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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

Passchendaele heroes added to Dundee war roll

August 10 2017

Three members of a Dundee family who survived the Battle of Passchendaele have been added to the city’s roll of honour. The Great War Dundee Project is the story of the 30,490 men that left the city to fight in the first world war and of the people left at home. Dundee gave 63% of its eligible men to the armed forces and the directory was updated following Saturday’s Courier article about the role the city’s Johnston brothers played in the war. Of the five Johnston brothers, Frank, Walter, David and Peachy were artillerymen, and the fifth, John, was an army doctor. Frank and Walter’s entries have now been updated while David, Peachy and John have now had entries created in the returnee section of the honour roll. Gary Thomson from the Great War Dundee Project said: “Following Saturday’s Courier article on the five Johnston brothers who served in the war, with both Frank and Walter paying the ultimate sacrifice and the fact that Frank, for reasons unknown is not recognised as a casualty of war, the Great War Dundee Project has updated the entries for both Frank and Walter on the new roll of honour. “Dundee paid a high price for her war efforts. By the armistice, over 4,000 men had made the ultimate sacrifice. “Their names are recorded in the city’s original roll of honour, a simple alphabetical list of names, ranks and regiments. “Over the years mistakes and omissions have been discovered by families viewing the list resulting in handwritten corrections to the record.” Mr Thomson said one of Great War Dundee’s main objectives is to produce an “inclusive, fully searchable online roll of Dundonians who contributed to the war effort” and in doing so honour the men and women who lost their lives and those who survived. He added: “Due to the fact that Frank was not recognised as a casualty his entry on the original Dundee Roll of Honour was very sparse with only his name and regiment listed. “Saturday’s article allowed us to contact Frank’s relative who provided us with a fantastic amount on information about Frank and Walter which have been added to their entry. “Not only that but the three brothers who survived, David, John and Peachy have now have entries created, in the returnee section of the honour roll. “It is thanks to people like Douglas that these entries now have added information and photos.” Frank is believed to have been wounded in Flanders in 1917 and he endured a prolonged and difficult death in November 1919 in a private nursing home in Dundee as a result of his injuries. The family have been unable to provide sufficient independent corroboration that he died directly of his war wounds as his army records have not survived. Frank’s great nephew Douglas Norrie from near Arbroath is trying to find documentary evidence to correct this. David and Frank were both with the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) and their batteries of large long range howitzers were deployed at Corps level and primarily used to attack specific enemy targets, particularly enemy artillery. Walter and Peachy served with the Royal Field Artillery (RFA) with their respective brigades being attached to infantry divisions and their smaller, highly portable field guns being used in support of infantry. The fifth of the brothers, Captain (Dr) John McPherson Johnston was a doctor and served with the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and was awarded the Silver War Badge after being discharged with TB.

Angus & The Mearns

£300 million Frank’s Law costs “very significant”

November 21 2015

Fife Council’s Lib Dem group leader has said he can’t see how Frank’s Law can be fully delivered in the current financial climate. Tay Bridgehead councillor Tim Brett said the predicted £300 million a year price tag is “very significant” and additional funding would have to be provided. He said it was with a heavy heart he admits it will be extremely difficult to implement Frank’s Law in Scotland unless full additional funding is provided. Health Secretary Shona Robison cited the £300m figure from work carried out by her officials and Stirling University’s Professor David Bell. Mr Brett said: “It can be very difficult to know when a person may die and therefore the current arrangements to say that people can receive free home care in their last six months of life is difficult if not impossible to implement.” He continued: “The other bigger issue for all of us is that while we would like to see Frank’s Law introduced, the fact remains that nearly all local authorities across Scotland are struggling to meet the needs of their populations at the present time.” Amanda’s husband Frank, former Dundee United and Manchester United star, was diagnosed with dementia at 59 and died shortly after his 65th birthday. The Kopel family paid thousands of pounds in care costs until just weeks before his death. The Courier has backed Amanda’s campaign, as have a number of footballing stars. Health Secretary Shona Robison said a decision on Frank’s Law could be made by the time parliament breaks up in March. Frank’s Law candidate Pat Kelly previously said the estimated £300m price tag should not be the project’s death knell. He said one person’s dignity “has no price tag” and that 1p on income tax could raise £330m. In response to Mr Brett’s comments, Mr Kelly added: “The Barnett consequentials means that £800 million will come to Scotland by Westminster, so perhaps some of that money can be ring-fenced for Frank’s Law. “That with the 1p in income tax shows there’s money there.”


‘I was blessed to have him’ – Amanda Kopel on life after Frank

September 3 2016

As Dundee United legend Frank Kopel’s widow Amanda fights for free care to be extended to under 65s with dementia, she opens up to Gayle Ritchie about losing her husband. In the early stages of his illness, iconic footballer Frank Kopel would smile at video footage of his greatest goal. As his dementia worsened, he would gaze impassively at the television screen, asking his wife Amanda, “Who scored that?” Not only had Frank forgotten how skilled a footballer he was, he had forgotten who he was. Frank, who was in Manchester United’s travelling squad when they won the 1968 European Cup and was then part of Dundee United’s great team of the 1970s and 1980s, was just 59 when he was told that he had dementia in 2009. Because he was under 65, he was unable to qualify for free personal care. As a result, the Kopel family struggled on for six years, paying vast amounts of money – around £300 a week – to ensure Frank got the care he needed at home. He reached the qualifying age for free services 19 days before his death in April 2014. Since Frank’s diagnosis, Amanda, 66, has campaigned tirelessly for Frank’s Law – a law which would extend free care to under 65s with dementia. At her home in Kirriemuir, she recalls the moment her husband received his diagnosis. “It was the end of our world as we knew it. We wondered whether to go public, but Frankie turned to me and said ‘Amanda – tell them. It’ll be too late for me but it could help other people’. I feel now that I’m finishing a job Frankie started.” Amanda won’t stop calling for fairness and equality in provision just because the love of her life has gone. She’s lobbied Parliament and engaged with politicians of all the major parties to raise awareness and seek change, and the campaign has garnered nationwide attention from MSPs, celebrities and sporting figures alike. But it has yet to be passed into law. Of the 85,807 dementia sufferers in Scotland, 3,201 are under 65 and not entitled to free personal care. “I’m doing this for Frankie and for all under-65s in Scotland whose lives are damaged by unequal provision,” Amanda tells me. “Dementia is a horrible disease whether you’re 45 or 95. Age is just a number so why are people being discriminated against? If Frank’s Law is passed, financial hardship for under 65s with dementia will ease and their quality of life will improve. “The campaign keeps me going; it keeps me focused. I refuse point blank to give up – to let both Frankie and all those other people down.” When you meet Amanda, she comes across as a bright, warm, sunny individual with a sense of humour. I discovered this a few weeks ago when I dressed up as Forfar Athletic’s football mascot, Baxter the Bridie, and was presented with a Frank’s Law T-shirt by Amanda ahead of a match. But behind the smiling and joking is a side Amanda protects from the public glare. “People see me and think I’m coping because I’m laughing, I’m talking and I’m getting out, but life is very lonely without Frankie,” she admits. “I could walk into a room with 10,000 people in it and still be alone. Frankie and I were soulmates. I miss him. But I know he’s pulling the strings from heaven saying ‘keep on going, hen’. Amanda and Frank grew up in the same Falkirk street as children. When they first met, Amanda was eight, and Frank was 10. He had a football under his arm and asked if she wanted to go to the park. “We tootled down there and Frankie kicked a ball while I went on the swing. Even then I knew he was somebody special. We shared our first kiss at a party when I was 12 and our first date was to watch a football match - Stirling Albion vs Alloa.” The couple married in 1969, as Frank’s football career was going from strength to strength and Amanda was working for a bank. “People tease me that I’m one of the original WAGS,” she laughs. “Somewhere inside me there’s a Victoria Beckham waiting to get out! “Frankie always said he was lucky to do a job he loves. We had a brilliant life and then this disease came to our door. It destroyed Frankie’s body and mind but it never destroyed the love we had for each other. “Sometimes I find it difficult to remember the good times because I still see what that horrible disease did to him. Dementia has been described as the ‘long goodbye’ – you watch someone slowly being robbed of their life, of their dignity.” When Amanda noticed Frank confusing simple issues, such as totting up figures in his job as a sales rep, she put it down to stress at work. But as the illness took hold, she became Frank’s full-time carer. She recalls a day when he turned to her and asked: “Where do you live?” “I thought he was joking. I told him where I lived and he said: ‘You do not. 'Amanda and I stay there. Do you know Amanda?’ I was in pieces but I couldn’t cry in front of him.” A few weeks later, Amanda dug out their wedding album and asked Frank who was in the pictures. “He knew it was me, but couldn’t work out I was sitting beside him. I explained I was just an older, fatter version. He burst into tears and said: ‘What’s happening to me, Amanda?’” Things got progressively worse and it got to the stage where Amanda felt she was looking after an “adult baby”. “Frankie was frustrated – he knew what he was trying to say but he couldn’t get the words out. He became doubly incontinent, couldn’t feed himself, his mobility went and he lost sight in his left eye.” But there were moments of lucidity, right up until the end. One memory that will stay with Amanda forever is of the day they danced together, a few weeks before his death. “I was feeding Frankie in the kitchen when the Elvis song, The Wonder of You, came on the radio. He stood up and started to sing and dance with me. He held me until it stopped and said: ‘Amanda, you’re beautiful. I will always love you’. Then he went back into his other world.” Then there was the time Frank failed to recognise himself scoring that incredible goal against Anderlecht in Belgium in 1979 which saw Dundee United through to the next round of the Uefa Cup. Watching a rerun, he asked Amanda: ‘Who scored that goal?’. “He didn’t even know he was a footballer,” she says. Because the Kopels were paying for Frank’s personal care, they were strapped for cash and forced to sell one of his League Cup winners’ medals with Dundee United and his pride and joy – a blazer from when he was a player at Manchester United under Sir Matt Busby. Touchingly, the collector who bought the blazer returned it after hearing of Frank’s illness. The family also faced the distress of feeling unable to get the correct diagnosis of Frank’s condition until having his medical history re-examined by neuropathologist Dr Willie Stewart. “He had been misdiagnosed and it became clear his disease was caused by football and recurrent head trauma,” says Amanda. “I’ve got photos of Frankie heading the ball and it’s worrying. I wonder what damage was done back then.” Frank passed away in Amanda’s arms at their home after picking up a chest infection. Clutching a locket which holds a photo of Frank, Amanda recalls: “It was just the three of us – me, Frankie and our son Scott. Frankie chose his moment. He said: ‘I’m tired, Amanda, so tired’ and lay down on the pillow. That was the last thing he said. “There was a lot of laughter in our marriage – Frankie and I shared the same sense of humour so it wasn’t all about tears. I was blessed to have him in my life for so many years. “When the time comes, I know he’ll be waiting for me.” In June, Amanda received the degree of Doctor of Laws from Dundee University in recognition of her campaign for Frank’s Law. She’s heavily involved in raising awareness of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) – a form of younger-onset dementia associated with repeated sport-related head trauma, and is working with a Glasgow-based research team headed by Dr Stewart to further studies into the links between CTE and brain injuries. Meanwhile, her campaign has enjoyed several high-profile boosts, with Andy Murray posing with a Frank’s Law T-shirt at Rafael Nadal’s local club in Mallorca in July, and the Spaniard himself showed similar support in May. Celebrity backing has also come from Game of Thrones actor Ron Donachie, Deacon Blue singer Ricky Ross and TV queen Lorraine Kelly. Ultimately, Amanda’s story is one of hope, tenacity and perseverance in pursuit of eventual success. She won’t give up until the law is changed.   For more details on Frank’s Law, see www.facebook.com/Frank.Kopels.Law, and frankslaw.org

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


Celtic legend Billy McNeill gives backing to Frank’s Law

February 3 2017

Scottish football legend Billy McNeill has backed the campaign to make Frank’s Law a reality. McNeill, who captained Celtic to European Cup glory as one of the Lisbon Lions in 1967, has thrown his weight behind the bid for a fairer care system. The first British footballer to hold aloft the European Cup sent Amanda Kopel a photograph with him holding a green and white T-shirt, representing his Celtic heritage, to show his support. Mrs Kopel said: “I am absolutely over the moon to be sent this photo from one of the greatest Celtic players, who I know Frankie had the utmost respect for. Billy McNeill and his lovely wife Liz are proud to support Frank’s Law.” Dundee United legend Frank Kopel and his wife Amanda paid around £300 a week for him to have personal care in his Kirriemuir home after he was diagnosed with dementia aged 59. The former left-back was eligible for just 19 days of free personal care before his death in April 2014, despite living with the illness for nearly six years. Scottish Government ministers have ordered a feasibility study into the proposals, which is expected to report back in the summer, but there is now a majority at Holyrood backing the bid. The Tories have promised to bring forward a Frank’s Law bill if the SNP continues to drag its heels. Mr McNeill’s backing came as Nicola Sturgeon defended her record on care for the under-65s at Holyrood. The First Minister was questioned by one of her own MSPs, Linda Fabiani. Ms Sturgeon said: “Last year, NHS Health Scotland published ‘Dementia and equality – meeting the challenge in Scotland’, which made recommendations on improving services for the under-65s. “Those included increasing workforce knowledge, improving information for employers and having more age-appropriate services. “We will continue to consider the report’s recommendations as part of the next dementia strategy. “We are taking action for people under 65. Post-diagnostic services focus on key areas such as ensuring that social networks are sustained as far as possible, signposting to age-appropriate peer support and helping with some of the financial issues that can impact on that particular care group.” Meanwhile, Dundee councillor Ian Borthwick has welcomed Age Scotland’s backing of Frank’s Law. Mr Borthwick, who was an officer at Age Concern for 30 years, said: “ At times it was quite harrowing and difficult to be aware of families struggling to maintain support for their loves ones, particularly those aged between 50 and 64 – below when you can receive care.”

Angus & The Mearns

Tribute paid ahead of a celebration of Dundee United legend Frank Kopel’s life

April 21 2014

Dundee United fans paid tribute to Frank Kopel on Saturday, displaying a special banner during the McDiarmid Park clash. The former United player lost his six-year battle with dementia aged 65 on Wednesday. A private committal will be held this Wednesday at Parkgrove Crematorium, Friockheim, followed by a service of celebration at Old Parish Church, Kirriemuir. Frank’s wife Amanda said: “The day of the week, Wednesday. Frankie and I were married on a Wednesday. Our son Scott was born on a Wednesday. Frankie went home to heaven on a Wednesday. We will celebrate Frankie’s life next Wednesday.”

UK & World

Teacher Jeremy Forrest guilty of abducting 15-year-old schoolgirl

June 20 2013

Teacher Jeremy Forrest has been found guilty of abducting a 15-year-old girl who he took to France when their sexual affair was about to be exposed. Forrest, of Chislehurst Road, Petts Wood, south east London, was convicted by the jury following an eight-day trial at Lewes Crown Court. The 30-year-old was labelled a "paedophile" by the prosecution, who said he "groomed" the vulnerable teenager and his actions were a gross breach of trust. The trial has heard how the pupil had just turned 15 when she started a sexual relationship with Forrest after developing a crush on him at Bishop Bell C of E School in Eastbourne, East Sussex. Fearing they were about to be exposed, Forrest booked them on a cross-Channel ferry from Dover to Calais on September 20 last year before spending seven days on the run in France. The trial heard that the pair had a sexual relationship. Forrest would pick the girl up in her school uniform and they would have sex in his car, in hotels and at his marital home. The court heard that the girl told a friend they had sex up to eight times a night. The girl also sent the defendant topless pictures of herself and he sent a photo of himself with his torso naked and his hands in his underpants. Richard Barton, prosecuting, said Forrest’s actions were an abuse of trust and he had not acted with the consent of the girl’s parents. He added that Forrest could be labelled a “paedophile” who had groomed the vulnerable teenager. Ronald Jaffa, defending, said the girl was “desperate and suicidal” and Forrest went with her to France to prevent her coming to harm. In a dramatic moment before the hearing got under way this morning, Forrest’s father Jim collapsed in court and was treated by a paramedic before being taken away by ambulance. The defendant, wearing a grey suit, striped shirt and purple tie, and with cropped hair and glasses, could be seen to be worried and consulted with his family as he took his seat in the dock. As the foreman of the jury announced the verdict, the girl put her head in her hands and burst out crying. As the jury arrived back in court, Forrest had turned to her and said: “I love you.” He remained stony-faced as the verdict was given. And as he was taken down to the cells, the girl said to the defendant: “I’m sorry.” In a statement read outside court by Detective Inspector Neil Ralph, the girl’s mother thanked police and French authorities for ensuring her daughter’s safe return. “As a family, for the last nine months it’s been like living out your worst nightmare,” she said. “Every aspect of our lives has been affected to some degree.” Praising her family’s support, she added: “Your lives have been turned upside down yet you have been dignified when knowing the truth.”

Angus & The Mearns

Belgium club hailed for Frank’s Law gesture – 38 years after Frank Kopel’s ‘Arrow in Anderlecht’

April 12 2017

Frank Kopel’s widow Amanda has been left speechless following a “wonderful gesture” from Belgian giants Anderlecht - the club her late husband scored his greatest goal against. His stunning late strike in a 1979 UEFA Cup tie against the Belgian club - against whom he made his European debut for Manchester United in 1968 - took the Tangerines into the next round on the away goals rule and is part of United’s European folklore. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeduPujTuyI United fans nicknamed him the ‘Arrow in Anderlecht’ while Scotland manager Jock Stein chose it as his goal of the season that year and United boss Jim McLean described it as one of the best he’d ever seen in Europe. Mrs Kopel was reduced to tears when she opened a parcel from Belgium which contained a Frank’s Law T-shirt which had been signed by the current Anderlecht squad. Mrs Kopel said: “I am really so overwhelmed to receive this T-shirt especially this week as it will be three years on April 16 since Frankie died. “He was so chuffed and so proud in a humble way when Jock Stein chose it as goal of the season that year and that the United supporters named him the ‘Arrow in Anderlecht’. “Our friends Graeme Marshall and Rob Morrison were instrumental in getting the T-shirt signed and unbeknown to me had been ‘plotting’ behind my back." Mrs Kopel phoned the Belgian club to thank them and they said they would do "whatever they could" to help the Frank’s Law campaign. The Anderlecht signed T-shirt will now join a collection of signed Frank’s Law T-shirts which will be framed and auctioned to help with research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and dementia. https://www.facebook.com/Frank.Kopels.Law/posts/1956814574549755 Mrs Kopel said: “I so remember the night I received the phone call from Doris McLean to say that Anderlecht had been knocked out of the cup and it was Frankie who had scored the goal. “She said Jim had said it was one of the best goals he had ever seen in Europe. “Frankie was always so humble about it - whenever anyone asked he would tell them the ball came to his feet from Luggy (Paul Sturrock), he closed his eyes, hit it and the next thing he knew it was on the back of the net. “That was my Frankie, a humble man, whose team-mates knew when he crossed over that line on the park, he gave 100%” Frank’s Law - which is supported by The Courier - would give under-65s with debilitating conditions the same rights to state support as older people. Mr Kopel was diagnosed with dementia aged 59 and his family had to pay about £300 a week to support him. When he turned 65, he was eligible for just 19 days of free personal care before his death in April 2014. Scottish Government ministers have ordered a feasibility study into the proposals which is expected to report back in the summer. Mrs Kopel said: “I hope and pray it is not another negative answer for all those living in hope. “We are hearing week in and week out that Scotland needs independence - well I would also like to say that Scotland needs Frank’s Law."

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.