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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...


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.

UK & World

Pilot pleads not guilty over Shoreham Airshow manslaughter charges

May 15 2018

A pilot whose plane crashed during the 2015 Shoreham Airshow, killing 11 men, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.Andrew Hill, 54, faces trial on 11 charges of manslaughter by gross negligence and one of recklessly or negligently endangering an aircraft under air navigation laws.The defendant, who is on bail, pleaded not guilty to all the charges relating to the crash on August 22, 2015.He wore a grey suit and blue tie for his appearance at the Old Bailey before Judge Richard Marks QC.The judge set a trial for January 14 2019 and confirmed the case would be heard by a High Court judge.The trial is expected to go on for up to seven weeks.The victims were Maurice Rex Abrahams, Dylan Archer, Anthony David Brightwell, Matthew James Grimstone, Matthew Wesley Jones, James Graham Mallinson, Mark Alexander Reeves, Jacob Henry Schilt, Richard Jonathan Smith, Mark James Trussler and Daniele Gaetano Polito.Hill, of Sandon, Hertfordshire, is accused of “recklessly or negligently” endangering a Hawker Hunter G-BXFI or any person on that aircraft contrary to Article 137 of the Air Navigation Order 2009.Judge Marks ordered a pre-trial review at the Old Bailey on a date to be arranged at the end of October.Hill remains on unconditional bail.

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

UK & World

School criticised by grieving father

July 10 2013

A father has criticised a school for announcing his son’s death to other parents before he had been told. William Avery-Wright, 13, died after being knocked down by a 4x4 outside his school as he crossed a road to play in a rugby match. His father, Christopher, said Worth School, near Turners Hill, Crawley, West Sussex, sent out an email to parents after William had been struck. Then around half an hour later another email was sent to parents announcing William’s death while Mr Avery-Wright was still unaware on a train from London. As he was on the train, Mr Avery-Wright said he started receiving messages of condolence via text from people who had received the school’s email. William’s mother, Lisa, had already arrived at the hospital, but she was advised not to break the news of her death to her husband until he arrived. Following an inquest into his death, Mr Avery-Wright condemned the school, saying it had acted “appallingly” and that its actions had caused “incredible pain”. They are suing the school after claiming he should have been supervised by an adult across the road. The Roman Catholic school, which also posted a statement on its website about William’s death, has previously said it published the information in “good faith”, but its initial belief his parents had been informed turned out to be “incorrect”. Following the two-day inquest at Crawley Town Hall, West Sussex, assistant deputy coroner Bridget Dolan recorded a verdict of accidental death. The coroner ruled out submissions that William died as a result of neglect, but she did say school rules had not been “adhered to”. Outside the hearing, Mr Avery-Wright, said: “I think the school behaved inappropriately. They decided to announce to the school parents by email that William had died.” “I think if a child dies in the school’s custody there should be reconciliation and we feel the school behaved appallingly to Lisa and me in that reconciliation.”

UK & World

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.

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show - now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) - a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.


William Stormonth Death Penny search reveals family ties

October 16 2010

A descendant of a fallen Dunfermline soldier who was killed in the first world war has managed to trace her family roots to him, thanks to The Courier. Helen Gamble, of Fort Myers, Florida, said she was "delighted" to find out that she is the niece of the late Private William Stormonth, after a story was printed asking for relatives to get in touch in order for a Death Penny to be given to them. The Death Penny was a bronze memorial given to the next of kin of men who were killed in the first world war. The penny, which bears the name of a William Stormonth, whose parents lived in the Dunfermline area, was recently given to Bert Elson of The Royal British Legion Thailand Branch. Pte Stormonth, who was 20 when he died, was the son of Peter and Helen Gibbon Stormonth, of School House, Wellwood, Dunfermline. More than 1.1 million Death Pennies were issued following the end of the first world war, and Mrs Gamble said she was able to trace her ancestry to Pte Stormonth through her cousin, Loraine Graham, of Perth. Ms Graham had seen the article in The Courier and felt sure her family were related to Pte Stormonth. Peter Stormonth was her uncle and she knew he emigrated to America. She said, "His family were all brought up over there and they didn't return to Scotland. I believe that it must be the same family as the dates tie in there are too many coincidences." Mrs Gamble contacted The Courier after being sent the articles by Ms Graham, and said she was "delighted" to find out what had happened to him. "My father did speak of William but he got emotional when this happened," she said. "He often said that he felt William died too young. "It has been so exciting to be able to speak to you about my uncle's history thank you so much for trying to find us." She continued, "I visited Scotland with my parents when I was 18 months old, but have not been back since. My father talked about his brother, William, quite often and was very sad that he died so young. "My father was born in Glasgow, but the family moved to Dunfermline when he was quite young. Since my father was younger than his brother William, I am assuming that William was also born in Glasgow. "Dad often spoke of William's death during the war, but was never able to discuss the details as it was too difficult for him. I believe both William and my father, Peter Stormonth, were both in The Black Watch."

UK & World

Mother brands daughter’s killer ‘evil coward of a man’

April 9 2018

The mother of a travel agent executed in cold blood at her workplace has told her murderer face-to-face he was an “evil coward of a man” before he was jailed for life.Tracy Hayes entered the witness box at Liverpool Crown Court to read out a powerful victim personal statement at the sentencing of Andrew Burke, who viciously slashed her daughter’s throat as she tended to customers.Burke, 31, blamed Cassie Hayes, 28, an assistant manager at the Tui branch in Southport, Merseyside, for “ruining his life” after she began a relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Laura Williams, 29, following their break-up.A day before the brutal killing on a Saturday afternoon in front of her colleagues and customers, including children, the defendant appeared before magistrates where he admitted harassing Ms Williams months before. He was bailed ahead of sentencing and later told his sister on the phone: “I can’t do it any more. I’ll turn left and go home, or turn right, go to Wilkinsons, buy the biggest knife I can find, go to Southport and slit Cassie’s throat.”In 2017, Burke was warned by police, who issued an information notice for allegedly harassing Ms Hayes and also received a court fine and an unpaid work requirement after he admitting making a malicious communication to his mother in which he repeatedly threatened to kill Ms Hayes and himself.On January 13 this year, Burke bought a kitchen knife and entered the Chapel Street shop with his hood up and told a currency exchange cashier: “Ijust want to apologise for what I am about to do.”After he lowered his hood he walked behind Ms Hayes and placed his arms around her head before he cut her throat and sliced completely throughher voicebox.Burke calmly sat down amid the chaotic scenes and was later laid on the floor in the centre of the shop when police arrived in response to emergency calls, said prosecutor Gordon Cole QC.He told a firearms officer: “I was in court yesterday and I lost. It was either kill me or kill her, so I killed her.“The only reason I wasn’t still cutting her when you turned up was cos you’d shoot me and I didn’t want to put you through that.”Ms Hayes was rushed to hospital as stunned shoppers in the busy precinct looked on, but died later the same day.On Monday after Burke, of Vincent Street, St Helens, pleaded guilty to murder and possessing an offensive weapon in public, Ms Hayes’s mother came forward to the witness box, supported arm-in-arm by Ms Hayes’s sister, Nadine.Tracy Hayes, from Alnwick, Northumberland, told Burke, who sat emotionless in the dock: “You took the most precious gift I ever had in my life, my beautiful daughter, my baby, in the most horrific way ever.“You are the most evil, evil monster walking on this whole earth. You do not deserve to breathe fresh air.”She went on: “You are a sick, disturbed man and you do not deserve to walk the streets again. You should spend the rest of your life behind bars.“I just want my baby back and I hope you rot in hell you evil, evil coward of a man. You fat, evil coward.”As the pair returned to their seats, the packed public gallery broke into applause.David McLachlan QC, defending, said his client had led an “unremarkable and trouble-free life” up until the age of 29.He started a relationship with Ms Williams and they had a daughter together, but he later became depressed and moved out of their home, the court heard.Matters “turned toxic” when he discovered she was with Ms Hayes and he took it “very very badly” and took two overdoses.The court was told his life then revolved around an obsession with his ex-girlfriend and blaming Ms Hayes for their break-up.Sentencing Burke to a minimum of 26 years in jail before he can be considered for parole, Judge David Aubrey told the defendant: “You perpetrated a cold-blooded execution in public for the purpose of revenge and in my judgment the killing was an act of unspeakable savagery.“This was a cowardly act of revenge designed to kill and did kill a totally innocent person in broad daylight in front of, and witnessed by, so many.”Burke received a two-year concurrent sentence for possessing an offensive weapon in public.In February he was sentenced to 12 weeks in jail for the harassment of Ms Williams.


Man murdered brother in “wicked” crime that also left Fife woman with life-threatening burns

July 21 2017

A man has admitted murdering his brother and attempting to murder his brother’s girlfriend in a New Year’s Day house fire. Blair Logan poured petrol on his younger brother Cameron, 23, and the bed he was sharing with Rebecca Williams as they slept at their family home in Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, in the early hours of January 1 this year. Ms Williams was rescued from the fire and treated in hospital, while Logan’s parents were treated for smoke inhalation. Logan, 27, pleaded guilty to a charge of murder and attempted murder at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday. He had been arrested two weeks after the fire amid a major Police Scotland investigation. The family dog, Gomez, was also killed in the fire. Defence lawyer Shelagh McCall QC said Logan showed “wicked recklessness” but did not intend to kill his brother. He was said to have “felt physically sick at the whole thing”. Logan has been subject to two psychiatric reports which concluded there was not sufficient evidence for a plea of diminished responsibility. Ms McCall said there were “unusual traits” in Logan’s personality and that he had a lack of understanding of the impact of his actions on other people. Lady Scott asked for a social worker report and set a sentencing date for August 11 at the High Court in Livingston.