The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 9 May 2008

Glasgow Prestwick Airport wins top cargo award

By: Neil Richardson

AYRSHIRE’S Glasgow Prestwick Airport has won a top industry award for its cargo capability at a glittering ceremony in London.

The airport triumphed at the 25th annual Air Cargo News awards which took place in the Royal Lancaster Hotel.

More than 500 of the industry’s top executives from all over the world were in attendance to see Glasgow Prestwick named Best Cargo Airport (up to 100,000 tonnes per year).

[Pictured: Allan McQuarrie (left) and Nico Le Roux, who make up the airport’s Freight Development Team, with the trophy.]

Nico Le Roux and Allan Macquarie, who are in charge of Freight Development for Infratil Airports Europe, received the award on behalf of the airport.

The award winners have to meet a number of criteria related to volume growth and marketing activity, before the views of industry experts are taken into account when deciding the final results.

Nico Le Roux, Group Manager Freight Development, said: “It is a fantastic achievement for us to win this as it is right up there with the industry’s top awards, and shows just how highly Glasgow Prestwick is regarded by the people who matter.

“The last year has seen an improvement in volume after the market suffered a difficult couple of years.

“Cargo operators are attracted by the airport’s perfect geographical location, fast turnaround times and our team’s ability to easily handle large and unusual items.”

The recognition comes only days after Glasgow Prestwick announced a strong cargo performance for the year ending March 2008.

A strong emphasis upon freight development has paid off for Glasgow Prestwick, which currently handles around 20 Boeing 747 freighters during an average week.

The March total of 3,260 tonnes marks a 5% improvement on March 2007 and a 34% increase on February’s total.

Freight has also increased year on year with the 31,735 tonnes handled between April 2007 and March 2008 representing a 4% increase on the previous 12 months.

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Thursday, 8 May 2008

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle and Clydesdale Bank Charity Golf Day

THE Elite Ayrshire Business Circle and the Clydesdale Bank will be holding a Charity Golf Day on Tuesday 17 June in aid of the Ayrshire Hospice. The event is open to all businesses in Ayrshire.

The Golf Day will be held at the Belleisle Golf Club, and will be followed by a Racenight and Dinner at Ayr Racecourse in the evening.

To view a PowerPoint presentation about the event CLICK HERE

Or click on "Forward" button (>>) on mini-viewer here:

Entries are invited from teams of three golfers each, and it is hoped that Elite Ayrshire Business Circle members and other Ayrshire businesses will enter at least one team, and that most will enter two teams or even more.

The cost will be £270 for a team of three players, or £450 for a team of six players, and this includes both the round of golf and dinner in the evening for all players.

Besides participation in the golf tournament itself, there are ample sponsorship opportunities available.

All businesses in Ayrshire are urged to take as active a part as possible in what will be a most enjoyable event, an excellent networking opportunity, and a chance to raise funds and support for the Ayrshire Hospice.

Contact David Jellema at the Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centre in Ayr on 01292 272072, mobile 07802 186270 or e-mail

For further information about the Ayrshire Hospice CLICK HERE


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Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Ayrshire young entrepreneur Ross McKinnon
sets sights on Moffat Award

By: Jen Nash

AN AYRSHIRE corporate events specialist, a buffalo farmer, and a wildlife photographer have beaten off stiff competition from travel and tourism entrants from throughout Scotland to be shortlisted for the finals of the inaugural Moffat Awards.

[Pictured: Ross McKinnon, founder of Ayrshire-based Amazing Days Scotland, one of the businesses short-listed for this year’s inaugural Moffat Awards, with Jim Moffat, principal benefactor of the Moffat Awards.]

Ayrshire entrepreneur Ross McKinnon, founder of Amazing Days Scotland, Steve Mitchell who runs Puddledub Buffalo farm in Fife and Philip Price, an Argyll-based wildlife photographer and founder of Loch Visions, will all go through to the annual Moffat Award finals being held at The Lighthouse in Glasgow on 14 May 2008.

The search for Scotland’s outstanding young businesses who are demonstrating best practice, excellent customer service and positive economic and community impact in Scottish travel and tourism was unveiled in July last year by the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) thanks to a significant donation from The Moffat Charitable Trust.

The charity has pledged almost £300,000 to support the Moffat Awards, named after one of Scotland’s best known names in the travel and tourism industry, Mr Jim Moffat, co-founder of AT Mays. Founded in Saltcoats in Ayrshire in the 1950s as All Travel by Jim Moffat and his wife Margie, AT Mays grew to become the third largest travel group in the UK, eventually employing over 2,500 people.

The Scottish tourism industry is currently worth in excess of £4billion and employs in the region of 200,000 people. Last year PSYBT supported over 80 tourism businesses offering goods and services that enhance the community and overall visitor experience of Scotland.

PSYBT chief executive Mark Strudwick said: “Our finalists represent outstanding examples of aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to enhance the overall visitor experience of Scotland, and we are delighted that, thanks to the generosity of The Moffat Charitable Trust, their contribution and positive community impact in this important sector is being recognised.”

Speaking on behalf of The Moffat Charitable Trust, Mr Jamie Moffat said: “We have been greatly impressed by the quality of entrants for the first year of this award. We wish to encourage more young people who have a passion for business to play a leading role in enhancing tourism in Scotland, and we are delighted to be supporting them through this initiative.”

PSYBT was launched in January 1989 and is a national organisation with offices in 18 Regions across Scotland. To date 8060 (9551 proprietors) businesses have been assisted with £28.9m awarded - £25.7m in loans (89%) and £3.2m in grants (11%).

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Tuesday, 6 May 2008

South Ayrshire Council gives Ayr Racecourse plans the green light

By: Iain Ferguson

AMBITIOUS plans to turn Ayr Racecourse into not only one of the top racecourses in Europe but also one of the most prestigious leisure destinations in the country have been approved by South Ayrshire Council.

The multi-million pound development includes a conference centre, cinema, new bar, restaurant, housing and retail units - and work could start as early as the autumn.

Councillors unanimously agreed that the exciting and ambitious plans would be of huge economic and social benefit to the town as well as putting Ayr on the map both as one of the premier horseracing venues in Scotland – and in Europe.

Speaking after approval was granted yesterday, Chair of the Regulatory Panel on South Ayrshire Council, Councillor Nan McFarlane said: “I’m absolutely delighted these plans have been approved. South Ayrshire Council has worked hard with Ayr Racecourse to agree a modern, dynamic and landmark building.”

During the meeting, councillors were shown plans and drawings of the proposed development (see above and below) that also includes a racing academy, museum, hotel and casino.

Councillor McFarlane continued: “The new building will have a sweeping front, with curves designed to mimic the sea. New car parking, covered walkways and landscaping will provide guests with a real sense of arrival, making a visit to the races and Ayr a truly memorable occasion.”

Councillor Hugh Hunter, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said: “I warmly welcome the news that this proposal has been approved. Ayr Racecourse is important to Ayr, and I am pleased that a conference centre is a key development among the many exciting projects planned.

“There are clear economic and social benefits that go with Ayr being positively promoted as a conference town. I am keen to see this happen and to maximise that potential for all residents in South Ayrshire.”

Ayr Racecourse chairman Alan Macdonald commented: “This is great news, not only for Ayr Racecourse but for the racing industry as a whole.

“Richard Johnstone and I bought the course almost five years ago and have already spent millions upgrading facilities. Now this planning approval means we can finish what we have started and firmly establish Ayr as one of the best in Europe.”

Last month a new £4.5 million Grandstand Sports Bar and a new Owners Bar were opened at the course and on non-race days Ayr Racecourse is building a reputation as a top conference centre, and will host the Scottish Conservative Party conference later this month.

Ayr is now also known as a concert venue, and rock legends Status Quo will headline Burns Rock At The Racecourse there on Sunday May 24.

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Ayr Racecourse announces John Smith’s to sponsor Ayr Gold Cup

By: Iain Ferguson

JOHN SMITH'S is to sponsor the Ayr Gold Cup Festival, Scotland’s top horse racing event of the flat season which includes the richest sprint handicap in Europe - the Ayr Gold Cup.

The drinks brand, synonymous with the sport through their long standing sponsorship of the Grand National at Aintree, will be the main sponsors for the three-day Festival in September, replacing the Tote who had sponsored the race since 2001.

The first John Smith’s Ayr Gold Cup will be run on Saturday 20 September, the third and final day of the 2008 John Smith’s Ayr Gold Cup Festival.

Announcing the sponsorship deal, Scottish & Newcastle regional sales director Alasdair Moore said: “We are delighted John Smith’s will be the new sponsors of the Ayr Gold Cup. The race is famous throughout Europe, and this is a tremendous opportunity for us.”

Ayr Racecourse chairman Alan Macdonald (pictured above) said: “I am thrilled to welcome John Smith’s - one of the most famous names in racing - to be the new sponsor of the Ayr Gold Cup Festival. The biggest race of the Festival is the Ayr Gold Cup itself, and the John Smith’s sponsorship is set to increase the prize money on offer for the big races on the Friday and Saturday.

“The John Smith’s Ayr Silver Cup run on Friday, which is Ladies Day, will be run for a total prize fund of £50,000 - a tremendous sum considering this is a consolation race. The main race of the Festival, the John Smith’s Ayr Gold Cup, will now have a fantastic £150,000 prize fund, which will ensure that this will be a target for all the top trainers.

“Since we took over Ayr Racecourse, John Smith’s have been a great supporter, and have played a significant role in the course’s resurgence. My thanks go to Scottish & Newcastle for this further commitment.”

The Ayr Gold Cup was first run in 1804 and won by Chancellor, also the winner the following year. The first Ayr Gold Cup to be staged on the current Ayr track was in 1907, and was won by Mr. R. Waldie Griffith’s Charis, a five year-old trained by R. Sherwood.

Last year’s race was won by Advanced, trained by Kevin Ryan and ridden by Jamie Spencer and over the three days crowds of 22,630 flocked to the course, the highest attendance for more than 30 years.

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