The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Culzean Autoclassica brings world motoring
heritage to Ayrshire next weekend

By: Les Hannah

ALL roads lead to Culzean Castle in South Ayrshire this coming Bank Holiday weekend 23-24 August, with the first annual international heritage motoring festival the Culzean Autoclassica attracting crowds of participants and spectators.

[Pictured: Morris Oxford and Aston Martin.]

With 50 automobile clubs being represented at the event, around 400 vehicles and exhibitors will be on show on Saturday, building up to 700 for the main event on Sunday.

[De Dion Bouton 1899.]

Over one hundred years of motoring heritage will be on display throughout the weekend, with entrants travelling from all corners of the UK, bringing vehicles ranging from an 1899 De Dion Bouton through to the latest high performance and super cars from the likes of Ferrari, Aston Martin and Jaguar.

[Ferrari F40.]

An added attraction will be the many historic and classic motor sports and race vehicles that will be taking part in driving demonstrations and convoy drives around the estate, allowing visitors to view and hear the vehicles in motion.

Included in the paddock line-up will be cars once driven by Ayrton Senna (F3 Van Diemen) and James Hunt (Hesketh).

Many of the single vehicle and club entrants present will be dressed in the appropriate apparel to reflect the age of their vehicle, and entrants with post-70s vehicles will be arriving in period dress of the 40s to 60s.

Visitors to the event are also being invited to join in with the theme and help create a surreal spectacle that will be unique to a classic vehicle gathering in Scotland, and spot prizes will be awarded over the weekend to the best retro dressed entrants and visitors.

Other attractions being held during the weekend include a Soap Box Grand Prix, a Concours d’Elegance, fashion shows and live 50s-style music accompanied by appropriately dressed dancers who will entertain visitors relaxing in the castle’s magnificent courtyard.

The Autoclassica promises to be a great day out for all the family, and with free parking on site the admission prices are as follows.

Saturday 23 August: Adults £8; Concessions £5; NTS Members £2.
Children under 14 Free (accompanied by an adult).
Sunday 24 August: Adults £10; Concessions £5; NTS members £5.
Children under 14 Free (accompanied by an adult)

For further information please visit the website at or
Telephone: 01655 880045 or 01465 811151.

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Thursday, 14 August 2008

Ladies Night attracts thousands to Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

OH what a night! That was Ladies Night at Ayr Racecourse last Saturday as the rain stayed away and glamorous girls turned out in their thousands.


There were hats in all shapes and sizes, dresses designed to brighten up even the dullest evening, and heels that should have carried a health warning.

A crowd of more than 6,300 enjoyed a great night’s racing followed by entertainment from Counselled Out playing in the Ayrshire Suite and Midnight performing in the Horseshoe Bar.

The night got off to a great start for hundreds of girls enjoying Hen Nights at the course when the aptly named Almost Married romped home in the first race at odds of 14/1.

The champagne lawns were buzzing as the girls took advantage of a bright dry evening to sit outside and soak in the atmosphere of what is fast becoming THE social event of the year in Ayr.

And at the end of the night, nine lucky ladies bagged a silver coin and a place in Ladies Day Final on 19 September when the top prize is a silver Alfa Romeo Spider 2.2 JTS convertible worth £25,000 courtesy of sponsors Kerr & Smith/Iveco Trucks, suppliers of commercial vehicles in South West Scotland.

Second prize is a £3,000 white gold Vivienne Westwood necklace and ear-rings set with diamonds and pearls and is provided by Oghams the Jewellers of Ayr and Edinburgh. And third prize is a seven night Ocean Village cruise for two plus flights courtesy of Stewart Travel of Prestwick.

Overall Best Dressed Lady on Saturday was Wendy Rattray of Glasgow who won a complete Beauty Makeover from KZ Hair. Other silver coin winners were Ann Marie Murray, Irvine; Linda Reynolds, Glasgow; Sharri Parker, Crosshouse; Yvonne Brown, Gourock; Gwen Cochrane, Kilmarnock; Audrey Thomson, East Kilbride; Alana Montgomery, Kilmarnock and Kate Godfrey of Dorset.

Ayr Racecourse marketing manager Lindsey Smith was delighted with the night. “We were so lucky with the weather”, she admitted. “All the ladies made a huge effort and a lot of thought was put into the various outfits, meaning the standard was the highest ever and our judges had a difficult time picking the winners.

“Now everyone is looking forward to Ladies Day Final when more silver coins will be won and 27 girls will then draw a horse running in the Silver Cup and have a chance of winning a terrific prize.”


Kerr & Smith

Ogham Designer Jewellery

Stewart Travel

Stewart Corporate Travel

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Scottish Education Minister Fiona Hyslop
visits South Ayrshire Council

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Fiona Hyslop visited South Ayrshire Council Headquarters for a business meeting with chief executive David Anderson and a group of councillors and chief officers.

[Pictured at the County Buildings in Ayr are (left to right) councillors Hywel Davies and Brian Connolly, deputy leader of the Council Margaret Toner, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Fiona Hyslop, South Ayrshire Council chief executive David Anderson and councillor Ian Douglas.]

The minister then visited Queen Margaret Academy in Ayr to meet participants of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Pilot Project, part of the recognition of wider achievement within the Curriculum for Excellence.

Scottish Government Ministers have been visiting local authorities during the summer to discuss various aspects of Curriculum for Excellence as well as other education and social matters that can affect young people in their home environment. It has also been an opportunity to highlight the work being carried out by the Council through a range of initiatives to address the needs of those being educated in South Ayrshire schools.

South Ayrshire Council deputy leader Margaret Toner said: “By working with the Scottish Government, we can shape the future of education in South Ayrshire and provide young people with the necessary foundation stones for a good education.”

Curriculum for Excellence challenges all those involved in education to review the curriculum for children and young people between 3 and 18 years of age. It encourages everyone engaged in educational activity to take responsibility for developing the capacities, attributes and capabilities necessary for children and young people in the 21st century. It also encourages a fresh look at creative, innovative approaches for organising learning to offer experiences that are more personal, provide greater choice and appropriate challenges.

While at Queen Margaret Academy Fiona Hyslop also met Duke of Edinburgh’s Award director for Scotland Barry Fisher, head teacher Moira Gray, Carrick Academy deputy head Jamie Wilson, Duke of Edinburgh Award project co-ordinator Louise Speedie, and South Ayrshire Council award officer Bruce Harris.

[Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Fiona Hyslop is pictured with representatives from organisations and volunteers who have supported The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Project at Queen Margaret Academy and Carrick Academy, and councillors and young people who have participated in the project.]

Fiona Hyslop said: “I am delighted to meet with the council today to discuss important local and national issues, and to have the opportunity to meet young people who are involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Curriculum for Excellence pilot.

“Taking part in projects such as this helps young people develop their personal and social potential, and makes an important contribution to active citizenship, active communities and social inclusion.”

[Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Fiona Hyslop (right) met Derek Dorrans, 15, (left) from Carrick Academy and heard about the Beekeeping Club from him and Lyndsay Baillie (centre) principal PE teacher Carrick Academy.]

Bronze Award participants, Poppy Murray (15) and Sean Pieper (15), who have been involved in a Graffiti Art Project as part of their Skills Section, were at the school to show the Minister what they have been involved in and to answer any questions. Poppy and Sean are the first pupils from the S3 year group participating in the Curriculum for Excellence Pilot Project to achieve their Bronze Award. After presenting them with their certificates, the Minister congratulated them on their achievement.

[Pictured after the Minister presented Award certificates are (left to right) Barry Fisher, award director for Scotland, Poppy Murray (15) Queen Margaret Academy, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Fiona Hyslop and Sean Pieper (15) Queen Margaret Academy.]

Councillor Hywel Davies, the Council’s Portfolio Carrier for Learning and Prosperity said: “The visit to Queen Margaret Academy highlighted the participation of young people in South Ayrshire in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Pilot Project that enhances their existing skills and teaches them new ones. The experience helps to make them well rounded citizens, to take part in community activities, and to use their leisure time constructively.”

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Provost Sloan visits ‘Inside Out Garden’ at Ayr Flower Show

SOUTH AYRSHIRE COUNCIL Provost Winifred Sloan visited a show garden at Ayr Flower Show that was specially designed to illustrate how easy it is to home compost both garden and household waste.

The creation known as the ‘Inside Out Garden ‘was designed and built by the home compost team at Waste Aware Scotland. The garden works on the basis of placing ’interior’ rooms directly into a garden setting, showing people they can easily compost garden and household waste at home. The resultant compost is a key ingredient in sustaining a healthy garden while helping reduce the amount of waste which ends up in landfill sites.

Provost Sloan (pictured above) said: “Composting household waste has never been easier. There are many containers of different sizes available, so everyone could quite easily fit one into their garden. It’s quick, easy and convenient just to pop items suitable for composting into a container and leave them to work their magic. The end result is some wonderful free compost that can be used to enhance your garden. I think the Inside Out Garden is a fun display that will attract lots of people and hopefully encourage many other residents to start home composting.”

Visitors to the ‘Inside Out Garden’ were able to see a kitchen area complete with a turfed worktop and shelves crammed full of herbs. The ‘kitchen’ features home-compostable waste such as vegetable peelings, eggshells, kitchen roll, fruit peelings, cereal packets, tea bags and coffee grounds.

There was also a bedroom area with a ‘flower bed’ with a turf quilt and two standard bay trees mimicking bedside lamps. A living room area featured a turf chair and a planted rug. Compostable materials featured in these rooms included natural-fibre clothing, facial tissues, cardboard boxes, unwanted mail and pet bedding.

During its residence at the Ayr Flower Show, members of the Waste Aware Scotland home compost team were on hand to offer visitors advice on the environmental benefits of home composting. Surrounding the entire show garden was a frame on which was written all the items that can be composted, and there was also lots of advice on how to make good use of compost in the garden.

For information and advice on home composting visit: or call the Home Composting Helpline on 0845 600 0323 or e-mail

Compost bins can be ordered via the Waste Aware Scotland website or by calling the order line on 0845 077 0756.

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Wednesday, 13 August 2008

What credit crunch? Scottish house prices just keep on rising

By: Murdoch MacDonald

SCOTTISH house prices continue to increase at a modest rate but the volume of transactions has fallen by 27 per cent, according to the latest Scottish House Price Monitor from Lloyds TSB Scotland.

[Lloyds TSB Scotland chief economist Professor Donald MacRae.]

In the three months to 31 July 2008, the quarterly price index for the average domestic property in Scotland rose by 1.6 per cent to give an average mix adjusted Scottish house price of £172,185. On an annual basis, Scottish house prices have risen by 9.3 per cent. Conversely, the number of house purchase transactions within the Scottish House Price Monitor has fallen by 27 per cent since the same period last year.

Once again, the north of the country is in a strong position. Despite recording a quarterly fall of -2.8 per cent Aberdeen is reporting a strong annual increase of +8.8 per cent and the North excluding Aberdeen a strong +20.6 per cent increase over the year.

Showing a second quarterly fall of -5.2 per cent, Dundee is still in a strong position with an underlying annual increase of +9.4 per cent.

Central/Fife/Perth and Tayside remained static this quarter while reporting a robust annual rise of +9.9 per cent.

The only cities to demonstrate an increase in their quarterly figures are Edinburgh at +1.9 per cent and Glasgow at +0.6%. All areas in Scotland are reporting rises in their annual figures, ranging from +2.3 per cent to +20.6 per cent.

The price movement across Scotland is composed of price changes in different property types. In contrast to the previous quarter, flats are showing a decrease of -1.7 per cent, and detached properties a decrease of -1.2 per cent. Terraced properties are showing a quarterly increase of +5.5 per cent and semi-detached properties are showing a quarterly increase of +7.2 per cent.

Lloyds TSB Scotland chief economist Professor Donald MacRae said: “The price boom of the last five years may well have passed into history, but so far the effect of its demise is to slow the number of transactions rather than cause a drop in prices. The Scottish housing market is demonstrating its traditional resilience in the face of an economic downturn.”

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Elite Ayrshire Business Circle slams
Ayrshire Extra closure announcement

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle has criticised the announcement by Johnston Press, publishers of the Scotsman, that it is to close the Ayrshire Extra newspaper, and has e-mailed the attached letter to the Group's chief executive.

T J Bowdler, CBE, BSc, MBA
Chief Executive Officer
Johnston Press PLC
53 Manor Place

Dear Mr Bowdler,

Members of The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle are dismayed at the reported decision of Johnston Press PLC to close the Ayrshire Extra.

The Ayrshire Extra is a popular and well-respected newspaper which, as you know, has been recognised for its work on behalf of the local community.

We realise that advertising revenues have fallen, but this is the same for all media organisations, and we fail to see why the Ayrshire Extra and one other title should be singled out for closure by Johnston Press.

We would welcome an explanation from you, and would ask you and your Board to reconsider this unwelcome decision.

Yours sincerely,

Murdoch MacDonald
Managing Director
1MarketPlace Ltd
T/A The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle
Registered Office:
Dalblair House
46 Dalblair Road
Ayr KA7 1UQ

Telephone: 01292 281498
Mobile: 07833 667322

Hold the Front Page

Johnston Press - the uncomfortable truth

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Sunday, 10 August 2008

Turnberry Horse Trials sponsored by
Clydesdale Bank Sunday 31 August

By: Murdoch MacDonald

THE first annual Turnberry Horse Trials sponsored by Clydesdale Bank will take place at Turnberry, Ayrshire on Sunday 31 August.

The British Eventing affiliated Turnberry Horse Trials replaces the one-day event previously held annually at Culzean Castle.

[Pictured with two of the trophies on offer at the new Turnberry Horse Trials: Event organiser Katrina Geddes, Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centre managing partner Willie Mackie, and Agribusiness partner Rodney Wallace. Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centre in Ayr is the sponsor of the Turnberry Horse Trials. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION]

Turnberry Horse Trials organiser Katrina Geddes explained the change of venue and date (the Culzean Horse Trials were held three weeks later in September).

“The new Turnberry Horse Trials has been moved in order to provide the best chance of a good day’s sport for British Eventing members.

[Pictured during planning and construction of a new course for the Turnberry Horse Trials: Alex Anderson (activities guide, Turnberry Hotel), Gerry Lapsley (activities director, Turnberry Hotel), Douglas Weymouth (British Eventing course builder) and Robert Macskimming (assistant course builder).]

“Following the disappointing eventing season last year when many events were cancelled or abandoned, our objective this year was to obtain an earlier date on the British Eventing calendar, which hopefully will bring better weather.”

[Pictured: Robert Macskimming, assistant course builder.]

Katrina Geddes continued: “Our new venue at Turnberry offers good well draining ground, more space and good dressage arenas, a new cross- country course with water splash, and all parking is on hard standing.”

Entries for the Turnberry Horse Trials close on 27 August 2008.

The sport of One-Day Eventing is a challenging test of horse and rider over three different horse riding disciplines, all of which are completed in the same day.

The three phases of the event are dressage, show jumping and cross-country riding.

One-Day Eventing is a testing and inclusive sport open to members from the year of their 14th birthday upwards.

See for further information on this and other British Eventing events.

The Classes at this year’s Turnberry Horse Trials are Intro, Pre Novice and Pre Novice Plus. There will be further developments next year including a planned Novice course.

Clydesdale Bank sponsored the last Culzean Horse Trials in 2007, and are sponsors of the new Turnberry Horse Trials this year.

Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centre managing partner Willie Mackie said: “Clydesdale Bank are delighted to be the main sponsor of the 2008 Turnberry Horse Trials.

“Under the auspices of British Eventing there will be a very high calibre field of horses and riders across a number of different classes.

“Contributing to the day will be the magnificent back drop of Turnberry which is sure to add a unique dimension to the event.”

Westin Turnberry Resort director of sales and marketing Stephen Walker commented: “We are delighted that the Turnberry Horse Trials will be taking place here on the on 31 August 2008.

“This supports our objective of having a reputation not only as a world-class golf resort but as a venue for a number of events linked to country pursuits like the Horse Trials.

“It also supports Starwood Hotels & Resorts desire to play an active part in community events taking place in and around our properties.”

Entries for the Turnberry Horse Trials close on 27 August 2008.

The location of the Turnberry Horse Trials is adjacent to Turnberry Hotel off the A719 road between Turnberry and Maidens.

Spectator entrance is FREE.

The first dressage event commences at 8am.

For details of how to join British Eventing and enter competitions and for lists of events schedules, directions and entry details see

For further enquiries, telephone Katrina Geddes, 01655 740345.


Turnberry Horse Trials 2008

Clydesdale Bank

Westin Turnberry Resort

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