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...
A Carnoustie couple's wedding plans vanished in a flash when lightning struck the spire of their chosen church in Broughty Ferry. Midwife Nadia Guild (25) had set her heart on marrying engineer fiance Stuart Findlay (27) at St Stephen's and West Church on July 3. However, her dream was shattered on Thursday when a bolt of lightning tore through the A-listed church spire, leaving a gaping hole and damaging roof tiles, timber and masonry. Invitations to the ceremony had already been sent out and Stuart was looking forward to his stag party in Edinburgh, while Nadia had planned a hen weekend in Magaluf. Nadia said, "I have wanted to get married in that church since I was a little girl, just because it is so pretty and it's got its own grounds. "We are totally devastated, you could ask one million people and nobody would ever say this has happened to them." She added, "Everything else is sorted, we were just looking into the last of the stuff to do and now this has happened. "I honestly can't believe it I'm totally sickened." Fortunately, after the couple had a frantic few days of phone calls and visits to potential venues, Invergowrie Parish Church offered to step into the breach. Nadia said, "It has been an absolute nightmare but we are very grateful to Invergowrie Parish Church and just want to put this behind us and look forward to our wedding." The Rev Jim Roy, who is interim moderator at St Stephen's and West, had to explain to Nadia's father that the building would not be ready in time for his daughter's big day. He said, "I had the girl's father on the phone and I had to tell him there is no way the main church building will be ready in time. "I believe they had already sent their invitations out." He added, "They are really the two people who were most shattered when they heard the news." The lightning damaged the wider roof space of the church and its internal masonry and stained-glass panels. The strike and loud rumble of thunder was heard throughout Broughty Ferry, and a number of homes and businesses near the church were left without power.
Staff and pupils at Invergowrie Primary have begun lessons in their new £8 million school. The return from the October holiday was delayed by two days to help with the move. Youngsters were led from Invergowrie Parish Church by piper and current pupil Cameron Bell and his older brother, Connor, on drums. Once at the school, nursery pupil Fawne Duffy and Leon McNair from P7 the youngest and oldest pupils cut the ribbon and opened the new building officially. “The new school is superb and everyone is busy getting settled in,” said head teacher Liz Douglas.
John Dow of Invergowrie, who flew in nearly 100 raids with 97 Squadron in Bomber Command during the Second World War, has died at the age of 89. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by King George VI at Buckingham Palace in June 1945 for valour and courage while flying in active operations against the enemy. The Distinguished Flying Medal was also presented to him, as was a Commendation for Meritorious Service with the Royal Air Force. On the outbreak of the war in 1939, Mr Dow at the age of 17 volunteered for the RAF and trained as a wireless operator, reaching the rank of flight lieutenant. He flew with 97 Straits Settlement Squadron, a Pathfinder Squadron which lay the flares to guide bombers to their targets. Only the best crews were chosen and Mr Dow completed three tours of duty taking part in 98 operations with a total flying time of 978 hours including raids over Oslo, Milan, Paris, St Valery, St Nazaire and Berlin. His achievement he volunteered for more operations than he was rostered to perform was remarkable in view of the considerable risks faced by Pathfinder crews of being shot down. The survival rate for one tour (30 operations) was calculated at 16%, two tours only 3% and three tours even less. Delivering the eulogy at his funeral, the Rev Robert J Ramsay told mourners at Invergowrie Parish Church there were lighter aspects to Mr Dow's duties. ''In addition to acting as wireless operator, John was in charge of two homing pigeons that would be released and sent back to base if the plane had to be ditched in the sea,'' he explained. ''Sometimes they even took a spaniel and the dog had its own log book.'' Mr Dow was born in Kilmarnock and educated at the local academy, and left to serve his apprenticeship as an electrical engineer with his father who had a plumbing and electrical business. He returned to the business after he left the RAF in 1953 and later moved to Hamilton where he met his wife Margaret. Following a spell in Motherwell he came to Dundee where he worked for the Hydro Board as an electrical engineer, retiring in 1987. Settling in Invergowrie, he and Margaret became elders of the parish church, with Mr Dow becoming particularly prominent. He served on the mission committee, helped with the parish newsletter and up to a few weeks before his death he was a volunteer driver on the car rota bringing members to worship on Sundays. On Remembrance Sunday Mr Dow, along with two other veterans, proudly laid a wreath at the war memorial in tribute to fallen comrades. He took up jogging on his retirement and completed half and full marathons. He and his wife also golfed at Downfield and at 72 he cycled from Land's End to John o' Groats resplendent each day in a shirt and tie to raise money for charity. He was also a keen walker and went regularly with friend Peter Cram to climb Munros and complete many rights-of-way walks. Mr Ramsay said John was devoted to Margaret and a caring father to Louise and Janice, whose death in 2006 affected him deeply. He was also a grandfather to Jennifer and Katie. The minister added: ''We give thanks to God for one of nature's gentlemen, remembering John's unstinting service to his country and to his church, and the love he showed to his family and friends.'' The Rev David Logan, minister of Forfar St Margaret's and a chaplain at RAF Leuchars, represented the RAF at the service. Mr Dow was laid to rest at Longforgan Cemetery.
The Right Reverend Dr Nigel Peyton has announced that he will retire as Bishop of Brechin of the Scottish Episcopal Church on July 31. Bishop Nigel was consecrated Bishop of Brechin in St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee in 2011, returning to the diocese and city where his ministry began in 1976. Bishop Nigel said: “I shall always be proud and grateful that the Diocese of Brechin has provided the bookends of my 41 years’ ministry. “My time here has been a privilege, challenging and rewarding in equal measure. In our city and region, local things matter, and I have enjoyed working with so many good and interesting people”. Partnering with Church Army, Bishop Nigel pioneered the Dundee Centre of Mission, encouraging outreach initiatives across the diocese under the strategic leadership of a new diocesan council. Clergy and lay training have been a priority and he recently inaugurated a new diocesan centre at St John the Baptist in Stobswell, Dundee. As well as exercising oversight and pastoral care of the diocese, Bishop Nigel has engaged in the public affairs of the city and contributed regular articles for The Courier. He has cleaned the shoes of Dundonians on Maundy Thursday and is Chair of the Trustees of St Margaret’s Home for the Elderly and a Governor of Abertay University. Last December he presented the Time for Reflection in the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood. Brechin Diocese has long-standing links with Iowa in the United States and Swaziland in southern Africa which Bishop Nigel has furthered with exchange visits, most recently a contemporary Scottish cultural pilgrimage for young adults. Bishop Nigel was ordained in Dundee in 1976, serving as Chaplain of St Paul’s Cathedral Dundee and Priest in Charge of Invergowrie, leading successful youth clubs at each church. He was also a chaplain at Ninewells and Liff Hospitals. In 1985 he moved south with his young family, serving in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham, firstly as Vicar of All Saints Nottingham, a tough inner city parish, then as diocesan development ministry adviser and from 1999 as Archdeacon of Newark and Canon of Southwell Minster. He was a member of General Synod of the Church of England 1995-2010 and a director of Ecclesiastical Insurance 2005-2012. In 2013, together with Professor Caroline Gatrell, he published Managing Clergy Lives: Obedience, Sacrifice, Intimacy reporting his research interviews with English parish clergy. Bishop Nigel and Anne are looking forward to retirement near Lincoln, closer to children and grandchildren, and enabling him to, “once again become a season ticket holder at my beloved and infuriating Nottingham Forest Football Club”. Farewells to Bishop Nigel will take place over the last weekend in June.
Perth will come alive to the smell of mouth-watering cakes, jams and bread courtesy of the Great Parish Bake Off today. Churches across the region and Perth YMCA have joined together to deliver the spectacular Perth Alive Festival on the North Inch from noon until 4.30pm. The heat will be turned up at this year’s event when in addition to live music, sports, giant inflatables, puppets and children’s activities bakers from around Perthshire present their delicacies for judging in the Great Parish Bake Off. Members of 13 churches have been battling it out in heats over the past two months, with each church submitting the best entries for the final, being held during the Perth Alive Festival. The Great Parish Bake Off was the brainchild of Becky Erskine from Craigie and Moncreiffe Church of Scotland. She said: “This is a wonderful way of uniting churches and organisations across Perthshire. “People greatly enjoy the challenges of baking and this is a fantastic way to embrace skill, talent and celebrate community spirit. “By kind donation, the entrants have offered the sale of their bakes at the end of the festival, so many people will be able to sample the best home baking Perthshire churches have to offer.” Judges for the Great Parish Bake Off will include Provost of Perth and Kinross Liz Grant and the head baker from Perth’s Murrays the Bakers, Colin Laing. Murrays is the 2015 World Scotch Pie champion. The panel will be rounded off by the head pastry chef at 63 Tay Street one of only 15 restaurants in Scotland to hold the Eat Scotland Gold Award Lee Steele. Provost Liz Grant said “This is a marvellous community event and I look forward very much to the challenge of judging the bake off.” Among the musicians taking part in the festival is acclaimed singer songwriter Steph Macleod. There will also be the opportunity to listen to an international choir made up of young people who are attending a bible school in Perth over the summer. Entry to the festival is free and everyone is welcome, whether they attend church or not.
The number of kirks in Dundee could be further reduced if a draft plan presented at the latest meeting of the Presbytery of Dundee gets the go-ahead. The fate of churches throughout the city was discussed on Wednesday at a debate into the Presbytery Plan submitted by convener Alan Philip. The number of ministries in the city posts held by ordained ministers and presbytery parish workers is to come down from 35 to a full-time equivalent number of 27.8. After the debate, the Reverend James Wilson of Whitfield Parish Church and clerk to Dundee Presbytery said it had not been an ''easy'' meeting and stressed nothing had been set in stone. He said: ''The Church of Scotland is currently trying to share out a fewer number of ministeries among a decreasing number of members without doing too much damage to what is approaching a core number of buildings. ''This was not an easy meeting and there are many discussions still to be had before the plan is put forward again in September for final, formal approval but some progress is being made towards the required reductions. ''Change of this nature is never welcome and there will be many who, over the following four months, will search for alternatives to what is proposed, but before the close of 2012 Dundee Presbytery must have plans, of some sort, in place to meet this required reduction and as such an agreement in September is as late as we can possibly leave it.'' The convener emphasised this is still very much a draft plan and he and his committee are intent on visiting all of the affected Kirk Sessions to work on the detail on the plan. The meeting heard from Dundee Mains and Downfield Parish churches who plan to unite later in the year, thereby reducing the ministry by one. Rev Wilson said: ''Another area to be affected will be Invergowrie, who will be invited to develop further relationships with the rural charges in Longforgan, Abernyte, Inchture and Kinnaird and prepare for an eventual partnership. ''Reductions in ministry are also required in the city centre where it is planned that a further two ministries will not be replaced following retirement.'' The Stobswell and Wallacetown area could see their two churches at Trinity Parish Church and Stobswell Parish Church reduced to one as the ministers are encouraged to work together and eventually only have one minister. Rev Wilson said: ''The Broughty Ferry churches are also requested to continue a process of closer cooperation so that they might eventually be ministered to by only three ministers at Barnhill, The New Kirk and one other.'' The number of churches in Scotland has almost halved since 1929 and presbyteries are constantly undergoing adjustment. To cope with the decline in membership, the church introduced a policy of automatically assessing the viability of each charge or parish each time a minister left his or her post as it was easier to merge a church without a minister than to remove a minister still in post. Mr Wilson stressed that under the new plan that policy would remain intact and no minister would be removed while still in post.
The Church of Scotland has honoured Britain's oldest man at his home in Perthshire. Alfred Smith, who turned 109 at the end of March, was presented with the Kirk's prestigious lifetime of service award. Remarkably, Mr Smith shares his title of Britain's oldest man with Bob Weighton, from Hampshire. They were both born on the same day. He says porridge is part of the secret to his long life. Mr Smith, who lives in the village of St Madoes, has been a member of the Church of Scotland since 1945 and an Elder since 1967. Moderator of the General Assembly Rt Rev Russell Barr visited Mr Smith at his home in the Carse of Gowrie to present the unique award on behalf of the church. Mr Barr said: "Of all the many people I have met during my year as Moderator, Alfred Smith is one of the most remarkable. "At 109-years-old, he retains a lively sense of humour, a continuing interest in life - including the life of the church - and he is a great story teller. "It was a privilege to meet him and some of his family and to offer him my warmest congratulations." Mr Smith said: "It is just wonderful to have a visit from the Moderator. How he finds the time to see me is quite something. "I have always loved the church, as it has given me so much over the years." Asked about the secret to his long and happy life, Mr Smith replied: "Porridge is helpful and having a job you enjoy. "I think I've lived a decent life. I do ask myself - why me? Why have I lived so long when others haven't." Mr Smith was born in Invergowrie in 1908. He was the fifth of six sons of John and Jessie Smith. He went to Invergowrie Primary School and Harris Academy, Dundee, before emigrating to Canada, along with four of his brothers. He returned five years later, in 1932, and went on to drive lorries for his brother, George. During the Second World War, Mr Smith was in the Home Guard, and married Isobel when he was 29. The couple went on to farm at Kinfauns where they raised two children, Irene and Allan. Mrs Smith died almost 14 years ago, aged 97. Allan, who worked with his father on the farm for 40 years, passed away last year. Mr Smith retired at the age of 70 but continued to go to the farm until well into his eighties. Alf was blessing to local congregation A member of the Free Church in Invergowrie until 1945, Mr Smith then became a member of the Church of Scotland and attended Kinfauns Parish Church which later joined with Kilspindie and St Madoes. Minister of St Madoes and Kinfauns Parish Church Marc Bircham said: “It has been a great joy and privilege to be Alf's minister and friend. He is a blessing to our congregation and community and on a personal level he has been a great encourager to myself, not least by referring to me as 'young man'.” His daughter Irene said he “took his responsibilities as an elder very seriously, visiting all his allocated members frequently, particularly those who were unable to attend church". She added: “He did a lot of the organising for services, collection and distribution of Harvest offerings. He brought the organist to and from the church from Perth, and along with his son, did a lot of day-to-day maintenance of the church building.”
A former Fife minister is to be the next moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The Rev Dr Derek Browning will take over the 12-month role in May, next year. His first charge was at Cupar Old Parish Church, where he was ordained in 1987 and led the congregation for 14 years. He is also a graduate of St Mary’s College in St Andrews and has served the Church in several capacities in St Andrews and Edinburgh presbyteries and at national level. Dr Browning, 54, will succeed the Right Rev Dr Russell Barr as the Church’s ambassador at home and abroad. He said: “Being nominated as moderator is the greatest honour the Church of Scotland can bestow. “It’s a huge privilege.” Dr Browning graduated as a doctor of ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary in the United States in 1997 and read history at Corpus Christi College in Oxford. He has served Morningside Parish Church in Edinburgh since 2001. He also played a key role in establishing the church’s biggest annual open-air festival, the Heart and Soul festival in Edinburgh. Dr Browning takes the lead at what he said was a time when the church was evolving. He said: "Structures and organisations around us continue to change, but the big questions about who we are, why we are here, and what must we do and be are the ones people continue to ask. "These are challenging times for people of faith and for the Church. "An American colleague said recently ‘The Church isn’t dying, it’s re-forming.’ "Re-forming is a costly and unsettling process but a fit-for-purpose 21st Century Church must have the resilience and the flexibility to be unashamed of its faith in Jesus Christ, and practical in its living out of that faith." Dr Browning, who has contributed to BBC Radio 2's Pause for Thought programme, intends to use his tenure to highlight work by churches to support those on the margins of society. He said: "People find themselves excluded for all sorts of reasons and the Church must play a role in bridging the gaps between individuals, communities and nations. "The Church has much to offer, and has much to learn."
The funeral of Jane Cumming, whose body was discovered in her Longforgan home last month, will be held on Friday. Mrs Cumming, who was 40, was found dead in her home in the village's Mary Findlay Drive on July 15, shortly after a horrific crash on the A90 Perth to Dundee dual carriageway in which her husband Neil (45) was badly injured. He has since been arrested and charged with her murder and is remanded at the State Hospital, Carstairs. Two special court hearings were held at his bedside in Ninewells Hospital before he was able to be moved to Carstairs. The couple's two young daughters are being looked after by relatives. The funeral service is to be held at Invergowrie Parish Church on Friday morning. A big turnout is expected at the church to pay final respects to the popular former sales advisor at TSB in Dundee's Albert Street.