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Readers' letters

Marchbanks plan would have earned money

March 3 2013

Sir, I was glad to read Margaret Fraser’s letter (February 26), re the closing of the Marchbanks recycling depot, ostensibly to make savings. She is absolutely right to claim that fly-tipping will increase (costly to remove) and the recycling and re-use rates will fall as people will not trail across the city as is claimed in the council’s report. Falling recycling rates equals rising fines. The financial savings claimed are dubious especially as recently installed expensive kit has to be removed and sold at a loss and relocation isn’t free. There may be other agendas but they are not disclosed. There was no consultation about this, no chance to put alternatives on the table. A very well conceived plan to run Marchbanks in a more commercial way but on a charitable basis, with much greater emphasis on re-use and shop onsite for example, was proposed during my tenure in charge of Tayside Recyclers. Transport management has been very inefficient and most people using Marchbanks will have seen the scandalous disposal of perfectly good re-usable or repairable items. The plan would have earned income for the council and not cost it a penny! This was ignored by the previous administration and currently there seems to be a prevailing lack of vision and ambition regarding the role the community can play in obviating the cuts. Doug McLaren. 2 Crail Place, Dundee. Is he living in same country? Sir, Reading the statement of Scottish Labour MP and millionaire’s son, Anas Sarwar, left me wondering if he lives in the same country as me. What he does not, or will not, see is the growing feeling of confidence in Scots who want to decide where their money is spent. The Labour party had too much power for far too long in Scotland. Anas Sarwar sees the Scottish Labour vote vanishing like snow off a dyke so is panicked into making ludicrous statements in defence of Labour party policy formulated by Hampstead Heath boys who hijacked the Labour party. So what Mr Sarwar is actually saying is vote “no” come the referendum and we will get no free personnel care for our old mum and dad, no free tuition fees for our sons and daughters, no free prescription charges, no free eye tests and no free bus passes for the over-60s. Make no mistake, that will be the result. Mr Sarwar’s comment on the fact that some members of his constituency will not live long enough to enjoy free health care is an absolute own goal. Scottish constituencies that voted for the Labour Party for 50 years and have the lowest life expectancy in the country never counted their ballot papers but weighed them! But time’s up for Labour in Scotland. Voting “yes” in the Scottish Referendum is voting for decency, a welfare state, no illegal wars and no ballistic missiles on the Clyde. Robert Alexander. Bothy Starforth, Carnoustie. The real tax culprits Sir, The idea, currently promoted, of “naming and shaming” those who avoid tax is clearly absurd. Tax avoidance, (not to be confused with tax evasion), is perfectly legal and every self-respecting accountant has a duty to his clients to ensure they pay the minimum amount of tax possible, within the framework of the law. Those who should be “in the dock” for tax avoidance, and thoroughly ashamed, are those who failed to close all the known tax loopholes, namely: Messrs Brown, Darling, Osbourne and their predecessors, all of whom avoided radical tax change and fiddled with tax regulation, allowing perfectly legal tax fiddling to continue unchecked. Joseph G Miller. 44 Gardeners Street, Dunfermline. A chance to help people Sir, I work for Macmillan Cancer Support in Tayside and am setting up a Dundee fundraising group for the charity. I am writing to ask whether any of your readers would like to join this group and help to give the two million people living with cancer the medical, practical, emotional and financial support they need. More than 5,200 people in Dundee are currently living with cancer and another 800 will receive a cancer diagnosis this year, making the need for Macmillan’s specialist professionals, information and expert care ever more crucial. Not only will every penny raised by the Dundee group help those living with cancer, this is also a great opportunity for readers to use their creativity and organisational skills, learn new skills, meet other like-minded and inspiring local people, have some fun and to be the face of Macmillan in Dundee. The time commitment is flexible and the events organised could be anything from a supermarket collection to a 70s night, a quiz, a bridge night, or even a masked ball! If any readers are interested in helping with our fundraising or would like to find out more about Macmillan, they can contact me on 07793 579372 or email sgeddes@macmillan.org.uk Shirlie Geddes. Tayside FundraisingManager, Macmillan Cancer Support.

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

Online survey initial step in Tayside cancer care initiative

August 27 2015

A multi-million-pound pilot project aims to help transform cancer care and aftercare across Tayside. Cancer charities fear many people do not get the support they need to deal with the “emotional, practical and financial” problems the disease leaves behind. Now, Macmillan is spending £5 million to fund a programme that aims to change that by asking those who need assistance to help shape the services they receive. The Transforming Care After Treatment (TCAT) programme will see the charity working with NHS Tayside, the Scottish Government, local authorities and patients. An online survey is the first step, with the feedback gathered from cancer patients, carers and the general public used to develop and enhance support services available. Macmillan’s general manager in Scotland, Janice Preston, said the research is important, as many people living with cancer often do not seek help between hospital appointments. “The number of people surviving cancer is increasing and that’s good news but too many patients tell us they feel they’re left to cope alone after treatment ends,” she said. “The current system wasn’t set up to support the huge numbers of people living with cancer and too often this means people don’t get the support they need, particularly when it comes to dealing with the emotional, practical and financial problems cancer can often leave behind.” NHS Tayside said it hopes to create services that help people feel “in control and supported”. Visit yournhstayside websiteto take part in the survey.


New approach to lung cancer support

September 18 2017

Fifers with incurable lung cancer can now spent less time in hospital thanks to an innovative approach. A partnership is providing comprehensive and individualised care which means patients can spend more time at home. https://audioboom.com/posts/6291885-innovative-approach-improving-lung-cancer-care-in-fife The pilot project, funded through the Transforming Care After Treatment programme, was developed in partnership with NHS Fife, Fife Health and Social Care Partnership and Macmillan Cancer Support Scotland. It has proved so successful it has been embedded into normal practice. In Fife, around 40% of patients diagnosed with lung cancer are unfit to receive anti-cancer treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, either because they are too unwell or treatment is no longer working and may reduce their quality of life. These patients receive best supportive care, where the focus is on supporting them and their families. Previously, it was not always clear what this meant in practice. The project focused on developing a consistent service, ensuring it could be delivered to all patients who needed it. As a result, patients are identified at the earliest stage and referred for comprehensive assessment and personalised care planning. Physical symptoms, emotional, spiritual and practical needs are assessed and plans are made to address concerns. Conversations also start about a patient’s preferences as they become less well. The new approach has ensured patients are assessed and supported in a location that suits them. It has been positively received by patients, families and carers. NHS Fife medical director Dr Frances Elliot said: “We want to give as much control and choice to patients as possible, making their journey easier, at what is obviously a difficult time.” Dr Steinunn Boyce, consultant in palliative care medicine, added: “Being in hospital is sometimes unavoidable and it’s sometimes the right place to be, but through this project we have been able to reduce the length of time that people spend in hospital - making sure that we are addressing their needs and supporting them so they can be at home.” Macmillan’s national programme manager Gordon McLean added: “I hope other health boards will look at the successes of this project and consider how its lessons can be used to improve care after treatment for people with all types of cancer across Scotland.”


£100 million strategy prescribed to improve cancer care

March 15 2016

A £100 million strategy setting out services to provide cancer care in Scotland over the next five to 10 years has been announced by the Health Secretary. The plan unveiled by Shona Robison contains more than 50 actions to tackle the disease by improving prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and after care. It includes £50 million for radiotherapy equipment and to support recruitment and training, an additional £10 million to support swift access to diagnostics for people with suspected cancer, and £5 million to support waiting times performance. The Beating Cancer: Ambition and Action strategy was launched during an event in Edinburgh with Cancer Research UK. Also covered is £9 million over five years to ensure better support for people with cancer and their families, £5 million to target reducing inequalities in screening uptake, £7.5 million to support improvements in surgical treatments, and £3.5 million to drive improvements across the palliative care sector. Ms Robison said the strategy will serve as a blueprint for the future of cancer services in Scotland. "Cancer services have come a long way over the past 10 years, with cancer mortality rates down 11%, however we know more needs to be done," she said. "Through this strategy we are aiming to reduce health inequalities and improve the experience of and outcomes for people with cancer across Scotland. "This strategy sets out our actions on detecting cancer early, with a particular focus on reducing inequalities in screening. It also sets out how we will invest in the provision of good quality, sustainable treatment and support for people to live well with and beyond cancer." Gregor McNie, of Cancer Research UK, said the commitments outlined are "good news for patients" and will be closely monitored "to make sure they become a reality". He added: "Scotland's cancer survival still lags behind its UK and European neighbours and this strategy sets out strong ambitions and investment to help tackle this. "The continued focus on early diagnosis is vital - funds to make sure all patients get the diagnostic tests they need should ensure they are treated without delay. "New money for radiotherapy, including expansion of the workforce, will address the unfulfilled potential of Scotland's world-class equipment, so that no patient misses out on effective treatment. "But as more people get cancer, we need action to prevent the disease and brave new measures will be needed over the coming years." Janice Preston, head of Macmillan Cancer Support in Scotland, said: "We are particularly pleased to see a £9 million fund has been set aside to fund support services modelled on Macmillan's Improving the Cancer Journey project. We hope to see the huge success of this project replicated across Scotland to make sure no cancer patient in Scotland misses out on vital support."


Roxburghe House rocked by Laura McGhee concert

June 3 2011

Cancer patients who were attending the day care lounge in Roxburghe House, Dundee, have been given an exclusive concert by Monifieth's international Celtic rock star Laura McGhee. The 23-year-old fiddle player's appearance came ahead of a charity concert in the city along with world-renowned violinist Nicola Benedetti, expected to raise thousands of pounds in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, which funds buildings and services at Roxburghe House. The young stars will be accompanied by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at the event in the Caird Hall on Saturday. Before Laura gained an international reputation, she performed numerous concerts for patients at Roxburghe House. Her dad is a volunteer driver who takes patients between their homes and the Macmillan Day Care Lounge at the palliative care unit in the grounds of Royal Victoria Hospital. The talented musician, who flew in from Nashville, Tennessee, for the show, said, "The Arbroath Suite is one of the pieces I'll be performing on Saturday night and it's a musical journey of Scotland's history, but the piece itself was originally written for Roxburghe House and was premiered there." Nicola (23) said, "Like most others around the world, my family have been hugely affected by cancer and I'm delighted to be able to raise money for Macmillan through this concert. "I am really looking forward to playing in Dundee's Caird Hall and I hope the event raises lots of money to help Macmillan support people with cancer and their families." Laura's last album spent 10 weeks in the US Americana Top 40. Laura, who has recorded a track with Shane McGowan and played alongside Rod Stewart, added, "I am really excited about the City of Discovery Charity Concert for Macmillan. "Not only do I get the opportunity to perform my traditional concerto, the Arbroath Suite, for the first time with the RSNO, but I also get the chance to help a charity which is close to my heart." The City of Discovery Charity Concert takes places every two years to raise money for charity. This year the concert organisers decided to hold the event in aid of Macmillan to mark the charity's 100th anniversary. Around 190,000 people in Scotland have been diagnosed with cancer and this is set to double over the next 20 years. Macmillan wants to be able to help everyone with the illness, providing services including specialist cancer nurses, financial advice and grants for cancer patients with money problems. Tickets for the concert are available at www.dundeebox.co.uk or by calling 01382 434940.

Angus & The Mearns

Brechin man’s 220-mile charity challenge a tribute to late wife

April 4 2013

A devoted husband is to lead a poignant 220-mile charity challenge across some of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery in memory of his late wife. In an event tagged the Dunnottar to Dunvegan Daunder, Richard Thompson of Brechin will be joined by family and friends in raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support as a thank you for the care their staff gave to his wife Lesley during a lengthy battle against the disease. Liverpool-born Lesley passed away on October 1, eight years after being diagnosed with breast cancer. “She bore the illness with amazing fortitude and grace, as many with cancer do, and as a family we received amazing support and assistance from Macmillan Cancer Support throughout her illness,” said her daughter Jenny Collins, an RAF flight lieutenant. “In the weeks after her death we felt that we could not let her death go unmarked, nor could we simply send a thank you letter to Macmillan.” The family’s desire to do something for the charity gave rise to a fundraising trek centred on Lesley and Richard’s love of the history of Scotland and linking two very special places in their lives. “Lesley could trace her family routes to the MacLeods of Skye. Dunvegan Castle was a place she loved, and which we visited as a family shortly before her death,” said Richard, 59, who works as a tenancy support officer with Angus Council. “We chose to start the walk at Dunnottar Castle, near Stonehaven, which is where I have my first recollections of visiting Scotland at the age of 10.” The DD Daunder, as the family have called it, will start on Sunday September 8 and will take Richard and his two sons-in-law Steve Collins and Gerry McAllister to Dunvegan Castle by September 21. “The route is split into a series of day walks of around 13 to 15 miles a day, some a bit more challenging than others, but all are achievable for most people,” said Richard. “Steve’s a member of the RAF orienteering team and both he and Gerry are more experienced hillwalkers than I am, but we are also aiming to have 10-12 walkers/supporters on the route each day.” He said the Dunecht and MacLeod estates had been supportive of the idea by allowing the walk to start and finish on their properties, taking in the Angus glens, Braemar, Kingussie, Glen Shiel and Skye. The family have set up a number of ways in which people can support the DD Daunder, including a Macmillan Tribute Fund Page at macmillan.tributefunds.com, a Just Giving page at justgiving.com/DDDaunder and through texting LJTH58 to 70070 to donate £5. “We would also like to invite people to take part in all or some of the days and they can contact us at dddaunder@hotmail.com or on 07813 815 944, and we will supply route details for them to select their preferred route,” said Richard. “Finally, we are also looking for assistance in the form of daily provisions, to prepare meals for the walkers, and a camper van or support vehicle. “Unfortunately I also lost my father and one of my brother’s to cancer,” he added. “Macmillan weren’t around when dad was ill, but they helped my brother and with Lesley, the support she received from the Macmillan centre at Stracathro in particular was so important.”

Perth & Kinross

Perth’s Cornhill Macmillan Centre opened

June 22 2010

Perth's new cancer care centre has been officially opened by record-breaking round-the-world cyclist Mark Beaumont. The Cornhill Macmillan Centre at PRI has been offering specialist care to people with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses since November. The £3.775 million cost was met thanks to a mammoth community fund-raising effort. Mark unveiled a commemorative plaque and said the centre is making a huge difference to people in the area. "The response to the Macmillan fund-raising appeal was phenomenal and showed just how much the people of Perth and Kinross wanted a service like this on their doorstep. "To be invited to officially open a centre which is such a tremendous asset to this community is a real honour." The centre is a joint partnership between Macmillan and NHS Tayside, providing specialist palliative care and support to patients with cancer and other life-limiting conditions. A range of day-care and in-patient services, including symptom control, rehabilitation and end-of-life care, is available at the centre. Scotland's first two advanced nurse practitioners in palliative care are based there. Before the centre opened, patients from Perth and Kinross who needed specialist in-patient palliative care had to travel to Dundee. Someone grateful for the services offered by the Cornhill Macmillan Centre is Catherine Salmond, whose uncle Brian Scotland was cared for at the centre. Catherine (29) said, "Without Cornhill my uncle could either have died in a busy hospital ward, with little privacy, or in a Dundee specialist palliative care unit, away from the familiarities of Perth and the people he was most close to.Dignity"Cornhill offered him the choice and dignity he deserved in a supportive and positive environment, exceeding all the family's expectation of what a palliative care facility like this could be." Since the centre opened in November, almost 90 patients have been admitted to the in-patient unit for specialist palliative care. In addition around 25 patients a month attend for day care services. A weekly drop-in service is also popular and provides support for almost 60 patients and 15 carers every month. Public support saw an average £5200 donated to the Perth and Kinross Appeal every day for two years from its launch in September 2007. Macmillan's director for Scotland, Elspeth Atkinson, said, "We know that this centre is something that locals really wanted and we are here today thanks to the support of NHS Tayside and the generosity of the people of Perth and Kinross. "The response to the £3.775 million fund-raising appeal was stunning and we reached our target in just under two years-much earlier than we had anticipated. "Every donation counted and we are extremely grateful. "At what is such a difficult time for patients and carers, this centre will make a big difference, ensuring patients are treated in comfort and privacy while at the same time receiving first class clinical care." NHS Tayside chairman Sandy Watson said, "Cornhill Macmillan Centre is testament to the successful relationship which has been built between NHS Tayside and Macmillan Cancer Support over the years. "I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the fantastic ongoing support from the local communities of Perth and Kinross who have given most generously to this most worthwhile of causes."

Perth & Kinross

Robert the Bruce leads army off on charity challenge

February 27 2017

One of Scotland’s legendary figures was brought to life at the weekend when Robert the Bruce led his ‘army’ off from Scone Palace to a Glasgow pub. Brian McCutcheon re-enacts the historical legend at the Palace and tells stories of how Bruce was crowned King of Scotland at Scone, and went on to defeat Edward II at The Battle of Bannockburn. So, when his partner Gini Craig, decided to raise an army and march to help wage war on cancer, she knew the story had to begin at Scone Palace. Mr McCutcheon’s mother, Jean, is suffering from inoperable cancer so it was decided that Ms Craig and her friend, Yvonne Kernachan, would embark on five challenges to raise £5,000 for five cancer charities. Ms Craig said: "Sadly, like most people I know, I was all too aware of cancer and it got me thinking, could I do something more than change my profile picture on social media? I came up with ‘Our 555 Challenge' — a plan for me and my best friend, Yvonne, to take on five challenges in 2017.” The mother-of-two wanted a challenge that would inspire others to arrange their own fundraising opportunities. The first of these challenges is a 100km walk, ‘From Scone to the Scotia.' "Scone Palace holds a very special place in our hearts and minds so where better to begin this walk and launch the challenges than at Scone," Ms Craig added. On Saturday, Ms Craig, Ms Kernachan and an army of friends led by Robert the Bruce in full regalia set off from Scone Palac on a 100km walk from the crowning place of Scottish Kings to Glasgow's oldest pub, the Scotia Bar. Margo Baird, marketing manager for Scone Palace, commented: "We're delighted that Gini has chosen Scone Palace as a venue to launch the challenge and are happy to lend our support. Her desire to do something worthwhile has led to a very inspiring and creative approach to fundraising which will benefit some fantastic charities." The packed calendar of challenges for the team include racing a Viking longboat, climbing Ben Nevis, stepping off the Titan Crane in Glasgow and going across the River Clyde on a zip wire. The challenge has currently reached 12% of its target on Just Giving, and is also raising extra money through individual sponsorship. The charities chosen to receive donations from the '555 Challenge' are Cancer UK, Macmillan, Lanarkshire Cancer Care Trust, Breast Cancer Care and Be Child Cancer Aware. Anyone wishing to donate should visit www.justgiving.com/teams/our555challenge.  

Perth & Kinross

Council donates £450,000 from defunct Victorian trust fund to charity

November 24 2017

A Victorian trust fund set up to give palliative care to Perthshire residents with incurable diseases has resulted in a £450,000 windfall for a national charity. Perth and Kinross Council administered the Fraser Mortification Fund but in recent years the use of the cash has been restricted as the original purpose can no longer be fulfilled. It has decided to make the donation to MacMillan Cancer Support as the charity matched the ideals of the original bequest. The Fraser Trust Fund was set up in 1876 to provide relief for individuals in a Perth hospital suffering from incurable diseases. As time progressed the income from the trust was used to provide extra comfort to residents as the hospital developed into a home for the terminally ill. The fund is one of a number that is undergoing a reorganisation process, which much of the cash being transferred to the Perth and Kinross Welfare Trust, which continues to be administered by the council. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQoPktKTjtw Ian Campbell, leader of Perth and Kinross Council, said: “I am delighted to hear that these trusts are being put to good use. I am well aware that for the many worthy and deserving charities and organisations receiving these funds every penny counts. “I am glad the council can go some way to help ensure that the funds are used for the benefit of residents within Perth and Kinross.” Janice Preston, Macmillan’s head of services in Scotland said: “We are really grateful to Perth and Kinross Council for choosing to support Macmillan Cancer Support and people affected by cancer locally, through the reorganisation of The Fraser Trust Fund and we are delighted that our work can support the original aims of the Trust. "We rely on donations like this to provide the much needed practical, emotional and financial support across Scotland, and this significant amount of money will make a huge difference to the lives of people affected by cancer across Perth and Kinross.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ihzj7NviU4M The Fraser Mortification for relief of Incurables in the Burgh of Perth was set up by Miss Elizabeth Fraser on March 20 1876 for “benefit of hospital for relief of incurables in Perth and Perthshire”. Hillside Hospital was founded in 1876 for incurables and moved to a site on Dundee Road in Perth in 1883, becoming known as Hillside Home and in 1888 a building was provided for patients suffering from consumption. In 1908 the adjacent villa was purchased and converted for the treatment of Phthisis (Pulmonary Tuberculosis). The hospital was maintained by public endowment and mainly took paying patients. The hospital eventually closed in 1997 and was subsequently demolished in 2007.