The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Ayr Racecourse reports record advance
ticket sales for Saints and Sinners meeting

By: Iain Ferguson

THE first ever Saints and Sinners Race Night at Ayr Racecourse this Friday 20 June looks like being a runaway success, with advance ticket sales nearing 5000.

[Pictured: the Abba tribute band Bjorn Again, who will feature in the after-race entertainment at the Saints and Sinners meeting on Friday 20 June.]

Already it looks as though the meeting will be Ayr’s third busiest of the season, behind only the Coral Scottish Grand National and John Smith’s Ayr Gold Cup.

And the major beneficiaries will be the charities who receive grants from The Saints and Sinners.

Ayr Racecourse Marketing Manager Lindsey Smith commented: “Advance sales have far exceeded expectations and we are looking at a crowd of around 7-8000 which for our first ever Saints and Sinners will be exceptional.

“The buzz about the place is incredible, and there is no doubt Saints and Sinners has caught the imagination of the local community. We are also delighted so many people from central Scotland have also booked tickets.”

The Ayr Executive has laid on top quality after-racing entertainment - with a samba band, jazz quartet, Monster Mash cabaret/revue (pictured above) and a concert from Bjorn Again who will be performing the greatest hits of Abba.

The seven-race card gets under way at 6.10pm with the last race at 9.20pm and the entertainment goes on until 11.15pm.

Bars and restaurants open at 4.10pm on Friday. To find out more about the June meetings call 0870-8505666 or go online at

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Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Scotland’s First Minister
and South Ayrshire Provost
unveil Homecoming programme

By: Murdoch MacDonald

FIRST MINISTER of Scotland Alex Salmond has unveiled the nationwide programme of celebration for Homecoming Scotland 2009 that has been inspired by the 250th anniversary next year of the birth of Scotland’s national Bard, Robert Burns.

Scotland’s Homecoming celebrations will run from Burns Night (25 January) to St Andrew’s Day (30 November) 2009 across more than 50 locations. A programme of more than 100 events has been organised around the five main themes of the Homecoming, these are the Bard himself, Whisky, Golf, Great Scottish Minds and Innovations and Scotland’s culture and heritage.

South Ayrshire will be the focal point for the Burns 250th Anniversary Weekend that starts the 2009 activities. The official Homecoming Burns Supper being held at the Brig O’ Doon in Alloway forms the central feature of the world’s biggest virtual Burns Supper Celebration, and marks a full weekend of exciting activities taking place in and around Ayr over the weekend of 24 and 25 January 2009.

South Ayrshire Council will be working closely with a wide range of partners, community and voluntary organisations and local businesses to ensure that visitors to South Ayrshire enjoy a really special welcome with a range of exciting events planned throughout the year.

South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan (pictured above) said: “As the birth place of Robert Burns and the Open Golf Championship, South Ayrshire attracts visitors from all over the world, and I can think of no better year to visit than in 2009, the 250th anniversary of the birth of our national Bard, when South Ayrshire will be at the epicentre of Homecoming 2009.

“I would encourage people who were born or grew up in this area to come home during this very special time. Likewise for Scottish people who live abroad, have Scottish ancestors, business connections or simply those who love all things Scottish - make a commitment to yourself to come to South Ayrshire in 2009.

“Many international sports stars, inventors, artists, academics and business people are Scottish, and know the importance of their heritage and culture.

“Come and visit South Ayrshire and we can promise you lots to see and do and a very warm welcome.”

Many events are being planned across Ayrshire during Homecoming 2009 including:

January 24 – 25 2009: Burns 250th Anniversary Weekend

March 29 2009: Mauchline Plough Match.

April 24 – 27 2009 REME Association Reunion Scotland 2009.

May 2009: Mauchline Holy Fair.

May 16 – 24 2009: Burns an ‘a’ That! 2009.

June 1 – 30 August 2009 – The Whole in One Exhibition Maclaurin Galleries

July 13 – 18 2009: The Open Golf Championship.

July 24 – 26 2009: Mauchline Homecoming Marquee.

August 7 - 30 2009: Ayr Flower Show.

January – November 2009: North Carrick Burns Celebration.

February – May 2009: Creative Burns.

May – September 2009: Ayrshire Innovators.

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AND First Minister Alex Salmond (pictured below) has called for all Scots to invite Scotland’s international friends and family to join the year of Homecoming 2009.

Unveiling the nationwide programme for 2009 of over 100 new and enhanced events, designed to celebrate Scotland’s first ever year of Homecoming, the First Minister launched an e-card to help all Scots spread the word.

Inspired by the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns, Homecoming 2009 will be a celebration of the great contributions Scotland has made to the world. It is also a chance for Scots around the world to reconnect and engage with their heritage.

Alex Salmond said: “With so many exciting events taking place across the country, 2009 will be a fantastic year to invite people around the world, with either an ancestral link or affinity for Scotland, to come home.

“Already we are seeing success, with Forbes Magazine announcing plans to return to Scotland for the first time in nearly 100 years to host their annual European CEO Forum. This will be an influential business conference and an opportunity to show global business leaders that Scotland is a dynamic nation, with an exciting future.

“I want to urge everyone in Scotland to play their part in what will be the biggest ever celebration of Scotland's achievements and culture, and our ties of family and friendship around the world.

“Whether by using your guid Scotch tongue, writing, or sending an e-card - I hope everyone across Scotland will join the call.”

Highlights of the events planned across Scotland include:

* A Burns 250th anniversary weekend, including a campaign to create the world’s biggest virtual Burns Supper celebration.
* A Homecoming theme for Aberdeen’s Word 09 literary festival.
* An exhibition of contemporary art inspired by Burns, to be held in Glasgow’s Mitchell Library, featuring works by John Byrne, Tracy Emin, Graham Fagen and David Mach.
* A celebration of the Caledonian Canal, with a flotilla travelling the length of the canal from Fort William to Inverness.
* The Open Golf’s return to Turnberry.
* The first ever Whisky Galore festival, to be held on Barra.
* One of the largest clan gatherings in history, to be held in Edinburgh.

The programme will further develop over the coming months. For a full events listing and to register for programme updates go to

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Monday, 16 June 2008

Councillor Hugh Hunter opens new Monkton Primary School

THE new Monkton Primary School, which cost £4.97 million pounds and was built as part of South Ayrshire Council’s ambitious £76 million Public Private Partnership (PPP) project, has been officially opened by Councillor Hugh Hunter (pictured below), the Leader of South Ayrshire Council.

The original Monkton Primary School was built in 1850, an extension was added in 1954 and for many years the school served the surrounding community well.

All 104 P1 to P7 pupils, 21 nursery class members and school staff have now settled into their new school. To mark the occasion, a formal opening was held, where Councillor Hunter officially opened the school in front of invited guests that included pupils, members of the local community, school staff, Councillors, representatives from PPP project partners.

After Councillor Hugh Hunter unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion, he said: “The new Monkton Primary School will raise educational standards and promote equality and good citizenship for all pupils.

“Schools are at the heart of our communities and our children deserve the best start in life that we can give them. The new school will make a real difference to the pupils, staff, parents and carers.

“The facilities within the school are outstanding, but it is the pupils and staff that put the heart into any school. The way the children performed and then showed guests around the school clearly demonstrated the high standards that exist within the school, every child was a credit to their school.

“Monkton Primary School is a fine example to us all and it will provide an outstanding rounded education for young children from Monkton and the surrounding area for many years to come.”

The official opening of the school was a community celebration that gave the pupils and nursery class members an opportunity to display their many and varied talents. A video message from the Reverend Arthur Christie, the School Chaplain was shown. Then the school was filled with the sound of music and applause as guests were treated to a range of entertainment that included singing, dancing, and a clarinet duet. As Monkton Primary School is a feeder school for Prestwick Academy a group of former pupils returned to the school and gave a flute recital along with some current pupils.

The ongoing PPP project by the Council involves the construction of new primary schools at Barassie, Alloway and Monkton, new secondary schools at Belmont and Prestwick and an annexe to Kyle Academy. The PPP project has embraced the Council’s vision of new schools that are well designed, built to a high specification and managed by high quality staff. The schools will support the educational demands of the present and those of the future. The new school has increased learning and leisure facilities inside the school and created additional multi purpose outdoor space.

Speaking after the opening, head teacher Maria McIntosh said: “I am very proud of the way in which the pupils, nursery class children and etaff have quickly adapted to their new school environment. The bright colours, natural light, superb sports and dining hall, the layout of the nursery and class bases, each with their own individual garden, all contribute to a very unique and stimulating learning environment. The new school has also made it possible for parents and carers of our pupils to become more involved in the activities within the school, which can only be of benefit to the children.”

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Associated British Ports’ round Britain
charity tandem rolls into Ayrshire

MOTORISTS may have witnessed an unusual sight on Ayrshire’s roads recently in the form of Associated British Ports’ (ABP) Pedal the Ports charity tandem relay, which arrived in Scotland last week.

Pedal the Ports is a large-scale fundraiser for motor neurone disease, for which ABP employees are taking part in a 1,600-mile tandem bike ride around the company’s 21 ports throughout June. The challenge started on Friday 6 June, at the Port of Grimsby. All monies raised are going to the charity Motor Neurone Disease Association, and the Sheffield Institute Foundation, which aims to develop an international centre of excellence for basic and clinical research into MND, with all the key research skills under one roof.

The team from the Port of Hull arrived in Ayrshire on Tuesday and handed the reins of the bike over to the team from the Port of Ayr, who were tasked with cycling down to Dumfries. A barbeque was held at the port to welcome the cyclists after their long journey.


Local fundraising efforts raised over £2,500 with the national total now exceeding over £75,000.

Stuart Cresswell, ABP Port Manager, Ayr & Troon, said: “The whole event has really been taken onboard by the local staff and I cannot thank everyone enough for the efforts they have made to ensure its success. The local fundraising drive was greatly supported by all our customers and suppliers and to this end we are truly hopeful that the efforts being made will help research into this currently incurable, terminal condition.”

He added: “I am pleased to report that the team from Ayr completed its run down to Dumfries the following day, crossing the Galloway hills in what can only be described as predictable Scottish summertime weather (i.e. sunshine interspersed with wind and rain!)”

For more information, and to read a blog and photos posted by those taking part in Pedal the Ports, CLICK HERE

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There are currently 266 Ayrshire business stories permanently archived on this site. To locate those of most interest to you, please use the site search facility in the top left hand corner of this page. Type your search term in the white box, then click "SEARCH BLOG".

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