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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...

Perth & Kinross

Jack McNaughton gets set to take his first steps

November 1 2010

Almondbank cerebral palsy sufferer Jack McNaughton (3) could be just weeks away from taking his first steps. Jack's parents, Stacy and Graham, always dreamed of the "miracle" that would allow the three-year-old to live a normal life. This year it seemed their prayers had been answered when they heard Jack was suitable for a procedure that could eliminate the problems within his nervous system. The treatment, performed at St Louis Children's Hospital in Missouri, USA, has a 100% success rate in under-fours. However, the operation comes with a £40,000 price tag. Undeterred, his parents started a fund-raising effort, and this weekend the final push saw models strutting their stuff on the "Jack Walk." Jack and his parents are now set to fly to St Louis on November 12. Since May, more than £60,000 has been raised to enable Stacy and Graham to pay for the operation, the aftercare and all their flights and accommodation. Following the surgery they face several more trips to St Louis with Jack for further treatment. After months of hard work there was a celebratory atmosphere at this weekend's fashion show, held in Perth's Loft nightclub. On Jack's return from America, Stacy and Graham will have to take him to a therapy centre in Glasgow three days a week and he will have physiotherapy in Perth five days a week. The operation, which will be carried out by renowned surgeon Thomas Sierra Park, will either reduce the spasticity in Jack's body or completely eliminate it. Dr Park has more than 20 years experience and has carried out more than 2000 operations of this particular type. "The operation has a 100% success rate in children like Jack aged between two and four," Stacy said. "Only one such procedure takes place in the UK every six years and doctors open up the entire spinal area, meaning the child takes months to recover. "However, Dr Park in the US will only make an inch-long incision, and Jack should be out of hospital within a week." Stacy talked of her gratitude for all of those who have helped in what has been a truly remarkable fund-raising effort. "We are just so grateful and overwhelmed by the support we have received," she said. "I cannot put into words how amazing it will be to give Jack the chance to live like any other wee boy. He is such a wonderful, happy, intelligent child and fully deserves it."

Perth & Kinross

Jack on track for US surgery

July 14 2014

The parents of a brave Perthshire schoolboy have booked the final stage of surgery which could see him walk unaided for the first time. Jack McNaughton has already travelled to the St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri, USA, to have advanced surgery, known as selective dorsal rhizotomy, to treat the effects of his cerebral palsy. The six-year-old will fly back to the States later this month for a further operation to lengthen muscles in his feet. Mum Stacy McNaughton said they had already raised half of the £25,000 needed for the procedure and made the decision to press ahead. Without the surgery, Jack, who lives in Almondbank, faces having to undergo bone reconstruction surgery, a far more invasive operation. Stacy said: “Jack is scheduled for surgery on July 29. We are still getting money coming in but I estimate we’ve raised £11,500 out of £25,000. “We’re able to go ahead now we’ve reached a half-way point because Jack isn’t a new patient to the hospital.” It has not all been plain sailing, however. “We’ve had a setback in that Jack has been having extreme pain in his left foot and somehow he’s managed to bruise it I believe it’s because of the way he’s been going over on his ankle,” said Stacy. “It made us revise things and make a judgment on when he was to have his surgery and, ultimately, it needs to be sooner rather than later. “It’s kept him off his feet for a week now, which is quite detrimental. “It was a difficult decision but I think it was the best one. I’m really excited but really nervous.” Stacy added that fundraising efforts continue. “We are doing a final big push to raise as much money as possible and we are still doing rag bag collections,” she said. “We will also be holding a sportsman dinner at the Lovatt hotel in Perth on August 9 with (former Dundee manager) John Brown as the main speaker.”


Jack McNaughton fund-raising effort to wrap up in style

August 21 2010

Models are to strut their stuff down the 'Jack Walk' later this year to raise the final cash needed to send an Almondback boy for life-changing surgery. Businesses from across Perth got together to plan a fund-raising event for Jack McNaughton at The Loft Nightclub on South Street on October 30. Jack, who turns three next month, was born with cerebral palsy and has yet to take his first steps unaided. As he grows, he has to endure increasing pain in his limbs. Parents Stacy and Graham worked tirelessly to find a doctor who could help and hope came in the form of a £40,000 trip to St Louis Children's Hospital in Missouri, USA. Jack will be able to undertake the journey in November thanks to the generosity of the community, with around £35,000 being raised since April. Stacy said the fashion show would be the "perfect finale" to an amazing fund-raising campaign. "We've been approached by lots of local shops who are going to provide all the clothing and footwear for the night -- it's going to be amazing. "I have to say a special thanks to Lori and Kerry at Eva Lucia for all their help in organising 'Jack Walk'. Their shoes are going to set the runway on fire!" Staff at The Loft presented Jack with a cheque for £350, raised during a Moulin Rouge-themed collection night. A total of 400 tickets are available for the fashion show, at a cost of £15 (VIP £20). Call 07936 118865 for details. To send Jack a donation via PayPal use the ID Jacksfund40@yahoo.co.uk.

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


‘In a relationship’ Facebook profile snares benefit fraudster

June 16 2015

A mother whose £30,000 scam was rumbled after benefits bosses checked her Facebook page was jailed yesterday. Denise Lonie lied to welfare chiefs that she was a single mum and had split from partner Graeme Heatherwick despite the fact they were living together as a family with their children at their home in Dundee. For more than four years she hid their relationship from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) so she could claim Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. But in reality the family were together. A probe began after confidential information was received by the DWP. During their investigation they discovered her Facebook page said she was “in a relationship with Graeme Heatherwick”. Fiscal depute Nicola Gillespie told Dundee Sheriff Court: “There were various checks through banks and other establishments such as the council. They appeared to show that Mr Heatherwick resided at her address. “His bank account was registered at that address, as was his credit card. “He was down as an emergency contact with the school, and the address was given as her address. “Checks were done on her Facebook account which showed her as in a relationship with him.” Lonie, 37, of Fintryside, Dundee, pled guilty on indictment to a charge of being knowingly concerned in a fraudulent activity with a view to obtaining tax credits to which she was not entitled. Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC jailed Lonie for 12 months.

Perth & Kinross

Jack McNaughton sets off for transatlantic check-up

April 19 2012

Most hospital check-ups warrant a short car journey, but for one Perthshire youngster it means a 10-hour flight across the Atlantic. Accompanied by his parents and younger sister, little Jack McNaughton from Almondbank today set off on the 4,000 miles to Missouri in the United States to see the surgeon who changed his life 18 months ago. Once destined to life in a motorised wheelchair, the disabled four-year-old can now get around using special crutches thanks to Dr TS Park. The renowned consultant, who works at St Louis Children's Hospital in the midwestern state, carried out pioneering selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) surgery to help correct Jack's spastic diplegia a form of cerebral palsy. One of the first children in Scotland to undergo the £40,000 procedure, the pre-schooler saw results almost immediately. However, only now is it becoming apparent that his dreams of walking unaided alongside his friends and even skiing might become a reality. Dr Park has been monitoring Jack's progress online, and after witnessing a recent video of him rotating his ankles he said: ''He does isolated foot movements! He will have a good chance to do independent walking.'' The McNaughton family will visit the specialist physiotherapists involved in the tot's post-op care and an orthopaedic surgeon will assess Jack's heel cords. He will also be fitted with a new pair of lower-leg splints to ensure his legs continue to strengthen in the correct position bringing the cost of the fortnight-long visit to more than £8,000. Mum Stacy (26) told The Courier: ''It's going to be a very emotional trip but one of the most important we will ever make. Dr Park has seen videos of Jack and has reported back to us that he has exceeded his expectations, but the proof will be when they stand in front of one another.'' She added: ''Jack has so many questions he wants to ask, most importantly if he will ever be able to ski. He has worked so unbelievably hard and hopefully this trip will show him it has paid off. ''As I've said before, none of this would have been possible without the phenomenal fundraising efforts of our local community, who continue to show us so much support.'' Jack spent Wednesday preparing for the long-haul plane journey at MP Fitness in Scone with his trainers, sports scientist Mike Poole and dad Graham (32), who was inspired to change his career last year. Graham has also been given the chance to work hands-on with the SDR team at the St Louis hospital while he is in Missouri. Fundraising continues for Jack at justgiving.com/help-jack-walk.


Mary Logie murder trial: Neighbour tells of finding accused in flat after hearing “hammering noises”

December 7 2016

A neighbour has told a court how "huge bangs" on the floor above prompted her to run to the flat where pensioner Mary Logie was allegedly beaten to death with a rolling pin. The witness said she heard a sound like someone "hammering" to get her attention. She told jurors murder-accused Sandra Weir opened the door of the flat to her, was crying and said the pensioner had fallen, leaving blood "everywhere". The incident happened hours after the neighbour heard a loud bang and the sound of a woman saying "ouch", the court was told. Mrs Logie, 82, was pronounced dead at her home in Leven, on January 5 this year. Weir, 41, is on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, where she denies murder and has lodged a special defence of alibi. She is accused of killing the pensioner by repeatedly striking her on the head and body with a rolling pin or similar instrument. Neighbour Gwen Smith, 64, told day three of the trial that she lived below Mrs Logie's flat and would see her quite regularly. The witness said she was in her own flat on the morning of January 5 when she heard a noise. "I heard a banging on the floor and a woman going 'ouch'," she told the court, later describing the sound as "loud" and "heavy". "It was just a big thump and then there was the 'ouch'," Ms Smith said, adding that she thought a pregnant woman next door had gone into labour. She agreed with prosecutor Alex Prentice QC that there was "absolute silence" from Mrs Logie's flat until later on that evening. The witness told how she was watching soaps on television at about 8pm after having tea with her son and daughter when she heard another noise. "I heard huge bangs on the floor ... somebody hammering on the floor to draw my attention," she said. She said she phoned up to Mrs Logie's flat and then ran upstairs when she got no answer. Ms Smith said Weir was inside the flat and answered the door to her. "She said to me 'she's fell and there's blood everywhere'," the witness told jurors. The witness added that she then saw Mrs Logie lying on the living room floor and could see a rolling pin on the couch. "I think it was quite obvious what had happened to her," she told the court, adding that she then shouted on her son to call for an ambulance. She said Weir was crying and later described her as having "tears in her eyes". Earlier, the court heard Weir had a drug problem and had run up a debt of £320in the month Mrs Logie died. Unemployed Aaron Robertson, 44, told the court he had supplied Weir with heroin over a period of about six months and that she was taking a quantity costing about £70 every two days. He said she had a credit arrangement with him and by January of this year had a debt of £320. The debt was paid off on January 14, the court heard. Mr Robertson gave evidence to the court after Mr Prentice told him he would have immunity from being prosecuted over a criminal offence so far as Weir was concerned. Weir faces eight charges in total, including attempting to defeat the ends of justice and stealing unknown quantities of money, two rings and Mrs Logie's bank card or cards. Prosecutors also allege she used Mrs Logie's bank card to steal £4,460 at cash machines around Fife between December 2014 and January 4 this year. Weir denies the charges against her. The trial, before judge Michael O'Grady QC, continues on Thursday.


This man is setting up a football club in memory of his son, who passed away before he was born

March 9 2018

Hartham United are on the verge of their first season as a Sunday League football club, but they’ll not just be playing for three points each week, they’ll also be playing for Alfie.The club’s founder is Andrew Calvert, 27, from Hertfordshire. Andrew’s son Alfie passed away before he was born in July 2015.Andrew and his wife were supported by the charity 4Louis, which helps parents who have lost a child.That support comes in the form of memory boxes full of things that help grieving parents capture as many memories as they can.Hartham United was created to remember Alfie, as well as to raise money for 4Louis.“They did so much for my wife and I, and they do so much for so many families that have experienced stillbirths, miscarriages and neonatal deaths,” said Andrew.“We were going to start a charity in Alfie’s name, but I didn’t want to take anything away from that charity, so starting a football team means I have something long term in Alfie’s name that can bring attention to the charity in a positive way.”Andrew and his wife have since had three children, and the work of 4Louis means that Alfie’s three younger brothers will have something to remember their sibling by.As for Hartham United, Andrew aims to be able to donate 25% of the club’s funds at the end of each season to 4Louis.He is still looking for people to sponsor players, with that money going to charity also.“My ambition is to get this club, albeit a Sunday league club for now, as much exposure as possible to show people what we are playing for,” said Andrew.

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.