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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...


West Fest art focuses on past masters

July 3 2010

As part of Dundee"s first-ever WestFest, a very special exhibition is running at the University Tower Building"s Lamb Gallery. Paola continued, "One of the paintings in the show, borrowed from Ann Patrick, James McIntosh Patrick's daughter, is a still life that my father gave to him on his 80th birthday. "There's also an Alberto Morrocco cartoon of Jimmy painting and the cartoon not only captures him at work, but also the well-known elements of a McIntosh Patrick picture the landscape and blue sky. "In fact, the card was a gentle dig because at the time that Jimmy was painting that blue sky, there was a huge storm going on with thunder clouds and lashing rain! "People will also recognise well-known works from some of his study drawings. "The McManus Galleries have Autumn at Kinnordy and we have a grid plan of that, squared off, so people can see the roots of a painting they know and love." Fascinatingly, there are also insights into the role art, in some form or other, played in daily life, even in the most stressful circumstances. James McIntosh Patrick was called up in 1940 and served as an officer in the Camouflage Corps in the Middle East and in Italy. Already recognised as an artist, in 1943 he sent a Christmas letter home to his daughter Ann, including doodles of insects he had studied to work out and understand how they camouflaged themselves. He also used photographs sent from home by his wife to create collages and new works of art. These doodles and sketches were part of a box of McIntosh Patrick paraphernalia kept together and donated to the Dean Gallery in Edinburgh. In the new exhibition, there is also a cabinet of objects seen in various still lives and there will be a chance to view sketchbooks, such as David McClure's which have hitherto remained in the family. There are also personal memories in some of the major paintings on show. Paola explained, "There is one of Ann Patrick's works called Paola on the Beach which based on a holiday in Sutherland, one of many shared with both families and branches of the Morrocco clan. "I am the yellow dot on the shoreline and I remember that smock top to this day! "There are also artistic links between the generations, even where styles are very different or people are working in very different fields. "Ann Patrick is a highly respected artist in her own right, very different from her father but some of the objects and colours she uses relate to his influence and you can spot some of the clues leading from one generation to the next. "I know myself that my work, which uses fabrics and textiles in a sculptural way, relates to my father's use of figures and the female form and there are decorative elements I have used that are inspired by his pictures. "It shows that a thread of creativity can adapt through different generations and that original and contemporary work can be based very much on what has gone before." The succeeding generations of these artistic families are represented by Paola herself, Ann Patrick and her daughter Susannah Hunter, designer who creates applique work in leather. Grandson Julian Hunter, an architect, also contributed designs he did for his uncle, Andrew Patrick and there are contributions from Alberto Morrocco's wife Vera, herself a talented artist and their son and daughter, artist Leon and designer Lisa. Morrocco-McClure-McIntosh Patrick runs at the Lamb Gallery in the University of Dundee's Tower Building until August 14. Morrocco-McClure-McIntosh Patrick celebrates the intertwined lives and internationally acclaimed works of three distinguished artists with the closest of personal and family links to the city of Dundee. Helen Brown found out more from artist and guest curator of this special show, Paola McClure. Friends and neighbours in Dundee's West End and all tutors at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, David McClure, Alberto Morrocco and James McIntosh Patrick died within months of each other in 1998. Between them, they made a lasting and indelible mark on the world of art locally, nationally and internationally, with reputations that have stood the test of time. This show, including some major paintings from all three artists, also highlights the personal and family links that brought them together as friends as well as colleagues. Paola McClure explained, "Dad was only in his 70s, Alberto was 80 and Jimmy in his 90s when they died so they did cross the generations but between them, they had years of friendship in common and the families were all closely connected. "In 1999, in fact, the RSA exhibition of that year staged a memorial tribute by showing a separate room of paintings by all three artists. "Apart from the purely artistic merit of their work, there are lots of happy personal memories and we really felt we wanted that to be an integral part of this show. "It's not a major retrospective, but there are some important pieces of work from each of the three and many of the less obvious pieces will never have been seen by the general public before." The varied works come from family collections and from corporate collections such as the Royal Bank of Scotland Collection and from personal collections. Paola and WestFest organiser Kay Macfarlane visited the RBS Gogarburn HQ to select a series of pictures, including works by both Alberto Morrocco and his son Leon and McIntosh Patrick. The family contributed work by David McClure. Paola commented, "Frank McGarry, who is in charge of buying for the RBS collection says that Alberto's Boy With Eggs is the painting he gets most calls about from researchers." It's the personal touches that make this show particularly special and revealing.


New rector hails Madras College’s ‘amazing set of pupils’

June 21 2013

The new rector of Madras College in St Andrews, David McClure, believes the school has a “most amazing set of pupils with a talent and potential I have rarely seen before.” Mr McLure, the former rector of Buckhaven High School who took up the Madras reins after the departure of rector Ian Jones, was speaking at the annual awards ceremony. He said: “I have been at Madras College as new rector for just under three weeks and I have been privileged to meet and see a large number of Madras pupils and classes. “In this short time it is already clear to me from the awards, the achievements and my classroom visits that the school has a most amazing set of pupils with a talent and potential I have rarely seen before. “It is my intention to improve the image of Madras College among the local and wider community by introducing the core values of pride and respect for the school and our community through wearing the Madras College uniform. “People will know our pupils are Madras pupils because they will look like Madras pupils and conduct themselves like Madras pupils. “It is also my intention to make sure the attainment of our pupils at all levels improves so the school takes up its place as one of the top 10 schools in the country.”


WestFest’s piggyback champions rewarded for bringing home the bacon

October 26 2011

Dundee's piggyback world record won for the city last year when 320 runners and riders stampeded across Magdalen Green during WestFest has been officially ratified. A certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records was handed over to Dundee University lecturer Dominic Venditozzi and his six-year-old daughter Lola at the bandstand on Magdalen Green. The presentation was held a few yards from their triumph at the WestFest event in June last year, when the family team outsprinted 318 other competitors over 100 metres, breaking the tape at 15.65 seconds, to hold the record. WestFest chairwoman Paola McClure congratulated Dominic and Lola on their achievement and said their success would remain unique in the city, at least for the foreseeable future. ''It was a wonderful day last year and a really great, fun event,'' she said. ''The piggy-back race was a great community event and we are very proud of the people of Dundee for getting involved and making it such a success.'' Paola revealed planning for next year's WestFest is already under way and involves a change of date for Big Sunday at Magdalen Green along with other event rearrangements. Last year's event involved the piggy-back race, a classic car event, beer tent, dog display, various stalls and The Courier's Rocktalk/Fat Sams stage, where six local bands delighted the huge crowd in dazzling sunshine. Paola said: ''Next year we've decided to hold Big Sunday at the start of the festival, a week earlier on June 10. It gives it a good launchpad and means we can also have a big closing event the following week. ''We've applied to Creative Scotland for funding and hopefully that will allow us to hold a special closing event at Balgay Park on Sunday June 17. ''Like everything else though, it's all about the funding.''


Inspectors impressed by turnaround at Alan McLure House

July 9 2012

A Fife care home once described as having ''serious issues'' by the Care Commission has been praised in a recent inspection report. Alan McLure House in Balbirnie Road, Glenrothes, has been given grades of ''very good'' for quality of care and support, environment, staffing and management. In stark contrast, just last year the Fife Council-run home was under investigation after the Care Commission published a damning report in which quality of care and management were graded as ''weak''. The Care Commission which has since been replaced by Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS) said the home would have to address its shortcomings ''as a matter or urgency'' after inspectors visited in late 2010. By February of last year the home's grades had improved and were ranked as ''adequate''. However, the latest report, following an unannounced inspection on June 21, indicated that Alan McLure House has finally turned the corner. As well as tightening up on management of medication, personalised care plans and nutrition, the home has even purchased some hens to keep the residents entertained. The SCSWIS report stated: ''We found the general ambiance throughout the home to be relaxed and friendly. The home was clean and well maintained. Alan McLure House has continued to build upon previous areas for improvement. ''Management and staff taking part in this inspection were enthusiastic and committed to the ongoing improvement of the service. ''A review of each person's care is carried out every six months, at which the views of the service user and their relatives are sought and recorded. The service carries out a variety of audits to check on quality." Continued... ''The service had improved medicines management by implementing regular checks. Frequent drug audits are undertaken by the manager to assess staff competency and ensure the safe administration of medication to service users. ''We saw that the service had acted on comments and suggestions made by service users and their relatives to improve the service. This included social activities, redecoration of some individual rooms and the main corridor and hallway, four laying hens had been purchased and a new 'deluxe' hen house and run had been built in the rear garden. ''A number of the residents enjoy visiting the hens daily and everyone is currently involved in choosing names for the hens. ''Healthy eating is encouraged and the service had appointed a member of staff as 'nutrition champion' to promote improved nutrition in the care home. The champion is a point of contact for the staff team and liaises with the dietitian to help inform staff and raise awareness regarding the importance of good nutrition and hydration for older people. ''The cook is aware of specific dietary needs of service users and care staff monitor service users' nutritional status. ''We received three completed questionnaires from service users. We also spoke with 10 service users in the course of the inspection and observed staff practice. ''People told us they were comfortable in the home, felt safe and had no concerns regarding the quality of care and support provided to them in Alan McLure House.'' The Glenrothes home was among the 10 local authority homes earmarked for privatisation under a controversial proposal approved by the previous SNP-Lib Dem administration. At the time opposition councillors fiercely opposed this and the new Labour-led administration has pledged to keep council care homes in-house. Administration leader Alex Rowley said: ''I welcome this positive report. Well done to everyone involved in the management and the day-to-day running of the home. They should be very proud. ''It is crucial that we set the highest standards in Fife and this demonstrates that the quality of provision in council homes is absolutely first class. We are committed to ensuring that there is mixed provision of care in Fife and it would be wrong to simply let the private sector take over.''


WestFest fun attracts thousands to Magdalen Green

June 9 2014

Dundee WestFest rocked in the sun (and for a couple of brief spells rolled in the rain) as thousands flocked to Magdalen Green for Big Sunday. Organisers hailed it the best yet, with families enjoying the stalls and activities, including live music on the main stage from seven bands. A bouncy castle, a roller-sledge run and face painting were the biggest attractions of the day for the multitude of children, while Arbroath smokies, crepes, the vintage tearoom and burger stalls all proved popular with the adults. Live music on the main stage was provided by Angus band Around 7, Dundee’s Syann Gilroy, The Alley, Boogalusa, Buffalo Soldiers, Vanishing People and Abandon, along with Sienna from Kinross. Chairwoman Paola McClure said: “It was fantastic from start to finish and the stallholders were all busy. I think the crowds have been amazing, probably the busiest yet.”


‘Fantastic’ Dundee WestFest claims a world record

June 20 2011

The city can boast a new world record after almost 350 people ran piggy back along Magdalen Green at Dundee WestFest. The world record attempt, which will see the city in the Guinness Book of World Records once it is verified officially, needed to beat 296 to claim the prize. By early on Sunday only just over 100 people had registered online, so a large number of late entries meant the start was delayed by around half an hour. After a morning of glorious sunshine, the heavens opened and unleashed a downpour which began right on the starter's whistle, turning the going from good to soft and soaking the 4000-plus crowd, most of whom were in shorts and T-shirts. Dundee University lecturer Dominic Venditozzi claimed the title of first past the post, carrying his six-year-old daughter Lola. Seconds after crossing the finishing line, he said, "It's wonderful a bit wet but very satisfying. My dreams of competing in the Olympics were dashed last year when I broke my pinky, but this more than makes up for it!" When the count was concluded, 346 people had competed and although two fallers brought that down to 344, it still beat the mark by a considerable margin. Race organiser Alan Richardson was delighted with the outcome. "The verification is still to be done but we're absolutely delighted. A big thank you to everybody at WestFest for taking part in the fun. "Abertay Rotary are helping with the verification so we should know soon, but with so many people taking part we're very confident. "Registration took a lot longer than we expected but it was all worth it in the end and we are so grateful that we've got a world record for Dundee." In addition to the world record race, a huge crowd sat in the sunshine at The Courier's Rocktalk/Fat Sams stage which featured top local acts. These included Love, Susan; Swizzel Sisters, Lefty & Friends; the Anderson, Webster, McGinty, Ward and Fisher Band; youngsters The Alley; Roberto Cassani; and Nahoosfara, who kicked things off at 1pm. A vintage car show by Dundee Transport Museum, a modern car exhibition by Barnett's, displays by community groups, Junior Showtime and Radio Tay, dogs doing heelwork to music and various other stalls also entertained the crowds. Festival chairwoman Paula McLure said, "What a fabulous day. It was so rewarding after the committee put so much effort into the organisation. "We'd like to thank all the volunteers for a brilliant effort and all the sponsors for making it such a great occasion. To see so many people coming out for a community festival and enjoying it immensely was fantastic."


Onwards and upwards for WestFest in 2011

March 7 2011

Dundee's WestFest summer festival committee has revealed ambitious plans to become the city's biggest community festival. Last year's inaugural Westfest, which included open-air concerts at Balgay Park and Magdalen Green, was mainly restricted to the "traditional west end" of the city. Now, though, organisers want "anybody west of Broughty Ferry" to feel included in the festival, which is to be held from June 13, culminating in a large community gathering on Magdalen Green on Sunday, June 19. New chairwoman Paola McClure and her husband Alan Richardson are keen to attract people from across the city to the event. "This is for the whole of the city it's Dundee wide, not just those who live near Perth Road," Alan said. "And, of course, it's only a joke about it being for west of Broughty Ferry people from the Ferry would be very welcome to join in the fun. "We want to extend the event at Magdalen Green and we had a really positive meeting with the council this week over some of the changes we want to make." Paola added, "We need more volunteers to help out, though, as it will be quite a big event on the Sunday." Included among the plans are a secret world record attempt, details of which will be released at the event's official launch in a few weeks' time. Other plans include a giant outdoor art "exhibition" involving an iconic Dundee image on the football pitch area on Riverside that will be best seen from the air, a food, drink and farmers' market, vintage car show, community groups area and a commercial, retail and sponsors' area. A special Courier Rocktalk stage will host some of Dundee's best up-and-coming and homegrown talent. Dundee-born actor Brian Cox is the festival's patron and was at the event last year. It is hoped he will be able to attend once again.Stay up to date on plans at www.dundeewestfest.com


Sandy’s close shave has supporters parting with their cash for Dundee WestFest

May 17 2011

Dundee WestFest is a bit nearer its target to fund the festival after an idea a year in the making saw treasurer Sandy Greenhorn sacrifice his locks and beard in a fund-raising head shave. After the shave with a cut-throat razor at Benjamin Barkers barbers on Perth Road, Sandy said, "I have always wanted to know how I would look after colleagues in the merchant navy used to have it done whilst in warmer climates but I never had the courage. "I had the idea during last year's WestFest after one of the committee dyed their hair green for the final day, so I started growing my hair then." Sandy still does not know how much he has raised with forms still in shops around Perth Road, but is hoping for a few hundred pounds the money being split between WestFest and the Red Cross Disaster Appeal. WestFest is still looking for businesses to help with the cost of infrastructure on the final day. Chairwoman Paola McClure said, "We still have a way to go to cover the costs of Big Sunday such as fencing, generators, insurance and even toilets, so if they haven't already I'm calling on everybody to join in and contribute a little to make it happen." Find out more at dundeewestfest.co.uk Photo Alan Richardson.


Claim that up to 13 Fife care home staff have been suspended

January 12 2011

A damning inspection report has cast new doubt over the future of one of Fife Council's residential care homes after an apparent dip in standards. An investigation is being carried out at Alan McLure House after the Care Commission described the quality of care and management at the Glenrothes home as "weak" following an unannounced inspection in early November. The Courier understands that a number of staff have been suspended pending the findings of the local authority's own probe into the situation, while the Care Commission confirmed on Tuesday that it plans to revisit the home as soon as possible to check on its progress. The council has refused to confirm or deny just how many staff have been suspended, although an anonymous letter to The Courier claimed as many as 13 employees, including the home's management team, have been suspended. The report marks a sudden deterioration in standards at Alan McLure, given the fact that an unannounced inspection on February 18 and an announced inspection on July 22 gave the home 'good' or 'very good' ratings. Those ratings were true following inspections in January, July and September 2009, but the latest inspection has concluded that requirements made at the time of the last inspection had not been met. A commission spokesman said, "The Care Commission works rigorously to root out bad practice. We are aware of a number of recent issues concerning poor standards of care being provided for residents at Alan McLure House. "Our last inspection report awarded the service grades of two (weak) and we demanded that the service provider immediately address these concerns to improve the standard of care being provided to residents and their families." He added, "The Care Commission has since met with senior management from Fife Council, who have provided us with an action plan with timescales and detailed information about how they are addressing these issues. "We are working closely with the service provider to ensure these improvements are made, and will continue to monitor progress." Alan McLure House is one of 10 council-run homes which are being looked at during the local authority's consultation into the future of residential care, which came to an end on Tuesday. While two new care homes, one in Kirkcaldy and one in Dunfermline, are likely to be built to replace Appin House and Raith Gates in Kirkcaldy and Matthew Fyfe in Dunfermline, the council is considering its options in relation to the remaining seven, including Alan McLure House, with a view to replacing them "as and when suitable alternative provision becomes available."Wellbeing 'paramount'However, the prospect of homes being closed to save cash, with residents transferred to homes in the private or not-for-profit sector, has not yet been ruled out, with recommendations on the best way forward expected in the coming weeks. According to inspectors, an action plan requested by the Care Commission to ensure the health and wellbeing of service users at Alan McLure House "did not reflect the urgency required," while it noted there had been "extremely limited action" in response to concerns expressed by residents' relatives. While medication-ordering procedures had been amended and there was evidence of a speedy response when stocks were low, the Care Commission revealed it had since been notified of an incident that led to a resident being without one of their medications for a whole day. Although it was noted staff recorded the maximum and minimum temperatures of stored medicines fully in 24 hours, as recommended by best practice, the report went on to reveal the minimum temperature was recorded as below the recommended level for around six weeks, with no action taken to rectify the situation. Other criticisms suggested no training had been delivered or planned in response to concerns about caring for an epilepsy sufferer, while a care plan for another resident with epilepsy did not refer to their condition. Rona Laing, head of older people's services, confirmed there is an "ongoing investigation" at Alan McLure Home but said it would be "inappropriate" to provide further details at this time. But she added, "The health and wellbeing of our residents is paramount and where our service falls short of the standards we expect, we take immediate action. "We are in direct contact with families and are working with the Care Commission to ensure that standards are maintained and that staff provide the highest quality of care for residents." The Courier revealed towards the end of 2010 an elderly woman attending day care in March was given diluted cleaning fluid to drink after the container got mixed up with a juice bottle stored in the same cupboard. She was taken to hospital for a check-up but did not require any medical treatment. The home in Balbirnie Road provides 24-hour residential care and support for up to 40 older adults.