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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...

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose dad putting in the hours to build a brighter future for disabled son

February 5 2011

A Montrose father has been spending every spare waking hour working on a major redevelopment of the family bungalow to make it suitable for his severely disabled son. Gary Allan has been working for the last eight months remodelling the Redfield Crescent house for son Rhys. The three-year-old has cerebral palsy and has been the focus for a major community fund-raising effort that has brought in tens of thousands of pounds to help make his life easier. He went to Germany last autumn to have stem cell treatment, which Gary said has led to improvements in his son's mobility. He hopes to return this year for further treatment, which involves the removal of bone marrow from Rhys' hip and extracting the stem cells before implanting them where needed. "It can take up to six months to see the full effect but we are already seeing improvements in him since the last visit," said Gary. Rhys also has the benefit of private physiotherapy from a London-based specialist, who visits the family three times a year and gives intensive physiotherapy. "It costs about £1000 a trip," said Gary. "He comes up for 10 days and works with Rhys for two and a half hours a day. There's no playing. It's very intense."StretchingGary and his wife Penny carry on the exercises with Rhys between visits, doing half an hour each morning before he heads off to spend the day with his little friends at Rompers nursery, and doing another half hour of stretching every evening. The family have also just returned from the Craighalbert Centre in Cumbernauld, where they spent four days getting more specialist help. That also costs about £1000 a trip and is repeated three times a year. Joiner Gary, who works in Aberdeen, is one of his son's most committed fund-raisers. Last year he completed a sponsored bike ride that raised £7500 but this summer he plans a really exceptional challenge and has inspired some friends to tag along, including another father of a boy with cerebral palsy. Montrose man Dale Murray, father of Riley (6), will take on a three-day challenge which will see the team cycle the 144 miles from Montrose to the foot of Ben Nevis, then climb the mountain. "I've done cycling but not done the climbing bit before," said Gary. "Because I'd done cycling last year, we had to do something bigger." The Allans are about to launch a new website which will keep people up to date with Rhys' progress and the fund-raising efforts. It will also include a new justgiving page that will allow supporters to make donations.WorkIn the meantime, Gary will continue leaving for work at 6.45am and coming home at night and working till late to get his house finished. The home now has an adapted bathroom with a wheelchair access shower cabinet and a spacious room that houses all Rhys' special equipment. He can do his exercises in the room and play with his little brother Max, who is 15 months old. A kitchen and family room has also been built, along with an additional bedroom. "The house is nearly finished," said Gary. "Then we are looking to get a sensory garden and lay soft play slabs. "This is all being done for Rhys. He is only away to turn four but it is for his future, so he can hopefully get around the house himself." While Rhys is clearly his father's inspiration to work hard, there is another one. "If I didn't crack on evenings and weekends, I'd still be doing the house in 2020!" he joked.


Missing Allan Bryant: No ‘dead end’ in investigation, say police

November 4 2014

The officer leading the inquiry into missing Glenrothes man Allan Bryant has said that police have not hit a “dead end”. Chief Inspector Nicola Shepherd said lines of inquiry are continuing to be followed up on the first anniversary of Allan’s disappearance. Despite the largest missing person investigation ever undertaken in Fife, no trace of the 24-year-old has been found since he left Styx nightclub in Caskieberran Road a year ago. On Monday, as Police Scotland released enhanced CCTV footage of Alan’s last known movements, Chief Inspector Shepherd underlined the scale of the task facing her officers. Asked if the investigation had ground to a halt, she replied: “We’re definitely not at a dead end. We’re pursuing a number of lines that we can’t speak openly about. “It’s been absolutely massive from day one. I can honestly say that a Fife force would have struggled to take this forward. “The search has been huge from airborne to water searches. Hundreds of statements have been noted and it’s a major, major inquiry.” Police are hoping that the nightclub footage will help to jog memories of those who may have seen Allan on November 3 2013. Although the footage has been released before, it has been enhanced in the hope that it will be shared on social media, a platform which the Bryant family has successfully utilised to publicise the search for their son. The family also displayed a teddy bear made out of articles of Allan’s clothing, an item they poignantly held on to throughout a press conference at police headquarters in Glenrothes. It came just hours after a candlelit vigil at Caskieberran Road, the location of Styx where Allan was last seen. However, Allan’s father, Allan Snr, once again took the opportunity to criticise the earlier police investigation, before stating that he had every faith in the current set-up to establish what has happened to his son. “The police were a joke since day one,” he said. “But now we have new faces. “I believe they have to go back and re-evaluate everyone who has made a statement. The answer is there in the police files.”

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose toddler’s family ‘eternally grateful’ for charity’s help

June 13 2013

An Angus toddler who underwent life-saving surgery at birth is joining his parents to thank those that allowed his mum and dad to be at his side. Rhys Sim, from Montrose, had to go through an emergency procedure to repair his oesophagus after staff at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, identified a problem shortly after he was born. He was rushed to Edinburgh to prepare for his operation where his mum and dad, Louise and Robert, were given accommodation funded by the Sick Kids Friends Foundation to allow them to be near their child. Now, 16 months old and fighting fit, Rhys is set to join his parents on the 10th Teddy Toddle and Summer Fair on Saturday to help raise funds for the organisation. Accountant Louise, 31, said: “I was really worried about Rhys and just wanted to be with him, holding his little hand when he went through surgery. I hadn’t long given birth when I persuaded the medical team in Dundee to discharge me. “Rhys’s operation took place the following day. Our accommodation was completely taken care of, which was great as our minds were full of worry about our little boy. “The charity provides so much support for families of children receiving life-saving treatment at the hospital. This small comfort made the world of difference to us.” Rhys and his parents will be joining a mixed bunch of fancy-dressed participants on the toddle, including Disney legends Minnie and Mickey Mouse and Star Wars characters. The Sick Kids Friends Foundation was set up in 1992 to support the work of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. The hospital receives more than 100,000 children through its doors each year from all over the east of Scotland and assists in the provision of a wide variety of extra comforts, which make time in hospital better for children. These include more child and family-friendly facilities, buying extra medical equipment and support for sick children who are cared for in the community as well as providing funding for training and research. “Rhys’s operation was successful because of the fantastic surgeons and staff at the hospital but also because of the state-of-the-art keyhole surgery the foundation had previously purchased,” added Louise. “Funds from the charity are so imperative to supporting families like ours and we will be eternally grateful. “Taking part in the teddy toddle is our small way of giving back and showing our thanks for the priceless help we were offered in our time of need.” The Teddy Toddle and Summer Fair will take place at Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh, from noon to 4pm. For updates on what will be happening on the day, visit the charity’s Facebook page.

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

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.

Dundee FC

Dundee boss Paul Hartley expects loan signing to play his part

October 8 2015

Dundee boss Paul Hartley insists Rhys Healey can become an important player for the Dark Blues as he waits for his first full chance to impress. The highly-rated front man was snapped up on loan from Cardiff City at the start of last month. The 20-year-old has made three substitute appearances for his new club so far and came off the bench again in last Saturday’s 2-1 league win over Motherwell. Then on Tuesday night he netted twice for Dundee’s development side in a 3-1 victory over Partick as he continues to impress the manager. Hartley said: “Rhys has had to be patient but he’ll get his chance. “We know what he is capable of and have seen his qualities at first-hand in training. “Rhys’s attitude has been first-class and he’s fitted in well with the rest of the boys. “We have strong competition all over the park but are sure he can do well for us in the time he’s here.” Meanwhile, Dundee are still assessing the extent of injuries to Greg Stewart and Kevin Thomson from the Motherwell game.


Allan Bryant Sr accepts ‘troll’ apology from BBC

January 30 2016

The father of missing Fife man Allan Bryant Jr has received an apology from the BBC after it broadcast an interview with a man who was jailed for claiming to be Allan’s murderer. Allan Bryant Sr criticised the BBC for broadcasting the Troll Hunters programme on BBC Three on Wednesday which featured serial troll Stewart McInroy who previously claimed to have killed Allan Jr. McInroy was handed a 10-month sentence after posting on the Find Allan Bryant Jr Facebook page, claiming to have abducted him, held him hostage and tortured him. But Mr Bryant Sr was angry that the family had no input into the programme and criticised the BBC. However, the programme’s executive producer has now contacted Mr Bryant Sr to apologise. “They totally understand where we’re coming from as a family and they didn’t realise there would be so much to it than there really was,” Mr Bryant said. “This has caused us no end of grief and heartache since the start of the week. But we have to now move on from this it’s as simple as that.”

Scottish League 1

Dunfermline sign former Rangers midfielder Rhys McCabe

September 18 2015

Dunfermline boss Allan Johnston has bolstered his squad ahead of tomorrow’s league game at Stenhousemuir with the addition of former Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Rhys McCabe. The 23-year-old left the Owls at the end of last season and had trial spells with St Johnstone and Hibs before turning out for the Pars development side earlier this month. McCabe, who has been capped at Scotland Under-21 level, has now signed a deal with Dunfermline.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk