The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Monday, 15 October 2018

Warm welcome for soldiers back to Ayr

Around 400 soldiers from 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, also known as 2 SCOTS, took to the streets of Ayr for a parade to mark their homecoming.


Many of the solders are local, so people were out in force to welcome them home after a six-month tour of Iraq, South Sudan and Cyprus.

The pipes and drums were accompanied by loud applause and cheering from an appreciative public as the troops marched through the heart of Ayr led by Corporal Cruachan IV – the Regimental Mascot. The Shetland pony was unruffled by the crowds as he led the way to the town hall for a special ceremony.

It’s been a long but rewarding six months for 2 SCOTS as they took part in operations to provide peace and stability in some of the most dangerous parts of the  world.

In Iraq the soldiers were based in the Kurdistan region providing training to local security forces. Working just outside Baghdad, soldiers from the battalion also linked up with an Australian and Spanish-led coalition to help stabilise the region.

Overseas tours ensure the soldiers from 2 SCOTS gain valuable experience and, at the Town Hall, Lieutenant Toomey, Corporal Morrison, Fusilier Brady, Fusilier Gillespie and Fusilier McGuffie all received Operational Service Medals for their distinguished service in Iraq.

The soldiers also took the opportunity to add hundreds of crochet and knitted poppies to a remembrance banner in the town hall. The poppies have been made by members of the public to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War and the banner will feature at Remembrance Day events. 

Major General Euan Loudon CBE also accepted a cheque for £34,000 on behalf of former soldier Corporal Ronnie ‘Annie’ Oakley who unfortunately passed away recently. It was Annie’s wish that the money be left to the Royal Highland Fusilier (RHF) Museum in Glasgow.

Helen Moonie, South Ayrshire Provost said: “I would like to thank the people of South Ayrshire for welcoming the soldiers’ home. I know how much it means to those that took part in the parade to see and hear people young and old cheering them on, it’s something that will stay with the men and women of 2 SCOTS for many years to come.

“It was a particularly poignant moment to see serving soldiers attach crochet and knitted poppies to the First World War memorial banner in the town hall and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed so far.”

Lieutenant Colonel D C Close, Commanding Officer 2 SCOTS said: “After 6 months of performing operations 2 SCOTS are back to say thank you to our communities, to our recruiting areas, to our families and friends who have supported us throughout the last year.

“It is a joy to be in amongst our Scottish community who play a major role in supporting us and have done for many years.”

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Thursday, 27 September 2018

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle NEXT MEETING

The next business breakfast networking meeting of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle will take place at 8am on Friday 2 November at the new Ayr Academy.

Our hosts are South Ayrshire Council.

As well as the usual excellent opportunity to network with other leading Ayrshire business people, the meeting will also provide a forum to hear from councillors and officials and discuss with them such topical issues as the Station Hotel and the regeneration of Ayr town centre. And of course to see round the new Ayr Academy.


Tea, coffee and rolls will be provided.

In order to facilitate seating and catering arrangements, please e-mail murdochmacdonald@hotmail.com to advise how many from your company will be attending, plus the number of any guests you may care to invite.

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Regeneration of Ayr continues as Ayr Renaissance is wound down

The Administration of South Ayrshire Council has taken the decision to disband Ayr Renaissance.

Staff from the organisation had previously transferred to the Council, and the Ayr Renaissance Board will now be discontinued.

Projects being delivered by Ayr Renaissance will be picked up by the Council, and will continue to support the ongoing regeneration of Ayr Town Centre.


Leader of South Ayrshire Council, Douglas Campbell (pictured above) said: “I would like to thank the Board of Ayr Renaissance for all their hard work and dedication. Since 2009 they have worked alongside the Council, making a big difference to the establishment of an exciting vision for the Ayr.

“We are now at the stage where we can set aside the funds for projects to continue the regeneration of the Town Centre, and we want to know what the wider public think in advance of setting the Council budget in March of next year.

“We’re committed to making the most of the local economy, and having welcoming towns and villages are a big part of that ambition. Town centres which are lived in are much more attractive places to be, so we are looking at changing planning regulations to allow empty shops and businesses to become residential properties.

“Bringing people back into the heart of Ayr Town Centre is vital. and we know that large numbers of people use our swimming pools. The Citadel is nearing the end of its useful life, and we believe there is an opportunity to increase footfall if a new swimming pool were built in the Town Centre.

“We need a new plan for the riverside, as the Council is no longer building an office block. We have taken the decision to disperse staff into buildings we currently own, most of which are in Ayr. In our new plan we propose a small housing development on the riverside following the clearance of land previously earmarked for new Council offices. Our preferred option is to retain much of the land as a public square with prominent views of the Town Hall and the High St.

“The High St could also benefit from new public spaces, and we would also look at making the Fish Cross and the square beside the former Clydesdale Bank much more attractive places to be.

“We are also looking at making more of our streets, are the bus stops in the right places? Should there be more or less street furniture?

“We cannot ignore Burns Statue Square and the need to improve the access to the top of the town. Our intention is to demolish Burns House by 2020, and, should there be a new cinema in the centre of the town, the current cinema may close and this could be the start of a new street design. We are also concerned about the future of the Station Hotel and any new developments at the railway. We keenly await proposals from the owners about the future intentions once the Station Hotel is made safe.

“There is lots going on and it’s an exciting time to be involved in the regeneration of Ayr, but we want more engagement from the public over the coming months, so everyone is involved in building a lasting legacy for Ayr Town Centre.”

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Sunday, 9 September 2018

Airshow wows the crowds with record numbers attending the two-day event

With 60,000 people descending on Ayr's Low Green on Saturday and 45,000 on Sunday this was the best attended airshow yet, with thousands more estimated to have enjoyed the displays along the South Ayrshire coastline and beyond.


Highlights for this year included intricate formation flying from the Red Arrows, which closed both days. Other memorable displays came from the thunderous Typhoons, the Catalina flying boat, the Swiss Classic Formation of 1940s transport, the Global Stars aerobatic team, and a jaw dropping aerobatic display from Lauren Wilson's Pitts Special biplane.

The family event also included a funfair with a giant Ferris Wheel ride; the STEM future technology Pavilion (sponsored by Spirit AeroSystems and UTC Aerospace Systems) promoting careers to young people; vintage vehicles, world food, stalls, and an RAF 100 concert at Ayr Town Hall featuring the Swing Cats and a 20 piece big band.


Councillor Brian McGinley, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism & Leisure said the event had been a resounding success, "We're proud to have hosted the Scottish International Airshow for the fifth time, with tens of thousands of people enjoying South Ayrshire at its best, with a fantastic weekend of amazing aerial displays and lots to do for families.

"The airshow has enjoyed unprecedented support thanks to record-breaking Council investment for 2018 and 2020, and it's great to see the event continue to grow from strength-to-strength against the backdrop of a spectacular coastline.


"With £5 million generated for the local economy last year, we expect similar benefits this year with retailers, restaurants and other businesses reaping the rewards of increased visitor numbers and tourism spend."

The Airshow was also supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland's Events Directorate.

"Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland's Director of Events, said: "Scotland is the perfect stage for events and EventScotland is proud to have supported this year's Scottish International Airshow through our Beacon Fund Programme.

"It's great to see record crowds headed out to enjoy the thrills of the air displays alongside the entertainment and exhibitions on the ground over the two days, making for a great weekend out for all the family."


Doug Maclean, a Director of the Scottish International Airshow, added: "We enjoyed a fantastic airshow over the whole weekend, with people turning out in numbers to see our exciting programme.

"The fact that we attracted the Swiss Airforce and the Swiss Classic Formation this year shows the growing appeal of the event across Europe.

"We look forward to continuing to work with our partners to build on our success to date."

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Saturday, 8 September 2018

Johnny Murtagh could go for Ayr Gold Cup glory

By: Iain Ferguson

FORMER jockey turned trainer Johnny Murtagh is hoping to make history by training the first Irish-based horse of the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup.


His three year-old colt Urban Beat (pictured nearest the camera) was highly impressive when winning the John Sisk & Son New Stand Handicap at the Curragh last Saturday, and has been installed as 10-1 clear favourite with sponsors William Hill.

After only seeing a racecourse once as a two year-old, Urban Beat was reintroduced at Navan in April, winning his maiden impressively before taking a Premier Handicap at the Curragh a month later by three and a half lengths.

Last Saturday’s win brought his tally to three from four and, providing the ground doesn’t quicken up, he could line up for Scotland’s riches race – the £200,000 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup at Ayr Racecourse.

Another horse to catch the eye recently was Global Applause who, having his first run for Robert Cowell, came from behind to win the 188Bet Extra Place Races Handicap at Sandown on Saturday. His odds have been slashed from 33s to as low as 14s.

Growl, trained by Richard Fahey, who was second in the race in 2016 to Brando, is available at 12s and has been running consistently this season while Gunmetal, winner of the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon last month, is on 14-1

There is a total of £720,000 in prize-money on offer at the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival which runs from Thursday 20 September – Saturday 22 September.

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Sunday, 2 September 2018

£4.8 million for R&D in Prestwick

Supporting growth in aerospace technology.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed £4.8 million funding for Spirit AeroSytems new open access Aerospace Innovation Centre at its manufacturing site in Prestwick.

Innovation within the new centre will focus on the development of the next generation of aircraft. It will also help develop the technology for composite materials and automated assembly used in the industry.

The investment will create 40 high-value jobs and leverage significant capital investment in infrastructure and equipment. Over the next decade, the facility will further enable growth for industry-leading aerospace technologies and innovations and has the potential to create more manufacturing jobs.

The First Minister confirmed the funding as she visited the company’s manufacturing site.   

She said: "Just before last year’s Programme for Government I visited Spirit AeroSystems to set out our ambition for Scotland to develop, design and manufacture the technologies and products of the future, backed by an extra £45 million for business research and development over the next three years. 

" Research and development drives innovation and economic growth so it's great to be back here to see that additional support helping not just Spirit, but also companies across Scotland develop new products.

“Today’s announcement underlines the importance of Prestwick as an aviation hub and as a key piece of Scotland’s industrial infrastructure, supporting jobs, investment and opportunity.”

Scott McLarty, VP UK & Malaysia, Spirit AeroSystems, said: "The centre will operate on an open access basis creating an environment that fosters supply chain and academic collaborations. Spirit is actively seeking technology partners in this centre that will strengthen the ability for Scotland's aerospace industry and wider supply chain to secure work on the next generation of aircraft."

Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive, Scottish Enterprise, said: “The creation of the open access Aerospace Innovation Centre at Prestwick will help cement Scotland's position as a global centre of aerospace excellence. 

"It is a truly transformational project that takes full advantage of the world-wide growth in aircraft manufacturing, has the potential to create a number of jobs in the South Ayrshire region and beyond, and enhances Scotland’s international reputation for nurturing and promoting innovation.”

Background

The First Minister announced £2.1 million funding for Spirit AeroSystems last year.

The new grant will provide Spirit AeroSystems with state-of-the-art research and development (R&D) facilities and will also give access to other companies undertaking their own R&D, either independently or in collaboration with Spirit.

The Aerospace Innovation Centre will complement other recent investments or commitments in engineering and manufacture in Scotland. These include the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS), Lightweight Manufacturing Centre, Advanced Forming Research Centre including the recently announced phase 2, FutureForge.

Posted by the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Saturday, 1 September 2018

Flaming Spear joint-favourite for William Hill Ayr Gold Cup at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

Flaming Spear, trained by Dean Ivory, is now co ante post joint-favourite at 12-1 for this month’s William Hill Ayr Gold Cup after landing a valuable Goodwood handicap last Saturday.


The six year-old (pictured above) won impressively by over seven furlongs at the Sussex track, but it is two years since the gelding last raced over six furlongs, and that was in the 2016 running of the Gold Cup which was won by Brando.

His co-favourites for the Ayr race are Willie Haggas’s Mankib and the Irish trained three year-old Urban Beat.

Top weight is the Brian Meehan trained Bacchus due to carry 9st 10lb while Irish trained Ardhoomey, a  16-1 chance, is on 9st 9lb along with Mark Johnston’s Cardsharp.

Gunmetal, winner of the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon earlier in the month is on 14s and has been allocated 9st 4lb while Roger Varian’s Laugh A Minute, second in a Group 3 at Deauville on Sunday, is also on 14s with the sponsor.

Richard Fahey’s Growl who finished second in the race to Brando in 2016 and carries the colours of Dr Marwan Koukash is 16-1.

Latest betting from William Hill is 12-1 Flaming Spear, Mankib, Urban Beat;  14-1 Culturati, Glenamoy Lad, Growl, Gunmetal, Laugh A Minute;  16-1 Aces, Ardhoomey, Rapid Applause, Bambino Lola, Flying Pursuit, Rapid Applause.

For more information of the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup visit the microsite www.ayrgoldcup.co.uk

further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972or 07795 565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Ayr rail services a priority for cross-partner task force

Returning full rail passenger services to Ayrshire as quickly and safely as possible is the key priority for a new task force established and chaired by Transport Scotland.


Services operating between Glasgow and Ayr have had reduced capacity since Tuesday, with no services operating beyond Ayr to Maybole, Girvan and Stranraer. This is due to the extension of an exclusion zone around a dangerous building at Ayr train station at the former Station Hotel.

Partners on the task force include the ScotRail Alliance, South Ayrshire Council, Historic Environment Scotland, as well as the Scottish Government Planning and Architecture and Local Government divisions. Other departments will be called on as and where required.

South Ayrshire Council will continue to lead the process to address the public safety issues and remove the extended exclusion zone as soon as it's safe to do so, enabling rail services to be restored. The task force will ensure all parts of the Scottish Government work together, along with ScotRail and Network Rail, to support the council in delivering this urgent priority

Bill Reeve, Transport Scotland's director of rail and chair of the task force said: "It is imperative we are focused not only on ensuring full rail services can be safely restored at Ayr, but also that any long-term resolution plan identified contributes to the economic prosperity of the town centre and the communities south of Ayr currently without a train service.

"This means we need to explore all the available options for dealing with the Station Hotel property which, in its current state, presents a significant safety risk not only to the railway line but also the immediate vicinity.

"Only by working in close partnership with the relevant agencies and the local community can we reach an effective solution for everyone concerned - particularly those passengers, the local community and businesses directly affected."

Eileen Howat, South Ayrshire Council Chief Executive, added: "We very much welcome the input and support from the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland to reduce the dangers presented by the Station Hotel building which we're actively working to address in line with our statutory obligations to keep people safe and to consider the longer-term options for the property.

"Our immediate priority continues to be doing what needs to be done to allow us to scale back the extended exclusion zone and for normal rail services to resume, which is what we all want. My thanks to all those affected for their co-operation during this current disruption, which has only been necessary to protect public safety."

Alex Hynes, ScotRail Alliance Managing Director, said: "Ayr station remains open for business and we are doing everything we can to get people to where they need to be. We are working closely with South Ayrshire Council, Transport Scotland and other partners to resolve this matter."

The task force's immediate focus identifying options to reduce the risk to public safety posed by the building and allow the return of full rail services. A number of options are being explored and the public can be assured more information will be made available before any final decision is made.

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Wednesday, 15 August 2018

The HALO Scotland announces partnership with CGI that’s out of this world

CGI, a leading global IT services provider, and the HALO Scotland this week announces an innovative partnership that will create further employment opportunities at the Kilmarnock urban regeneration initiative.

The agreement will see the HALO and CGI work collaboratively to develop technologies that will provide young people and current workforces with the skills in cyber, digital, space technology, health and finance needed to excel in tomorrow’s world.

One of CGI’s key areas of expertise is in the space industry, and Steve Smart, Vice President of CGI in Scotland, will lead this element of the partnership. Steve has played a key role in CGI’s UK Space, Defence and National & Cyber Security business, where he worked directly with the European Space Agency (ESA). He also led the formation of CGI’s cyber security business, supporting clients in both the public and private sectors.




[Pictured: Steve Smart, Vice President of CGI in Scotland, and Marie Macklin CBE, Founder and Executive Chair of the HALO Urban Regeneration Company.]

The innovative partnership between CGI and The HALO is designed to:

·         * Enhance the HALO’s employability initiatives for young people in Ayrshire by harnessing CGI’s technical expertise to focus on cyber and digital skills, supporting the proposed spaceport at Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

·      * Utilise CGI’s business know-how to support innovative start-up, step-up and scale-up entrepreneurial businesses, particularly those that specialise in cyber and digital technologies.

·         * See the HALO and CGI establish and develop research and practical learning partnerships with education facilities such as Glasgow Caledonian University and Ayrshire College with a particular focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

·         *  Engage CGI with Ayrshire College to create a Children’s Innovation Centre/Nursery of the Future, and work with students to further develop the concept which will be based at the HALO.

·         * Develop technologies to support Digital Health and Social Care at a commercial, local and national level.

The HALO Kilmarnock is an imaginative, innovative and inspirational regeneration initiative located on the site of the former Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire. It is being shaped as a multi-faceted brown-field regeneration that will create a unique urban park with a dynamic commercial, educational, cultural, leisure and lifestyle quarter.

Marie Macklin CBE, Founder and Executive Chair of the HALO Urban Regeneration Company, said: “CGI is a massive global IT provider, and I am thrilled to see this industry leader become the latest partner of the HALO’s urban regeneration initiative.

“I am thrilled that CGI, with its extensive experience in the IT and space industry is joining us as part of the HALO project. The HALO will work collaboratively with CGI to support the Glasgow Prestwick Airport spaceport project as the UK, Scotland and, of course, Ayrshire takes significant strides in the space industry.

“CGI will also support the HALO’s continued vision of providing our young people with the cyber, digital and also space skills that will be needed to make an impact in tomorrow’s world.”

Steve Smart, Vice President of CGI Scotland, said: “Regeneration of this nature, with the opportunities it brings for development and training in our industry, is hugely exciting and adds further to our commitment to Scotland. We very much look forward to collaborating with the team over the coming years and bringing our expertise to such an innovative project.”

Posted by the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.



Monday, 6 August 2018

Swiss Classic Formation adds to Scottish International Airshow excitement

Adding to the record success last year, when tens of thousands of people flocked to Ayr for the Scottish International Airshow, the organisers have announced yet another international first.

"Through our excellent contacts in the Edinburgh Swiss Consulate we have already announced the Swiss Airforce F18 fighter jet making a dramatic appearance at Ayr seafront on September 1st and 2nd" said co-director Doug Maclean.


"Now we are adding the four glorious aeroplanes of the Swiss Classic Formation. This is a wonderful private collection of 1940s transport aircraft. The DC3 and three Beech 18 aircraft are possibly the most beautifully kept vintage aeroplanes in Europe. They are visiting Scotland for the first time and have chosen The Scottish International Airshow to fly their unique display."

"We built Scotland's biggest Airshow to an international attraction in just 4 years" said Danny Anderson, Airshow co-director. "We have started to see our hard work pay off and the whole of Scotland is benefiting from the huge excitement that the Airshow brings." He continued - "We could not run the Airshow without our major sponsors like South Ayrshire Council, Spirit AeroSystems and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland's Events Directorate."

"It is through EventScotland's ongoing support through their Beacon Fund Programme that we've been able to bring the fabulous Swiss collection to Scotland," said Doug.

The purpose of EventScotland's Beacon Events Programme is to support uniquely Scottish events outside Glasgow and Edinburgh, which generate tourism benefits, contribute significantly to the Scotland the Perfect Stage impact areas and act as examples of best practice. 

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland's Director of Events, said: "We're delighted to be supporting of the Scottish International Airshow to continue to bring the best aircraft from around the world to the Ayr seafront. The addition of the Swiss collection further enhances the already impressive line-up aircraft attending this September.

"Scotland is the perfect stage for events and the thrills of the air displays, alongside the entertainment and exhibitions, including the STEM Pavilion, will ensure a great weekend out for all the family."

Councillor Brian McGinley, South Ayrshire Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure, said: "With our record-breaking Council investment in the Scottish International Airshow for 2018 and 2020, it's great to see the event continue to grow from strength to strength with this latest addition to the flying programme.

"I've no doubt the Swiss Classic Formation will be a further draw in bringing people from across the world to South Ayrshire and help showcase all that we have to offer our visitors as a major tourist destination.

"We look forward to welcoming the planes, the pilots, and the tens of thousands of people who will, I'm sure, have a weekend to remember. Start planning your visit now."

The Scottish International Airshow takes place at Ayr seafront on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd September. 18 flying displays will take place and The Red Arrows will be the finale on both days. There is a huge ground exhibition, funfair, simulator, classic vehicle exhibitions and Future Zone technology chalet. For more information visit www.tsia.scot

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Thursday, 2 August 2018

Godolphin stable grabs main prize at Ayr Racecourse

By Iain Ferguson

THE famous blue silks of the mighty Godolphin operation were carried to victory in the feature race at Ayr Racecourse on Monday when Dubai Horizon was an impressive winner of the Western House Handicap over 1m 2f under Irvine born jockey David Allan.


The Saeed bin Suroor trained four year-old (pictured above) was having only his sixth racecourse appearance but shed his maiden tag at odds of 3-1 and came home three and three quarter lengths in front of Mooltazem.

His rider commented afterwards: “I was impressed with Dubai Horizon today, and he quickly put the race to bed. He does have a bit of a high head carriage, but I let him do his own thing and it wasn’t a problem.”

There was a double on the day for leading trainer Richard Fahey with 7-4 chance Roderick winning the opening novice stakes after coming off the pace and Militia, 8-1, powering to victory in the Parkdean Resorts Handicap. Both horses were ridden by Tony Hamilton.

Hawick based trainer Alistair Whillans was on the scoresheet with Royal Shaheen, 9-1, who won the Sandylands Holiday Park Handicap over a mile with something to spare after a first class ride from Graham Lee.

The longest race of the afternoon the Sundrum Castle Handicap over 2m 1f was won by Question Of Faith, trained by Martin Todhunter and ridden by Callum Rodriguez.

Ayr’s next racing action comes on Tuesday evening with the Ayrshire Cancer Support Racenight.

The first race, a novice auction stakes, is due off at 5.40pm and this 6f sprint for two year olds looks likely to be another highly contested race of its type at the track.

The biggest field of the night is almost certain to be in the Volunteer At Ayrshire Cancer Support Handicap over 5f at 6.45pm. The Scottish stables of Linda Perratt, Jim Goldie, Keith Dalgleish, Iain Jardine and Mike Smith could all have runners in this.

The feature race of the night is the Fundraising Ideas At ayrshirecs.org Handicap at 7.50pm over 7f 50y and the final contest at 8.50pm is the Ayrshire Cancer Support Here To Help handicap over 1m 2f.

Ayrshire Cancer Support is the charity partner of Ayr Racecourse and all entry money raised on the night goes to the charity.

It is hoped a big crowd will turn up. Gates open at 3.40pm.

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691.


Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.