutting - and turnover in the most recent year topped £800,000. Provisional liquidators FRP Advisory said the administration of Muirfield was a “principal cause” of the situation at Fenwick Blacksmiths. Provisional liquidator Tom MacLennan of FRP Advisory said: “Fenwick Blacksmiths was a highly regarded specialist blacksmith business with a good customer base. “The administration of Muirfield Contracts meant that the company was unable to continue trading. “The company has been closed with immediate effect and unfortunately all 14 staff have been made redundant. “This is a difficult time for the staff and we will provide as much support to them as possible.” The provisional liquidators will now move to realise the assets of the business throguh a sale of property, vehicles, plant and machinery.


Norman Fenwick

June 24 2010

The former night news editor of The Courier, Norman Fenwick, has died in Roxburghe House, Dundee, after battling cancer for more than a year. Golf fanatic Mr Fenwick (75) had survived two heart attacks and bypass surgery to keep swinging his clubs on golf courses across the world during his retirement. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in February last year and, with his wife Eleanor, was determined to enjoy the time he had left, touring Scotland and continuing to play golf during gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. However, the disease spread and he spent the last seven weeks in Roxburghe House, where he died with his wife and daughter Pauline at his side. Mr Fenwick retired in 1999 after more than 48 years' service with D. C. Thomson & Co Ltd in Dundee. He left Morgan Academy in 1951 to join the sports desk of the Evening Telegraph in Meadowside as a sub-editor. He later transferred to news and, after national service in the RAF, returned to the Telegraph in 1954. He moved to The Courier in Bank Street four years later and, after spells as chief sub-editor and leader writer, he was appointed night news editor. A low-handicap player when he was younger, Mr Fenwick was a former champion of Dundee Press Golf Club and a member of Strathmore Golf Club. He was also a keen gardener and traveller. He is survived by his wife, sons Gary and David, who both live in Edinburgh, daughter Pauline, who lives in Dollar, and four grandchildren.

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Historian seeks backing for Glen Doll dream

February 3 2015

While most academics spend years saving for a pile of urban bricks and mortar to call their own, Eleanor Harris had slightly different ideas. With sweeping views, a spacious garden and no noisy neighbours, Blair House in Angus sounds like an impossible dream for any first-time buyer. But the 35-year-old historian has set about turning the former Glen Doll outdoor centre, at the head of Glen Clova, into a “house for Scotland to come and visit”. The former 20-bed field centre was home to two generations of Edinburgh Academy staff and pupils from 1970 until it closed in 2013. The house is in rambling distance of Forestry Commission woods, a dozen Cairngorm Munros, habitats for eagles and red squirrels, and six sites of scientific interest like Corrie Fee. Eleanor’s father was one of a new generation of teachers who saw thousands of children use the base to camp, orienteer, botanise, and derive artistic inspiration. The post-doctorate fellow was moved to buy the property with money intended for her first house in Edinburgh, with hopes of rekindling “the spirit of Glen Doll”. She said: “To the sorrow of the biologists and geographers, staff and their families, and of generations of alumni, the school decided to sell the beloved Blair House and develop a more diverse outdoor education programme. “I decided to buy it and make it the educational field centre Blair House again. I hadn’t expected the torrent of support from the wider Blair House diaspora.” Scottish Wildlife Trust’s chief executive Jonathan Hughes described the house as “one of those rare magical places with the capacity to transform lives by reconnecting people with nature and landscape”. Edinburgh Academy rector Marco Longmore said: “The project will give many the chance to visit and experience this marvellous setting and keeps a long-standing association with this beautiful area alive.” Before the centre can open it requires massive renovation to comply with modern fire and safety legislation, and Eleanor has launched a crowd-funding appeal towards the £200,000 needed to complete work by the summer. Around £20,000 has been received in private loans from supporters, and Eleanor expects up to £80,000 in sustainability loans leaving around £100,000 to find. The effort at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/blair-house needs to hit £5,000 by March 24 to receive any money at all.


Four generations come together for Fife veteran’s 100th birthday charity celebration

April 7 2017

Four family generations will celebrate a D-Day veteran's  100th birthday year by raising money for charity. Dedicated Christian Aid supporter, the Reverend Douglas Tucker will be turning 100 this year. So to mark the occasion, three generations of his family are going to join him when he takes part in the charity’s annual sponsored walk across the Tay Bridge on April 29. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpLXZ1zaAQI The D-Day landings veteran, who lives in St Andrews and is a member of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, has taken part in the Tay Bridge Cross for the past 16 years, raising thousands of pounds for Christian Aid. However, in recent years he has only been able to complete the sponsored cross in a wheelchair, so a member of his family has always been on hand to help. This year, however, he will be joined not only by his son Peter, 55, who lives in Edinburgh, but by granddaughter Katherine Chilvers, 47, and eldest great granddaughter Eleanor Chilvers, 17. They will be travelling up from Worcestershire to lend their support to ensure the day is a memorable one. The retired minister, originally from Swansea, is one of Christian Aid’s oldest and longest serving supporters, having been involved with the charity since its beginnings in 1945 when it was created to help refugees in Europe after the war. He collected for the charity during the very first Christian Aid week. Eleanor, who is currently studying for her A levels, said: “This year will be very special for my family, celebrating our great-grandpa turning 100. “Christian Aid means so much to him having been involved with the charity for an incredible 72 years. “In one way or another, he has dedicated his life to helping others so it will be a great honour for me to help him take part in the sponsored cross raising funds for those less privileged than ourselves”. Christian Aid’s events coordinator Amy Menzies added: “It has been fantastic to see Douglas take part in the sponsored bridge cross for the past 16 years and what an achievement to still be taking part just short of his 100th birthday. “It will be great to see four generations of the Tucker family crossing the bridge this year, it will make the event that extra bit special”. Douglas’s and Eleanor’s sponsorship page is https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/GreatgrandpaandEllie. To sign up for the walk, which runs from 2pm, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk/scotland/whats-happening-near-you/events.aspx for more information.

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