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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...

Angus & The Mearns

Angus Council SNP group back plastic ban

March 5 2018

The SNP group on Angus Council have given their full support for calls to consider alternatives to all single use plastic currently used on council premises. Angus Provost Ronnie Proctor initially led the call to ban plastic drinking straws, with a view to introducing measures that would drastically reduce the use of other single use plastic items such as carrier bags. However, Monifieth and Sidlaw SNP Councillor Beth Whiteside is calling for the council to be ‘more ambitious’. She said: “As an Angus Councillor, I welcome the recent spotlight on plastic waste, including the campaign by our Provost, Ronnie Proctor, to ban plastic straws and other single use plastic on council premises. “It’s encouraging to see the support for change across the board. “I believe, however, that we must be much more ambitious if we are to have an impact on the problem. In addition to straws and cups, we need to look at the mountain of single use plastic bottles, bags, packaging and throwaway fast food containers that we recklessly discard. “According to ecowatch.com, approximately 10% of the waste we produce is plastic; in the last 10 years alone, we produced as much plastic as in the whole of the last century – scary stuff, especially as none of this is bio-degradable." Ms Whiteside also unveiled proposals by the SNP group to take the campaign out into local communities. “We plan to take the campaign to local businesses, suggesting bio-gradable products for takeaway food in place of polystyrene containers, which can’t be recycled. “We will also encourage food and drink outlets in Angus to consider incentives, such as discounts for customers using their own mugs for takeaway coffee. “Small things, but each one may help to change our habits for the better. While we appreciate that some changes cost money, the public are becoming more aware of the problems. “Businesses showing green initiatives may find they pay off, with increased support from their environmentally aware customers. “Finally, on a personal level, simple changes can make a difference. I urge everyone to think about the waste we create ourselves — try using refillable bottles for water, travel mugs for take-away coffee, and re-usable lunch boxes and bags for packed lunches.” The move was welcomed by Angus Provost Ronnie Proctor. The Conservative Kirriemuir and Dean Councillor said: “I very much welcome Councillor Whiteside’s comments. “This is an issue that transcends politics, and is one that we can tackle by councillors of all parties and none working together to make a real difference in our communities for future generations.”

Angus & The Mearns

Police investigate ‘deplorable’ vandalism at JM Barrie’s grave in Kirriemuir

June 26 2014

A vandalism attack on the Angus grave of Peter Pan creator JM Barrie has been condemned by a local councillor. Major Ronnie Proctor’s home looks out on to Kirriemuir Cemetery where the attack was discovered on Wednesday. Stones were removed from the graveside and moved to another part of the cemetery an act described as “disgusting” by a local police officer. Barrie’s grave is a popular visiting place for people from outwith the town and Major Proctor said the desecration was “deplorable”. He said: “There are a lot of good young people in the town but it’s always the case that the minority spoil it for the majority. “It’s a senseless act. It is an iconic place where many tourists come to visit. Something like this could have a negate people from coming to visit. “That in itself would have a detrimental impact on the town.” Born in Kirriemuir in 1860, JM Barrie is most remembered for the creation of Peter Pan and the world of Never Land. At his request, Barrie was buried in the family burial plot in Kirriemuir Cemetery and his name was simply added below the names of those who had gone before him. Kirriemuir PC Gail Beattie appealed for witnesses to the grave vandalism. She Tweeted: ““Disgusted to be appealing for witnesses to a vandalism to the grave of JM Barrie.”

Angus & The Mearns

The Black Watch’s fallen fondly remembered at First World War battlefields

July 9 2015

The Black Watch Association (BWA) has led a poignant pilgrimage to the battlefields of the First World War where thousands of men from Angus, Dundee and Fife perished. In a trip that led one of the area’s former local authority leaders to pen his own remembrance poem, family ties were also commemorated and tribute was paid at The Black Watch Corner memorial unveiled in 2014 near Ypres to honour the 8,960 officers and soldiers killed, as well as more than 20,000 men of the regiment wounded in the conflict. Angus BWA branch secretary Tom McCluskey and his wife Anne devised the detailed itinerary that also saw a wreath laid at the emotional Menin Gate ceremony. The travelling party included retired Black Watch major Ronnie Proctor, his wife Sonia and their teenage grandson Ruaraidh, who played the Flowers of the Forest lament at the famous night-time Last Post ceremony. The group also included Angus councillor Bob Myles, who was so moved by the experience he wrote the verse Great War? en route back to Scotland. Although he has visited the fields of Flanders on a number of occasions, Mr Proctor said the latest trip brought special significance for the family. “We managed to locate my wife’s great-uncle George’s grave in a civilian cemetery. “He was a Kirrie lad and died of wounds on Hogmanay night 1914.” At the Menin Gate Mr Proctor said he was “honoured” to read the exhortation and lay a wreath in front of the thousand-strong crowd, before proudly watching Ruaraidh play the famed piper’s lament. Anne McCluskey located the name of her grandfather Corporal William Moreland on the memorial wall at Dud Corner cemetery and Angus agricultural contractor Ivan Laird found his uncle’s name on the memorial wall at Tyne Cot, the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in France and Flanders. Mr Myles said: “The trip was a moving experience, made very special by the research and organisation of Tam and Anne McCluskey and Ronnie Proctor of The Black Watch Association. “They were able to track down the graves of relatives of our party and a moving tribute was delivered at each, accompanied by a lament on the pipes by young Ruaraidh Proctor.”

Angus & The Mearns

Three generations honour fallen Black Watch soldier

January 2 2015

The life of a Black Watch soldier who died on the first Hogmanay of the First World War has been commemorated by three generations of his family. A century after the death of Private George Reid, his great-niece Sonia Proctor placed a cross on the memorial wall at the regimental museum in Perth. Pte Reid died from wounds sustained in action against the Germans at Givenchy and was one of eight brothers to have served in the conflict, three in The Black Watch. Mrs Proctor, accompanied by her daughter Fiona and granddaughter Rhiannon, made the dedication to a Black Watch lament played by her grandson, Ruaraidh. Mrs Proctor’s husband Ronnie, secretary of The Black Watch Association, educates schoolchildren about the war in his role as honorary curator of The Black Watch Museum at Balhousie Castle. Major Proctor said his grandfather served in the war at the same time as the Reids, a Kirriemuir family with strong ties to The Black Watch. Pte Reid went to Flanders in October 1914 and arrived during the British Expeditionary Force’s retreat from the Aisne front. “They were very quickly put into the lines,” said Major Proctor. “Sonia’s granddad was in the Kirriemuir company of the 5th (Territorial) Battalion Black Watch, who were the first ones to deploy, arriving in October as well. “George had been involved after the first battle of Ypres and he died of his wounds on Hogmanay. When Sonia’s granddad tried to find his brother, he had already died.” At the time, no one could have known how important Ypres would become during the war. The Belgian town had access to the coast and was ideal for maintaining British Army supply lines. The memorial wall project has been made possible through funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for Scotland, The Black Watch Association and the support of the Lady Haig Poppy Factory and the Guildry Incorporation of Perth.

Readers' letters

April 17: When the dust finally settles where will all this money have come from?

April 17 2012

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir, - The current SNP-run Dundee council cannot but help remind me of a young lady who has just received a new suite and now needs a new carpet, new curtains, or whatever the latest suitable matching accessory would be. The V&A is the suite and a new station building the latest 'whatever'. All very nice, very nice indeed, but where is all this money coming from? As cutbacks wound deep into the heart of our community, is this the best way to spend what little there is? Yet, upon reflection, it is not that little, is it? Buildings falling with buildings rising is the dynamic, ever-changing landscape Dundee has presented for some decades, but now it has shifted up a gear, almost challenging the film Dark City in this regard. Time-lapse photography with a decade beat from across the Tay would present a bewildering view of this dithering plan. When the dust settles, if the plan holds, we will, at last, behold a river front of which we will be very proud. Proud, that is, in the light of a shooting star that may chance upon a moonbeam, while we clutch the few pennies we may have left, if any. And, this new station building is it not like something seen in Dubai? Leslie Milligan.18b Myrtlehall Gardens,Dundee. Must taxpayer pay for pension generosity? Sir, - A study by Taxpayer Scotland has highlighted a £4 billion black hole in Scotland's local authorities pension schemes. The 32 councils have pension assets of £18 billion but liabilities of £22 billion. It is not just the stock market but the gold-plated pensions lavished on public sector staff, and in particular the better paid, which has resulted in this mess. Senior staff have been allowed to "retire" early with generous severance packages and many were then re-employed as consultants. In the private sector final salary schemes are now rarer than hens' teeth. Already 20% of the money that the public pay in council tax goes to this pension fund. Do the councils expect the taxpayer to pick up more of the bill for their pension generosity? Changes must be made and they could start with substantially increasing the pension contributions of those earning over £40,000. After all, they receive huge pensions compared with those who undertake the demanding front-line services. All new public sector employees should be given a less costly (to the taxpayer) pension scheme as is now the norm in the private sector. Clark Cross.138 Springfield Road,Linlithgow. No lack of laws, just police Sir, - Most people, including police officers, can spot the difference between folk happily enjoying a pint in the sunshine and youngsters getting tanked up and causing mayhem. Do we really need contentious bylaws from our over-protective councillors to get rid of anti-social drinking? If Councillor Peter Grant thinks a blanket alcohol ban (Courier, April 13) will make even a small dent in youth behaviour, cloud cuckoo land springs to mind. There are, and have been for years, laws to combat this type of behaviour, breach of the peace, vandalism, malicious mischief to name but a few. The big problem is that there isn't anything like enough police officers in the area to enforce them, so we have to wonder who will police the bylaws brought in by our wise councillors. John Strachan.23 Beechwood Avenue,Glenrothes. "Great to see you back" Sir, - On behalf of Angus and Perthshire Area of the Royal British Legion Scotland, may we express our pleasure and relief that The Black Watch, 3 SCOTS, have returned home to UK from Afghanistan safe and sound? We'd also like to endorse Major Ronnie Proctor's remarks in The Courier (April 10) that the battalion's soldiers deserve our support but we in the Legion go further. Major Proctor belongs to The Black Watch Association, and, entirely rightly, champions their own veterans and serving personnel; the Legion, however, offers help and support to servicemen and servicewomen of any cap badge and of all three services. Our 16 branches in Angus and Perthshire all have welfare officers who are there to help the ex-service community, and if the Legion can't, we're almost sure to know someone who can so if you are ex-service and have a problem, bear us in mind. But for the meantime, we are with Major Proctor, and say equally proudly to The Black Watch: "Welcome home: it's great to see you back." Alasdair Maclean.Press Officer,Angus and Perthshire Area, Royal British LegionScotland. A fine recruiting sergeant... Sir, - I would like to thank the Economist magazine, which mocked-up a map of Scotland as "Skintland" on its front cover, as this has proven a magnificent recruiting sergeant for the independence campaign. The cover also goes against the article itself, which admits that Scotland is not subsidised from Westminster and that the Scottish economy performs better than any other nation or region in the UK outside South-East England. Thanks again. Alex Orr.77 Leamington Terrace,Edinburgh. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL. Letters should be accompanied by an address and a daytime telephone number.

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

Angus Council election results — Ward 1: Kirriemuir and Dean 

May 5 2017

The Conservatives have got off to a very strong start in Angus, taking a seat from the SNP in the Kirriemuir and Dean ward. Current Conservative councillor Ronnie Proctor retained his seat and will be joined by fellow Tory Angus Macmillan Douglas in the council chambers. Current councillor Jeanette Gaul (SNP) lost her seat with new SNP councillor Julie Bell gaining enough first preference votes to be elected in the first round of counting. Mr Macmillan Douglas said: "I’m overjoyed to be elected for Kirriemuir and Dean. "It was a very good result for the Conservatives in the first ward so hopefully it will be a good day for the party." Mr Proctor said: "It is great to be re-elected and to increase my share of the vote. The result also shows a good swing to the Conservative and Unionsists. Irrespective of political affiliation, I have worked hard to serve the people of Kirriemuir and Dean ward over my time as a councillor and I will continue to do that in the five years ahead. Ms Bell said: "It's all getting very real. We worked a hard campaign getting our message across on the doors." She added: "The General Election has completely hijacked the local elections. I don't think the normal rules apply."     Result Jeanette Gaul (SNP) - 413 Julie Bell (SNP) - 1240 Ronnie Proctor (Conservatives) - 1397 Angus Macmillan Douglas (Conservatives) - 1118 Gordon Watson (Labour) - 203 Liz Petrie (Liberal Democrats) - 206 Turnout 52.9% Total votes - 4,577 Rejected papers - 117

Angus & The Mearns

Conservatives, Independents and Liberal Democrats form new Angus Council administration

May 16 2017

A new administration made up of Conservatives, Independents and Liberal Democrats councillors will lead Angus Council for the next five years. The new Angus provost is Kirriemuir and Dean Conservative councillor Ronnie Proctor and the depute provost is Forfar Independent Colin Brown. Both were elected at the first meeting of Angus Council since the local elections earlier this month. The SNP group, which is now in opposition, proposed Forfar councillor Lynne Devine for both positions, but she was defeated by 18 votes to nine. The new leader of Angus Council is Brechin and Edzell councillor Bob Myles, who previously led the Angus Alliance between 2007 and 2012. Arbroath West, Letham and Friockheim councillor David Fairweather will be the depute leader. The council leader referred to Mr Proctor’s long service in the Black Watch as he proposed him as provost. Mr Myles said: “I’m sure he will do this very well as his duties with the Black Watch have enabled him to deal with many walks of society. “I’m sure he will carry out the role in an excellent manner.” After accepting the provost chain, Mr Proctor said: “I am deeply honoured to be sitting at this end of the chamber and to be elected as the provost of Angus. It is a great honour and I do not take it lightly. “I see the main journey of this council is to support the people of Angus, the people who have elected us all. “I think that, irrespective of political party, should be our main effort for the next five years.” Carnoustie councillor Brian Boyd, who is the only Independent that is not part of the new administration, cast no vote on the election of provost. After being elected depute provost Mr Brown said: “I am delighted to be chosen as depute provost for Angus and I will give it my full attention and support the provost in any way I can.” The conveners and composition of the council committees were also agreed. They are: Children and learning – convener Mark Salmond, vice convener Derek Wann. Communities – convener Craig Fotheringham, vice convener Lois Speed. Civic licensing – convener Craig Fotheringham, vice convener Richard Moore. Development standards – convener David Lumgair, vice convener Gavin Nicol. Policy and resources – convener Bob Myles, vice convener David Fairweather. Scrutiny and audit committee – convener Alex King, vice convener Bill Duff. The meeting was initially led by Angus Council chief executive Richard Stiff before the new provost was elected and Mr Proctor took the chair.  

Angus & The Mearns

Call for legislation to crack down on people masquerading as armed forces veterans

March 28 2017

Angus Council will ask Scotland’s veterans’ minister to consider legislation against so-called “Walter Mitty” characters and bogus charities diverting cash from genuine causes. Councillor Ronnie Proctor, a retired Black Watch Major, made a motion to the full Angus Council highlighting concerns about people masquerading as armed forces veterans, and the “darker element” of public affinity for veterans. He used three recent examples from Scottish legal cases to illustrate the harm fraudulent claims can do. Former Army clerk Danny Hutchison claimed to be an injured war veteran and appeared with Prince Harry, president of the Invictus Games for wounded service personnel, David Thomas was an SAS fantasist who poisoned his wife with laxatives over three years and Allan Woods doctored a photo to make out he was in the Parachute Regiment. “These three cases happened in Scotland. There are many more but these false claims are all offensive although not illegal,” said Councillor Proctor. “It is my personal view there should be legal consequences when people fabricate military service, especially when those claims have a negative impact on others.” The chamber heard an Aberdeen man was recently disbarred from the Royal Marines association after making false claims. His motion was agreed by the chamber, and chief executive Richard Stiff will write to Minister Keith Brown on the subject. “Angus is an area with a strong, proud military heritage,” he added. “Men and women from throughout the country over the generations have signed up for service during peacetime and in war, many serving with great distinction in sometimes hostile conditions. “We also have RM Condor in our community, with many marines choosing to settle in Angus on leaving the service. “And the Black Watch is just an example of a local regiment. “Angus Council leads the way in dealing with out veterans’ community.” Seconding the motion, Councillor Bill Bowles said: “Charitable organisations have sprung up recently on the back of the very good work done by the likes of PoppyScotland, the British Legion and the one we dealt with recently, Houses for Heroes. “There are organisations springing up with no real tangible accountability and we find out up to 80% of them are used to pay people collecting the money.” Councillor David Fairweather said he had heard of a case in his Arbroath area. He said: “Someone had joined the Royal Marines Association in Arbroath, someone from Aberdeen who said he was an ex-para and it turned out he was a Walter Mitty. This is disgraceful behaviour.” Councillor Sheila Hands said she is a director of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and welcomed any help for the agency to ensure its help went to legitimate veterans.