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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...


Funding fillip for Mountains Animal Sanctuary

January 16 2011

Staff at an Angus equine sanctuary have received another boost to support its work. Country and western fan and regular supporter Margaret Smith presented £1200 to the Mountains Animal Sanctuary at Milton of Ogil after her latest music event in Forfar's Plough Inn. The money is badly needed at Mountains, which is still coming to terms with the death of sanctuary owner Alan Fraser and battling the impact of the weather. "It's still very tough, but the horses are continuing to be well looked after and a lot of that is down to the fact that the staff care so much about their work," said senior groom Dave Udale. Mountains is home to 165 horses, ponies and donkeys, all subject to a daily care regime that in recent weeks has involved making sure they have plenty of feed and water supplies are free from the thick ice that froze lochs and rivers in the district. The sanctuary was heartened by support over the festive period, but until the financial future of the facility becomes clearer it will remain an uphill struggle to fund the operation. Mr Udale said, "We are still getting requests to take animals, but until the financial situation is sorted out we are effectively full to capacity. "Mountains was set up as a welfare rescue centre and we will still take in welfare cases if the likes of the SSPCA come to us, but the message is that we are here for the horses and not people in need who might be finding it hard to afford the upkeep of their animal." He added, "It can be a fine line when someone may not have the money to look after their horse, but we have to protect the horses that are here already."

Angus & The Mearns

Glenogil animal sanctuary merging with Redwings

July 4 2014

The Mountains Animal Sanctuary is to merge with the UK’s largest horse sanctuary, it has been announced. The equine centre at Glenogil, near Forfar, will combine with Redwings Horse Sanctuary and take that charity’s name. It is thought the merger will be concluded within the next two weeks. Mountains Animal Sanctuary was formed by the late Alan Fraser in 1982 and registered as a charity in 1984. It is currently home to 98 rescued horses, ponies and donkeys on 220 acres of paddocks and woodland. Mr Fraser died in October 2010, leaving the sanctuary in the hands of a dedicated team of staff and a board of trustees. It was recently revealed that the cost of keeping the centre open was around £400,000 a year. A quarter of this came from a trust via the sanctuary’s founder Mr Fraser, but the centre relied on support from donations, sponsorships, legacies and the generosity of individuals. Ian Hunter, chairman of Mountains’ trustees, said: “We are confident that the work of our founder can be continued with the support of this highly-respected equine charity and that the welfare needs of horses, ponies and donkeys in Scotland will be met thanks to the caring and compassionate ethos of the Redwings Mountains staff and volunteers.” Redwings has 1,300 horses in its care at nine sites and is in merger talks with Welsh charity SWHP (the Society for the Welfare of Horses and Ponies) and in the planning stages for a centre in Wales. Redwings chief executive Lynn Cutress said: “We are absolutely thrilled to merge with Mountains Animal Sanctuary. As with any merger, the devil is in the detail and we would like to thank their staff and ours who have all been so supportive throughout and are excited about what the future holds. “The timing is right for Redwings, in our 30th year, to expand our horizons over the border and we look forward to meeting the local community and of course being in a position to help even more horses in desperate need.” Redwings Horse Sanctuary was established in 1984 and today has grown to become the largest horse sanctuary in the UK, working to save horses, ponies, donkeys and mules whose future would otherwise be bleak. Its work has three themes rescue and rehabilitation, specialist sanctuary care and prevention through education. Its horse care & welfare hotline typically receives 3,000 calls per year.

Angus & The Mearns

Dayzee rascal inspires Mountains Animal Sanctuary appeal

June 11 2011

An animal refuge in the foothills of the Angus Glens has launched a special appeal to mark the first birthday of one of its best-loved residents. Orphaned Falabella horse Dayzee was just 11 weeks old when she was brought to Mountains Animal Sanctuary at Glen Ogil and, according to manager Pam Taylor, was "so poorly" due to defects sustained at birth that vets didn't "give her much of a chance at all." But thanks to round-the-clock care from staff, Dayzee pulled through and is now "a proper little madam" who loves her food and being petted by visitors. The sanctuary is now calling on members of the public to help ensure the same care can be provided to horses in similar circumstances via the aptly named Dayzee Appeal. Ms Taylor said, "Basically, we are interested in anything anyone can do for us. We would welcome donations from members of the public, but we are also interested in getting people to adopt horses that way they can come up and visit regularly too. "We're on the lookout for volunteers as well and anyone who might know where a horse could be re-homed. There are some horses who just cannot be re-homed and will live out the rest of their days with us, but we would like to get the numbers of permanent residents down to 100. "There is no reason why some horses cannot go to a good home, especially if someone is able to give them one on one attention." The sanctuary has had a turbulent year following the death of its beloved founder Alan Fraser in October.FinancesFrom a practical point of view, the centre's finances are also in a period of "limbo" until details of Mr Fraser's estate can be finalised making it increasingly challenging to care for more than 160 horses, donkeys and ponies. Caring for horses, especially those who have been cruelly treated or neglected, is expensive. Vet bills for Mountains last year totalled £33,000, along with food bills of £15,000 and £20,000 for farrier care. The sanctuary is reliant on support from donations, sponsorships, legacies and the generosity of individuals. Mountains is also hopeful people may be willing to give up some of their own time and head girl Anita Udale, who started work at the sanctuary five years ago, said, "We've found ourselves in a difficult financial position and need to continue to care for our horses in the best possible way and we desperately need volunteers. "To care for the number of horses we have is time intensive but so rewarding. With certain horses needing specialist food and regular care plans there's always lots to do. "It's fun too all of the horses have different personalities and habits and certainly keep you on your toes."For more information visit www.mountainsanimalsanctuary.org.uk

Angus & The Mearns

Mountains Animal Sanctuary seeking help to last another 30 years

June 28 2012

An Angus equine charity is appealing to the public to help it plug a £100,000 funding gap. The Mountains Animal Sanctuary, based in 260 acres of Glenogil, is saddling up to celebrate its 30th anniversary this summer but its staff say there is a desperate need for public help and donations if the charity is to last for another year, let alone another 30. Pam Taylor, general manager at Mountains, said: ''It's been quite a year for us. Last summer we launched the Dayzee Appeal in order to raise £300,000 and this year we need to find an additional £100,000 in order to continue caring for our much-loved residents. ''Visitors and supporters have done a wonderful job in helping raise much-needed funds, and at a time when many people are feeling the pinch due to the economic uncertainty. It's extremely touching to know they care about us and want to help as much as they can.'' The Mountains Sanctuary was founded in 1982 by Alan Fraser. Originally sited in Kent, the sanctuary relocated to Milton of Ogil in 1991 with 110 animals. Mr Fraser died in October 2010, leaving the sanctuary in the hands of a dedicated team of staff and fellow trustees, Ian Hunter, John Rutter and Roy Alexander. The centre offers food, shelter, medical treatment and care for 140 equines, many of which have been rescued from cruelty, neglect or ignorance. Where possible the animals are re-homed but many of the animals have to stay at the sanctuary for the rest of their lives. The organisation relies solely on the generosity of the public through donations and volunteering. Last year vet bills totalled £20,000, food bills were £15,000 and farrier care cost £20,000. Annual running costs amount to £400,000 and with £100,000 funded via a trust set up by the sanctuary's founder, Mr Fraser, it relies on support from donations, sponsorships, legacies and the generosity of individuals. As Scotland's largest equine centre, retired race horses, rare breeds, former cart-horses and retired riding horses for the disabled have all been cared for by Mountains Animal Sanctuary over the last 30 years. Pam added: ''We are delighted to have reached this milestone. Thirty years of back-breaking work and a lot of blood, sweat and tears is no mean feat and we will plan to be here for another 30.'' To help raise funds, the sanctuary is hosting its 30th anniversary extravaganza on August 5. A range of activities and entertainment will be available at the centre from 11am, including a display from trick riding and equestrian stunt team, Riders of The Storm as well as Raptor World, birds of prey, Angus Dog Activity Club and a parade of Mountains' animals. Other family activities will be on offer including bouncy castles, trade stands, artists and demos of rural skills.Find out more at www.mountainsanimalsanctuary.org.uk

Angus & The Mearns

Promising start to Mountains Animal Sanctuary’s Dayzee Appeal

June 20 2011

An Angus horse sanctuary has been given a galloping start to its fund-raising appeal. Over £3000 in donations has come in the first week of the Dayzee Appeal by Mountains Animal Sanctuary, with further donations of supplies and services, while visitor numbers have doubled. In a bid to safeguard the long-term care of its 140 horses, ponies and donkeys, the charity launched the appeal in the name of an orphaned Fallabella, an Argentinean miniature horse. Dayzee is the campaign mascot and celebrated her first birthday with the children from Tannadice Primary School at the campaign launch. Sanctuary manager Pam Taylor said, "The Dayzee appeal has had such a promising start and we're delighted by the support we've had ... Presents for Dayzee have come in all shapes and sizes and we can't thank people enough for their generosity. "It will help us to continue the good work of the sanctuary and provide a haven for those horses most in need. "We're thrilled with the donations received and also the numerous inquiries we've had from individuals looking to re-home horses." Following the appeal launch a veterinary supplies company donated over a tonne of horse feed and four of the sanctuary's favourite animals were adopted. Calls from across Scotland also offered caring homes for a number of horses.For more information visit www.mountainsanimalsanctuary.org.uk

Angus & The Mearns

Mountains Animal Sanctuary needs help to make it through winter

September 8 2011

Scotland's largest equine sanctuary is facing closure within months in the face of a £300,000 financial crisis. Mountains Animal Sanctuary, in the Angus glens north of Forfar, is home to over 120 horses, ponies and donkeys from all over the country. But with winter fast approaching there are fears it may not be able to beat the harsh financial climate which has taken it to the brink of collapse. The sanctuary has been in financial turmoil since the death of its founder, Kent man Alan Fraser, last October. It was recently revealed Mr Fraser left Mountains £1.4 million in his will. While it was a major boost, the legacy is predominantly made up of the value of property and land at the 260-acre Glenogil estate and allows them to remain where they are. However, the sanctuary costs £400,000 a year to run, which had been met in full while Mr Fraser was alive. That has been replaced with a £100,000 guaranteed annual income from a trust set up by the one-time motor racer to contribute to the care of Mountains' equine residents. The release of that crucial funding will still leave the sanctuary seeking £300,000 a year and officials admit time is running out. In a last-ditch attempt to try to extend the operation into next year, the management revealed plans to cut more than a quarter of its 14 full-time employees in a staffing review. General manager Pam Taylor said: "Alan Fraser was extremely generous to Mountains and it was his dearest wish that our work of helping horses in need be continued after his death. "We are very appreciative of the £1.4 million gift although its true impact is limited, with little bearing on our cash flow or running costs, as the majority of the gift is in the value of the land and buildings from which we operate. "Our priority now is to restructure to try to keep the sanctuary open for as long as we can, while urgently seeking donations from new supporters." She continued: "We are cutting our costs to adjust to our lower income but, with less than four months of funds in the bank, time is running out. We urgently need financial help and I would call on existing and potential supporters to consider what they might do to help us." She added: "This year we have had a number of successes in rehoming animals and we have lost a few to old age so the numbers at Mountains were much higher. We believe that if we can get through the winter we can turn the situation around but we need to have enough of a cushion to help us do that." The sanctuary is also desperately hoping there will be no repeat of last year's big freeze, which saw feed costs rocket and stretched staff to the limit as they fought the snows to look after the animals. In the last year alone, Mountains has received over 300 calls and emails from owners who can no longer look after horses. The sanctuary has had to close its doors to non-welfare cases while it secures long-term funding and recruits volunteers to look after the animals. Retired race horses, rare breeds, former cart-horses and retired riding horses for the disabled have all arrived at Mountains over the last 29 years, firstly in Kent where Mr Fraser established the sanctuary before moving north in the early 1990s. The Dayzee appeal, launched following Mr Fraser's death, has so far raised £12,000 towards the centre's future.


Hard times for Angus horse haven

April 2 2010

The harsh economic climate and big winter freeze have forced an Angus equine sanctuary into its most desperate situation since it was established more than 25 years ago. Record numbers of horses and ponies are arriving from all over the country at the Mountains centre in Glen Ogil just as the charity is coming under pressure from rocketing feed prices. Sanctuary owner Alan Fraser said the kindness of the country's animal-loving public was helping ease the financial burden on Mountains but sadly the growing toll of suffering has taken the organisation beyond an unhappy milestone. "We have now passed the 500 total of animals Mountains has taken in since it set up, " said Mr Fraser, who moved the sanctuary from Kent to Angus in the 1990s. "This year the situation has been terrible. In the last month alone we have had to take in 17 in an average year we would take in around 19. "Our year runs from August and before this month we had taken in 13 so it is certainly the worst year since the sanctuary started, and sadly it doesn't look like getting any better. "I am getting calls every day and we have taken in cruelty cases from as far away as Essex because it seems all the sanctuaries down south are full and we are the only ones still prepared to take them. "We have been forced to help in some cases because I have heard that people have been advised to have their animals put down if they cannot look after them and have nowhere to send them that it just terrible and something we could never let happen."More than 180 horsesWith more than 180 four-legged residents presently at Mountains the tally is well over the normal level of around 140, and the bitter winter gave the sanctuary's 25 staff a major welfare task at the turn of the year. "The weather made life very, very difficult for my staff, but they coped admirably just as they have done again this week with the return of poor weather, " said Mr Fraser. "The feed bill was sky high and still is. We have been in dire trouble trying to get hay and been paying through the nose for it. "The amount we have gone through so far this year is ridiculous and it looks like we may have to keep buying it in because we will probably need all our own fields for grazing." He added, "Thankfully the public have been very kind and have responded to our advertisments. We have also had four bequests in the past six months and I would thank people for being so generous, but make a plea to them to keep up the good work. "But unfortunately we have lost one source of income because we have been forced to drop our annual open day this year. "To comply with all the red tape you now have to complete an events pack and with everything involved it was going to cost us money to run the open day. "In this climate we just cannot afford to do that. "It's utterly ridiculous that we would be out of pocket to put it on as we had planned it for the end of May, but have now decided not to hold it, " he said.


Excitement tempered at crowded Angus sanctuary

April 27 2010

A new arrival at an equine sanctuary has engendered mixed emotions at a centre struggling to cope with an increase in the number of their charges. Apache appeared at the Mountains Animal Sanctuary near Forfar at the end of last week and he has captured the hearts of staff at the centre, home to more than 180 horses, ponies and donkeys. The foal is the first born there and while staff are delighted with his safe arrival, Apache is another addition to what has been a record-breaking start to the year, for all the wrong reasons. Mountains has taken in more animals since the turn of the year than it would in an average 12 months, and it has broken the 500-case barrier since the sanctuary was established in Kent over 25 years ago. Centre owner Alan Fraser said, "Apache's mother Alana was a mare, which we took in earlier this year and we knew she was in foal but that is very rare for us. "We have another mare which is due at any time and I am sure that people will be delighted to see these young foals when they come to visit us, but it is just another illustration of the problems we are facing. "Every week we are getting calls from all over the country to take cases because people cannot afford to look after their animals. Thankfully, the public are very supportive and we are very grateful for that."

Angus & The Mearns

Mountains Animal Sanctuary’s latest arrival will steal the show at Easter

March 31 2012

A new-born donkey had its first experience of the outside world at an Angus animal sanctuary this week. Staff witnessed the birth of a donkey for the first time in Mountains Animal Sanctuary's 29-year history. The day-old girl, named Annie, was born to Petra, a rescue donkey from Ireland who arrived at the Glenogil sanctuary in August. General manager Pam Taylor said: ''We decided to name her Annie as her dad was called Denver you know, after the John Denver song. ''When we rescued five donkeys from Ireland, he was ungelded, and even though he was gelded as soon as possible, Annie has come along.'' Visitors will be able to get a glimpse of Annie for the first time. Pam said the best time for visitors would be the Easter weekend, as an egg hunt has already been arranged for the Sunday and children can see Annie while they are there. Despite having been born with a slight immune deficiency common in newborn donkeys, Annie is described as well and is enjoying trips around the field. Pam added: ''We're over the moon to have our first baby donkey born at Mountains. She was born in the early morning and within 10 minutes she was up on her feet drinking milk from mum. She is absolutely gorgeous and is the spitting image of her dad. ''The glorious weather we've been experiencing also helped. Donkeys can be pregnant for 12-14 months but can determine when they will give birth as they wait for the right weather conditions. ''Annie arriving couldn't have come at a better time. The schools finish up for the Easter holidays and as it's not often you can get up close to new-born donkeys in Scotland, there's no better time for children and their parents to come along and meet Annie."Find out more at www.mountainsanimalsanctuary.org.uk