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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...


Councillor presses NHS Fife to cover cost of treatment for lung cancer patient

April 7 2011

Fife's health chiefs have been urged to explain why they have refused to fund pioneering treatment for a local cancer patient. Independent councillor and health campaigner Andrew Rodger revealed that he has written to NHS Fife chairman Professor Jim McGoldrick asking him to outline the reasons for denying Tarek Ramzi the £22,000 he needs to treat a complex tumour in his lung. The Methil man, who may have just months to live, asked Mr Rodger to intervene on his behalf after his appeal against the decision was also turned down. He is also angry that he was not allowed to attend the appeal hearing to plead his case. As we reported earlier this week, Mr Ramzi (56) has already been successfully treated for five brain tumours but radiation and chemotherapy failed to eradicate the cancer in his lung. A consultant referred him to a hospital in England which uses painless, non-invasive CyberKnife technology to treat tumours like Mr Ramzi's and he was assessed as a suitable candidate although he was told NHS Fife would have to fund the treatment. Despite undergoing an operation to reduce the cost from £44,000, Fife's health bosses said there was not enough evidence to suggest CyberKnife was an effective treatment. In his letter to Mr McGoldrick, Mr Rodger said he found that explanation hard to believe, given the treatment was recognised south of the border. The councillor also criticised the fact that Mr Ramzi had had to wait two months for the results of his appeal.'Beggars belief'"I believe that Tarek should be given the help and the opportunity to eradicate the tumour that lies within his lung," he said. "I also believe that the delay in not letting Tarek know of your decision until February of this year beggars belief. "It is stated in his letter that one panel member did not receive his papers due to postal problems over the Christmas and New Year period and that delayed matters. Why was email not used or a personal courier? Time is of the essence in this case. "I hope you, as the chairman of Fife NHS, will investigate this matter urgently and reconsider your decision as Tarek may only have months to live. This is not just about Tarek but also about recognising there may be other cancer sufferers who could benefit from the same kind of treatment." Members of the community have rallied round Mr Ramzi and have launched a fund-raising drive in a bid to raise the £22,000 needed for his treatment.


Medical director gives cancer sufferer Tarek Ramzi some hope of securing treatment

April 22 2011

A lung cancer patient who was recently denied potentially life-saving treatment has been given a glimmer of hope by Fife's medical director. As we previously reported, Tarek Ramzi (56) from Methil approached Councillor Andrew Rodger after he failed to secure funding from NHS Fife for a relatively new procedure called CyberKnife to treat a tumour on his lung. Although local people have launched a fund-raising drive in a bid to raise the money to allow him to have the treatment privately, he is continuing to press his case with NHS Fife and also approached Mr Rodger for help, who organised a meeting with the region's medical director Dr Brian Montgomery. Dr Montgomery said that although he was still of the opinion that the risks of the costly treatment outweighed the benefits, he would write to the consultant who is willing to undertake Mr Ramzi's treatment to ask him for further information that might make him consider the proposal in a more favourable light. Mr Rodger said, "Although the scientific facts are there, there is also the human factor which I believe needs to be taken into consideration. "Mr Ramzi has had tumours in the past and has never allowed them to beat him. First, he had a tumour in the brain but managed to convince one of the consultants to operate on it whilst others said it was too risky and that tumour was removed with success. "He then went on to have another five tumours in his brain and was told by a consultant that if he had any more radiotherapy it could cause him damage. However, he refused to lie down to this and inquired instead about a special treatment called Gamma Knife. He later underwent the procedure which eradicated all the tumours. "To sum up, Tarek has not just beaten cancer once but twice and that is why when he found out about the CyberKnife treatment he decided to pursue this line of treatment, too. "After discussions Dr Montgomery has given us a small glimmer of hope saying he is prepared to write to the consultant who is willing to undertake Mr Ramzi's treatment and ask him what further evidence or case studies he can offer that could make him change his mind and allow the treatment to go ahead. "As Mr Ramzi's local councillor, I hope that this evidence is produced quickly, and if the bid to secure funding from NHS Fife is not successful, I hope that members of the public can help Mr Ramzi to raise the £22,000 he needs for this procedure that will hopefully extend his life. "If anyone wants to help fund his treatment they can contact me on 01333 353279 and I will be happy to put them in touch with Mr Ramzi."


Tarek Ramzi loses brave battle against cancer

September 1 2011

A Fife man who fought to receive potentially lifesaving cancer treatment has lost his battle against his illness. Tarek Ramzi from Methil died last Monday without ever starting the pioneering CyberKnife treatment to remove tumours from his lung. His wife Senga has paid tribute to her "brave, brave husband", who had twice beaten cancer before being diagnosed for a third time. She said Tarek had fought for treatment for himself as well as for every other cancer patient in Scotland, and had retained his humour to the end. Mr Ramzi was initially denied funding from NHS Fife for the £22,000 CyberKnife treatment which is only available south of the border. In April, the 56-year-old told The Courier he feared that without the non-invasive treatment which directs pencil beams of radiation at affected areas, he would have between six months and a year to live. Local people began fundraising to help him pay for private therapy and he enlisted the help of local councillor and health campaigner Andrew Rodger in a bid to persuade health bosses to change their minds. He and Senga fought a relentless campaign and researched the benefits of CyberKnife themselves, which allowed them to press their case. His despair finally turned to joy in June when following various meetings with the health board, he was told his funding had been approved and he said he had been thrown a lifeline. Sadly, the news came too late and he was unable to receive the treatment he had fought so hard for. "He was a very, very brave person and his fight to get treatment made him strong", said Senga. "He never lay down to it and never gave up so it was quite a shock when we had to phone an ambulance for him." Mr Ramzi died in hospital with Senga and daughters Tina and Tamara by his side. His step-son John Boy and sons-in-law Mark and Naveed were also with him. "He wasn't in pain and he never suffered", said Senga. "He went very peacefully. "He was always thanking everybody for what they had done and he was amazed people could be so nice." Mr Rodger said he was saddened to hear of Mr Ramzi's death, and described him as a humble and decent man. "He deserved to get that treatment months ago, and that's the sad thing," he said. "He had a will to live and wanted to get on with his life. His death is a very sad loss to the community and his family."


Lung cancer patient pleads for access to CyberKnife treatment

April 5 2011

A Fife man with advanced lung cancer has been denied funding for pioneering treatment that he believes could save his life. Tarek Ramzi from Methil says that, without the new form of radiotherapy, he could only have between six months and a year to live. An oncology professor told the 56-year-old father-of-two he was a suitable candidate for CyberKnife, a painless and non-invasive treatment for complex tumours that directs pencil beams of radiation at affected areas. Hundreds of people have been successfully treated south of the border, but the method is not available in Scotland and NHS Fife would have to pay £22,000 before Mr Ramzi could be considered. A partially successful operation has reduced the original cost from £44,000 but Fife's health chiefs have continued to refuse to fund the treatment, saying there is not enough evidence to prove it is effective. They deny their position has anything to do with cost. An appeal against the decision by a desperate Mr Ramzi was rejected and he has now enlisted the help of local councillor and health campaigner Andrew Rodger. Mr Ramzi, who lives with wife Senga in Kirkland Walk, was diagnosed three years ago with lung cancer that spread to his brain. Two courses of chemotherapy failed and while radiotherapy contained the tumour in his chest, it did not eradicate it. Last year he discovered he had five tumours in his brain that were treated in Sheffield through a system called Gammaknife, which is similar to CyberKnife but only treats head cancers. "Three weeks after the treatment I went for a scan in Fife which showed all five tumours had disappeared," said Mr Ramzi. "Now I'm fighting for the lung and I've twice been refused, even though I went out of my way to reduce the cost from £44,000 to £22,000. "It would have to be done in England because Scotland doesn't have CyberKnife but I was told I would have to apply for funding in Fife because the NHS in England is bankrupt.Spread"I can't get any more radiation because I've had my limit, but although Cyberknife is a kind of radiation it doesn't damage the organ, just the tumour." He added, "My consultant was all for it and applied for the funding but was refused. There's nothing else I can get. Without treatment the tumour will go berserk and spread all over the place. "If I don't get any treatment, basically I have six months to a year. At the moment, everything is standing still and it's not spreading anywhere but I don't know how long that will last. I get up every morning and it's a blessing." Mr Rodger called on NHS Fife to reconsider, saying, "This gentleman is desperate. NHS Fife have said CyberKnife is not a recommended clinical pathway under UK guidance but I think they're hiding behind that guidance and I don't think they have done their homework on this. "There are six hospitals in England using it and there is evidence that people who have had this treatment have become 100% clear of cancer." A spokeswoman for NHS Fife said, "NHS Fife is unable to comment on the circumstances of individual cases, due to patient confidentiality. "However, we can confirm that correspondence continues with the patient around the original and appeal decisions. "NHS Fife would like to make it clear this is not a cost issue and believes there is a lack of evidence to support the effectiveness of the treatment."

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.

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

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.


Award-winning Tayside song writer Eddie Cairney immortalises Queensferry Crossing in tune

October 25 2017

An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o' the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms. Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It's just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge. https://youtu.be/Z6BblA_Zev4 “As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge? “I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over. “With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there's nothing here I can write about but there's always something to write about. “You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually. https://youtu.be/a9NyQAFjDsY “I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o' the Q.C. “It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!” Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. https://youtu.be/y_y1y8oV7vo Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song "He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal" Has to be with a name like Columba!” Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.” https://youtu.be/dJgsl2WQ5G0   “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. https://youtu.be/Dme-bfCXHRI “If you forget your piece you've had it and you starve for there's no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was "midday salvation"! Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words. https://youtu.be/phtQ2-Xx1I0 He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.” Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival  for Dundee City Council in 2002. Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y51tixl9GEs Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing  when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.