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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...


Tributes to Maureen Bannister after police confirm her remains were found on Fife beach

December 16 2015

Tributes have been paid to a 43-year-old woman whose body was found on a Fife beach. Police confirmed that a body discovered around 6pm on Monday was that of Leuchars woman Maureen Bannister, who had gone missing on Sunday afternoon while walking her dog in Tentsmuir Forest. A police spokesman said Ms Bannister’ death is being treated as unexplained pending further inquiries. They are urging anyone who may have seen Maureen since 2pm on Sunday to contact them. Sergeant Gary Combe said: “Our sincere condolences go to Maureen’s family and friends at this very sad time. “We’re working to establish the full circumstances surrounding Maureen’s death and are asking anyone who may have seen her since Sunday afternoon to get in touch.” Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101. Ms Bannisters’s friend Caroline Cece said: “She was a lovely person. “Somebody who was very responsible, very conscientious. “I knew her for quite a few years after we worked together at Petterden for the SSPCA. “Maureen was just one of these people that even if you didn’t see them for a while you would then meet up and it would be like you last saw them yesterday. “I still can’t quite believe that this has happened.” Ms Bannister, who is believed to have lived with her father and teenage daughter at their home in Leuchars, was first reported missing on Sunday evening. She had left her home to walk her pet Yorkshire Terrier at around 2pm, driving to Tentsmuir in her Ford Focus. Her disappearance prompted a huge search, which resulted in both the car and dog being found at the popular dog walking spot. As well as a search helicopter, two lifeboats from Broughty Ferry had been searching the local coastline, while coastguard teams from Carnoustie, St Andrews and Montrose also arrived at the beauty spot. Having worked with the SSPCA for around a decade, it is believed that Ms Bannister had recently left in order to study at college. Superintendent Sharon Comrie from the charity paid tribute, saying: “Maureen worked at our Petterden centre for 10 years and was an extremely well-liked and hardworking member of our close knit team. “Our thoughts are with Maureen’s family and friends at this incredibly upsetting time.”

Angus & The Mearns

“I am over the moon” — happy homecoming for Arbroath cat lover Maureen

October 9 2016

Two weeks after disappearing from the side of its bedbound Angus owner, a devoted cat has walked back into her life. Last month, The Courier carried Maureen Robb’s desperate plea for information about her constant companion Sara after the seal point Siamese went missing from her Arbroath home. The distinctive cat has been at Maureen’s side throughout her long wait for a serious operation, popping out only occasionally, but failed to return a fortnight ago. The loss of her ‘baby Sara’ led to a further deterioration in Maureen’s health, but out of the blue the loving pet arrived back home in the early hours last week, thin and nervy after her time away. “She arrived home exactly two weeks after she went missing and I just want people to know that I am so grateful for everything they did to try and help find her,” said an overwhelmed Maureen. “We had phone calls from as far as Forfar when people knew she was missing, messages on facebook and everybody has just been so nice.” Maureen, 60, added: “I was devastated, I was trying to get my strength up for my operation and this was just such a terrible thing. “She would never go out for long and would then come straight back to me so it was terrible when she went missing. “I couldn’t go out and look for her, I felt so helpless,” she added. But a familiar meowing signalled the happy homecoming. “She came home around 5am, came bounding up the stairs and was so vocal. Since then she hasn’t let me out of her sight,” continued Maureen. “She was very thin and I think she may have got stuck in somewhere, but the vets have checked her over and she is fine. “I am just over the moon to have her back and so grateful to everyone who was worried about her and looking out for her,” said Maureen.


Courier appeal helps trace Fife soldier’s family

September 16 2014

The family of a mystery Fife soldier who received a royal letter for having nine sons and a son-in-law serving in the British Army during the First World War have been traced. Cardenden historian David Blane enlisted the help of The Courierlast month to track down descendents of David Stewart, who lived in Rosewell Cottages in Lochore in 1915. Mr Blane was keen to find out more about Mr Stewart after receiving a copy of a letter written to him by King George V expressing his appreciation 10 members of his family were in service at the same time. The letter, dated January 13 2015, was sent from Buckingham Palace by Frederick Ponsonby, the Keeper of the Privy Purse on behalf of the King. It reads: “I am commanded to express to you The King’s congratulations and to assure you that His Majesty much appreciates the spirit of patriotism which prompted this example, in one family, of loyalty and devotion to their Sovereign and Empire.” Mr Blane, a military researcher for the Benarty Heritage Preservation Group, has spent the last 18 months gathering information on local soldiers like Mr Stewart ahead of a commemorative exhibition he has organised for September 26. Mr Blane’s research revealed that Mr Stewart had been in the 3rd Hussars for 15 years. His sons were: David, Highland Light Infantry; Alexander, Black Watch; William, Black Watch; James, Black Watch; John, Black Watch; Charles, Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders; Joseph, Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders; Robert, Cameron Highlanders; George, Army Service Corps. Mr Stewart’s son-in-law was Alexander Linton and served in the Royal Scots. As a result of The Courier appeal, Mr Stewart’s great-great-granddaughter Maureen Stewart got in touch with Mr Blane. Maureen, who lives in Dunfermline, said: “It was actually my dad who saw the article as he gets The Courier every day and he just passed it to me with a smile and said: ‘There’s somebody looking for you’. “I didn’t realise what he meant until I read the story and realised it was about my great-great-grandad. “The letter was a well known fact within the family and it’s funny because we were just talking about it just before we saw the article.” Maureen’s dad, William Stewart, 81, said: “I lived with my grandad, William Stewart, for a while and he often told me about the letter but we never knew what happened to it. Mr Stewart, who has lived in Dunfermline since 1954, served in the navy as a leading mechanical engineer. “Like my grandad, I also served in The Black Watch when I was younger, as a cadet. After he lived in Lochore my grandad moved to Leslie.” Mr Blane, who served with the Royal Engineers and Royal Scots, said: “I’m very pleased members of the Stewart family have come forward and I am looking forward to meeting them in the near future.” As a result of his research, Mr Blane has uncovered the names of 226 other local soldiers and is hoping sometime in the near future their names will be added to the village’s war memorial. The Great War exhibition will take place at Benarty Centre in Ballingry on September 26 from 10am until 8pm.

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

Perth & Kinross

Tributes paid to tragic Perth pensioner Billy Clark

July 25 2016

Tributes have been paid to a Perth pensioner, with some describing him as “a gentleman” and others saying he “always had a hello for you.” Although a body found in Perth on Sunday afternoon has to be formally identified, police have contacted the family of 71-year-old Billy Clark following the grim find. The sad news came after an extensive search was carried out for Mr Clark, who had been reported missing from the Muirhall Road area of Perth around 7.30pm on Saturday. Seven fire units arrived at Tay Street, Perth, on Sunday morning and spent nearly six hours searching the river for signs of Mr Clark. Police later confirmed a body had been found in the Perth area and that officers had told Mr Clark’s family of the find. As a result, scores of people have posted messages of condolence to his family on social media. Louise Smith, Mr Clark’s niece, said: “Heartbreaking. RIP Uncle Billy. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time.” And Kenny Tunn posted: “RIP Bill. Lovely man. Always had a hello for you.” And similar sentiments were expressed by Jamie Fairlie, who posted: “RIP. Thoughts are with his family – what a gentleman.” Other Perth residents expressed their sadness, with Debbie Smith commenting: “Thoughts are with the family and friends.” And Margaret Latto added: “So sad. Thoughts are with his family.” Jackie Unsworth posted: “So sorry to hear this sad news. My condolences to his family. RIP Billy.” * During the search of the Tay, firefighters identified a piece of metal they had concerns for and the bomb disposal squad were called. However, it turned out to be a simple metal pole.


Memorial ceilidh for Fife animal lover Maureen Bannister

February 27 2016

Staff at a national animal charity are to host a memorial fundraiser for a former Fife colleague. Maureen Bannister from Leuchars worked at the Scottish SPCA’s animal rescue and rehoming centre at Petterden, near Dundee, for 10 years. The body of the 43-year-old was discovered on the beach at Tentsmuir Forest after her family reported her missing in December. Staff at the animal charity were left devastated by the news and are to host a ceilidh in her memory. Coreen Hill, animal rescue officer, who worked with Maureen at the centre for several years, said: “There will be a ceilidh at the Forfar Mart on April 16 and tickets cost £10 each. “We are trying to raise enough money for a memorial bench at Tentsmuir beach, where Maureen was found. “This was one of Maureen’s favourite spots to walk her dog and it will be nice for her family and friends to be able to sit on a sunny day remembering all the lovely times they had there. “Any funds raised over and above the cost of the bench will be donated to the Scottish SPCA because Maureen absolutely loved animals and spent 10 years doing a fantastic job for us. “We hope people will join us for some fun and dancing to remember this very special lady.” Tickets can purchased at the Scottish SPCA’s centre in Petterden or over the phone on 03000 999 999

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

Gingerbread tribute to the Wee Red Town

October 14 2013

When Libby Jones was invited by Bank Street Gallery owner Susie Clark to exhibit at her gallery in Kirriemuir, she became intrigued by the history of the town. As well as Kirriemuir’s most famous son and Peter Pan author JM Barrie, she discovered the town had also been home for a time to AC/DC singer Bon Scott, Victorian mountaineer Hugh Munro, and 19th century writer Violet Jacob. She found the town had been a hotbed of witchcraft in the 16th century and is also world famous for its gingerbread and decided to combine all these elements. Ms Jones went on to craft a boxed set of prints, which also doubles as a card game. She said: “This tongue-in-cheek edition of 10 boxes, of 20 cards per box, features Kirriemuir characters presented on a slice of gingerbread on a plate. I have also made a poster featuring all the 10 characters in the game.” Visitors can see images of Edinburgh Castle with fireworks, wildlife such as gannets, and artwork made after a visit to Antarctica. Londoner and master printmaker Ms Jones exhibited work from her sub-zero stay at a Discovery Point exhibition in Dundee last year. Children can see her work Cooking the Climate, a comment on global warming, which consists of a microwave oven and slideshow with rotating polar animals. There is also a fossilised mobile phone in a second installation, Fossils of the Anthropocene an exploration of the traces that might remain of civilisation in 50 million years’ time. She is also exhibiting a selection of her woodcuts, linocuts, collagraphs and screenprints at the gallery. The exhibition runs until November 8 and opening hours can be found on www.bankstreetgallery.org, or by telephoning 01575 570070.

Perth & Kinross

Wartime identity tag returned to family 70 years after fatal bombing raid to Germany

May 24 2016

A Blairgowrie woman has been reunited with a family member’s wartime ID tag more than 70 years after he crashed and died on his way to a bombing raid over Germany. George Cairns Hutton was just 34 when his Short Stirling plane crashed in Holland just two and a half hours after setting off from RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk in June 1943. The aircraft set off from the UK at 11.30pm and was shot out of the sky over Holland by a German plane at 2.07am. All seven crewmen were killed. The wreckage was cleared by a group of Dutchmen, one of whom found George’s identity tag. Now, almost 73 years after his death, the tiny metal disk has been handed to the daughter of his cousin. Maureen Irvine said: “It was the Dutch Army’s recovery and identification team who were trying to trace the next of kin on behalf of a Dutch lady called Elly Zwaansdijk. “Her father had been part of a working party which cleared the crash site in 1943. The site was south of Apeldoorn. “Elly’s father found an identity tag with the name George C Hutton on one side. She promised her father she would personally return it to his family. “They have been looking for years for somebody who was next of kin and that led them to me. He was my mother’s cousin." Elly and Maureen recently met to hand over the tag. Maureen said: “Elly and her two daughters came over to Edinburgh and we met and she passed over the tag. It was quite heart-warming. “They had gone to the cemetery where the crew is buried, Ede general cemetery, which is near Otterloo, and put roses down and took photographs to bring to me – which was really nice. “It was quite emotional because she had been looking for years and years.” George, who was born in Fife in 1908, was a golfer at Leven Thistle golf club and became a professional at Hooton in Cheshire before joining the RAF in 1939. The youngest son of Philip Hutton and Jessie Cairns, George had two brothers and a sister, who all died childless.