The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 4 September 2009

Ayrshire authors’ book now out in paperback

A BOOK by Ayrshire authors Lilian and Murdoch MacDonald will be published this week in a new paperback edition.

Phoenix in a Bottle was first published in hardback by Melrose Books in 2005, and tells the story of how the married couple recovered from alcoholism.

In 1994 as a result of their alcoholism, Lilian and Murdoch were down and out, sleeping rough in the streets and parks of Cambridge, the English university town where, a quarter of a century before, Murdoch had attained an honours degree.

Rejecting the conventional concepts of alcoholism, Lilian and Murdoch set about searching for the underlying causes of their self-harming behaviour problem, which they discovered lay in childhood.

They argue that no alcoholic is addicted to alcohol, but rather to the escape that alcohol affords - escape from life, or certain aspects of life with which they are unable to cope.

Having identified and addressed their issues from the past, the couple are today back home in Ayrshire, leading normal lives again, with their problems of alcoholism and Lilian’s associated eating disorder well and truly behind them.

Controversially, they are also now able to drink alcohol responsibly again, if and when they so wish.

Eminent American psychologist and addiction expert Dr Stanton Peele PhD commented: “Phoenix in a Bottle is a modern version of The Days of Wine and Roses, and tells the true story of how two people who entered a period of desperate drinking stayed with one another in a close loving relationship, and emerged from their alcoholism able to drink responsibly again.

“Both a wonderful love story and a challenge to conventional wisdom about how people can recover from drinking problems, Phoenix in a Bottle gives people hope, and helps them to confront their own demons - alcohol or otherwise.”

And Phoenix in a Bottle has been selected as a set text by a top American university.

Phoenix in a Bottle is now required reading for all doctoral students in a psychology programme at Alliant International University in San Diego, California.

Alliant International University, headquartered in San Diego and San Francisco, California, was formed in 2001 by the merger of the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) and the United States International University. Alliant has 6 campuses throughout California and also runs programmes in Mexico City, Hong Kong and Tokyo. The California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant is one of the premier psychology schools in the US, and it counts roughly half the licensed clinical psychologists in California as its alumni.

Dr. Gary W. Lawson is Professor of Psychology at CSPP. He says: “I adopted Phoenix in a Bottle because the dilemma this couple struggled with and the questions they ask themselves are like so many others I have encountered in 35 years of clinical experience treating addictions.

“However, nowhere in addiction literature have I seen these issues examined and explained as well as Lilian and Murdoch do in Phoenix in a Bottle.

“I also recommend Phoenix in a Bottle to many of my patients as well.”

The new paperback edition of Phoenix in a Bottle is published price £9.99 by Melrose Books.


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Thursday, 3 September 2009

Construction starts at University of West of Scotland’s Ayr campus

University of the West of Scotland’s £70 million Ayr Campus is one step closer following an official turf cutting ceremony at the new campus site.

[Pictured left to right: Professor Seamus McDaid, Principal and Vice Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland (UWS); Provost Winifred Sloan of South Ayrshire Council; and Professor Bill McKelvey, Principal of the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC). CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]

The ceremony officially marked the start of construction of the new 18,000m2 campus, which is being developed in partnership with the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC). The campus is being built on the Craigie Estate, next to the River Ayr. Construction partner, Bovis Lend Lease UK, has commenced on the initial enabling works phase of the development.

Planned and designed by leading Scottish-based architects RMJM, the development will see SAC joining UWS on the site. Shared facilities will include teaching and learning spaces, gym, refectory, library, music and drama studios and computing labs.

The new Campus is part of the University’s £250million development programme and replaces its existing campus on the edge of the estate. It will create an innovative learning environment for over 4000 students, including students from the nearby Scottish Agricultural College at Auchincruive.

The new campus, which has been developed in consultation with the Natural Garden Society, Historic Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, will provide Ayrshire with one of the UK’s most modern, environmentally friendly and sustainable Higher Education learning environments.

The new building is designed to the highest environmental rating – BREEAM Excellent (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) – adopting sustainable strategies within the design and operation of the new building.

Professor Seamus McDaid, Principal and Vice Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland, said: “We are delighted that construction of our new Ayr campus is underway – this is a hugely exciting development not just for Ayrshire but the West of Scotland as a whole.

“This unique campus facility will enable us to expand our course provision and develop an international dimension to our operations in Ayr, with a campus that will attract students from across the globe.”

Professor Bill McKelvey, Principal of SAC, said: “We are delighted to be here to mark the start of this project. It has been planned for a number of years, and today we look forward to real progress. The investment represents a magnificent opportunity for the town of Ayr and for Higher Education in Scotland.”

University of the West of Scotland, Scotland’s biggest modern university, caters for almost 20,000 students and 2,000 staff with campuses in Ayr, Dumfries, Hamilton and Paisley. The University’s new campus is scheduled for opening in September 2011.

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Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Scottish Enterprise supports £100 million
R&D investment by Scottish companies

Scottish Enterprise revealed today (Wednesday 2 September) that it had helped Scottish businesses invest more than £100 million in new research and development projects over the past year.

The figure was revealed at the agency’s Annual Public Meeting in Kilmarnock, where Scottish Enterprise announced details of its performance during 2008/09.

Scottish Enterprise said that despite tough trading conditions, companies were still willing to invest in projects that will strengthen their business through the development of new products or new ways of working.

During 2008/09, Scottish Enterprise’s investment of £17 million in R&D projects helped to stimulate more than £100 million from the private sector.

Crawford Gillies, Chairman of Scottish Enterprise (pictured above) said: “These projects would not have happened in Scotland without our support but they are now firmly embedded within Scotland, creating much needed jobs and investment.

“For every £1 we invested in these projects, the companies themselves invested more than £6. The fact that companies are continuing to invest is very significant in terms of our ability to move out of the recession.”

He added: “Fostering a culture of innovation has never been more important in helping companies to respond to the challenges they are facing as well as achieving long term sustainable growth for Scotland. A company needs to be innovative if it is to be able adapt to changing market conditions and compete on the international stage.

“Over the next year, this is going to be a significant priority for Scottish Enterprise as we help support our customers to identify new opportunities to strengthen and grow their business by thinking creatively and taking a different approach to all aspects of business improvement, whether that is through new research and development; developing new business processes or staff development.”

Other results for 2008/09 announced at the Annual Public Meeting included:

* Continuing to expand the number of growth businesses supported through its account management programme

* Doubling the size of the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service to provide companies with real improvements in their business by generating new efficiencies and reducing costs

* Supporting the development of 17 high growth start up companies, which have the potential to generate £5 million turnover within three years

* Attracting more than 1,800 new and safeguarded high value jobs through inward investment

* Supporting 48 collaborative projects between Scottish companies and academia to support greater commercialisation of Scotland’s research

* Completing a record number of investment deals through its equity funds, generating £80 million of investment for Scottish companies

Jack Perry, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise (pictured above) said: “The global economic turbulence of the past year and the challenges this has presented our customers has tested our new remit and structure to the full.

“Despite this, we have achieved almost all of our goals and targets for the year. The fact we have had such success in attracting new foreign direct investment and encouraging new research and development activity amongst Scottish companies is a significant achievement.

“We do not underestimate, however, the challenges that our customers continue to face. Over the next year, we want to build on these achievements and deliver tailored support to help our customers respond to these challenges and identify new opportunities to grow their business.

“We will also be stepping up our commercialisation efforts to generate more wealth from the intellectual property that we develop in Scotland. Accordingly, we will focus more of our efforts on how we can create more businesses and business value out of the outstanding science and technology within our universities and research institutes.”

About Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s main enterprise, innovation and investment agency. Working in partnership with industry, academia and the public sector, SE aims to help make Scotland a place where business can thrive and key industries can be competitive. Its focus is to help businesses grow, encourage greater innovation and create the right conditions for companies to access property, markets and finance to increase productivity and increase Scotland’s ability to compete internationally.

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Tuesday, 1 September 2009

William Hill and Ayr Racecourse celebrate Burns anniversary
with new trophies for Gold Cup and Silver Cup

BOOKMAKERS William Hill, sponsors of the historic Ayr Gold Cup at Ayr Racecourse on 19 September, are commemorating this year’s Homecoming celebrations and the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns by commissioning a pair of gold and silver trophies (pictured below) for the winning connections of the William Hill (Ayr) Gold and Silver Cups.

Renowned Silversmith Graham Stewart from Dunblane was approached by William Hill chief executive Ralph Topping, himself a resident of the Trossachs, after Topping had seen examples of Grahams work at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood.

“Homecoming year is very special for Scotland,” said Topping, “and lifting the William Hill Gold Cup is also a very special achievement. So I wanted the winning owners of this great race to take away something quintessentially Scottish this year in celebration. I think Graham has captured the magic of Burns with the two magnificent trophies he has created for us.”

Stewart has hand crafted two Sterling Silver and Gold trophies, each hand-chased with an inscription from Robert Burns himself. Taken from the poem “The Auld Farmer’s New-Year Morning Salutation to his Auld Mare, Maggie,” the words seem appropriate to a horse who has just proved itself to be amongst the fastest in the land.

“That day, ye was a jinker noble,
For heels an’ win’!
An’ ran them till they a’ did wauble,
Far, far, behin’!

For the first time, both the Gold and Silver Cups will be run on the same day this year (Saturday 19 September) with the addition of a William Hill Bronze Cup now the highlight of Ladies Day on Friday 18 September.

In addition to the trophies there will be commemorative mementos for the winning jockeys and trainers, again specially commissioned from Graham Stewart.

The total prize money for the 2009 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival will top £600,000 with the 27 runners in the six-furlong Gold Cup chasing a pot of £150,000, making it Europe’s richest sprint handicap.



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Monday, 31 August 2009

£5 million bids submitted to regenerate
Girvan, Troon, Maybole and Ayr

South Ayrshire Council has submitted applications for funding to the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Regeneration Fund (TCRF). The bids, totalling £5million, outline exciting development proposals for Girvan, Maybole, Troon and Ayr town centres.

[Pictured: Alec Clarke, chair of Girvan Community Council pictured with Councillor Hugh Hunter, the Leader of South Ayrshire Council, and other local representatives in Girvan when the Town Centre Regeneration Bids were announced.]

During 2009/10, the Scottish Government has made £60m available for town centre regeneration. £40m was available in the first round of bidding, and £20m in the current round of bidding which closed on Friday.

Councillor Hugh Hunter, the Leader of South Ayrshire Council and Chair of the Community Planning Partnership said: “I am delighted that we are in a position to unveil details of four bids submitted to the second round of the Town Centre Regeneration Fund, including a further bid submitted by Ayr Renaissance.

“The Town Centre Regeneration Fund recognises the critical role which town centres play in determining the vibrancy of an area. They are the heart of our towns, acting as centres of employment and services for local communities and a focus for civic activity. Many town centres require regeneration and growth. The Regeneration Fund provides a means of injecting resources into that process.

“In the first round of bidding Ayr Renaissance was successful in securing £2.258m, the largest amount awarded to a single town centre project.

“I am confident that the bids we have submitted clearly show the benefits that residents, businesses and visitors to South Ayrshire would gain if our projects are successful in securing funding. Competition for a share of the funding will be fierce but we have given ourselves the best chance of success by working tirelessly to prepare and submit high quality bids. The outcome of the second round of the Town Centre Regeneration Funding is expected in early November.”

The bids that have been submitted are:


Funding would be used to:

1. Create a sustainable, eco-friendly, family focused leisure complex, including a swimming pool, which addresses equality needs in terms of access and meets the needs of diverse groups across the community.

2. Refurbish the Town House, a grade ‘B’ listed property to create tourist facilities, provide additional community services and create pedestrian access to the swimming pool and leisure complex.

3. Develop Stumpy Corner to enhance and preserve the built environment and create an outdoor community performance and event space.


Funding would be used to:

1. Rejuvenate Maybole’s Town Hall, a category ‘B’ listed building of architectural and historical interest, occupying a prominent position within Maybole’s conservation area.

2. Acquire a neglected town Centre building for subsequent development.


Funding would be used for:

1. A 20mph town centre zone will be defined by entrance features at junctions in the form of coloured surfacing.

2. Footways will be extended to reduce crossing distance for pedestrians and the creation of narrower entrances for vehicles.

3. Introduction of traffic signals with pedestrian crossing facilities at a number of junctions throughout the town centre area.

4. Provision of dropped kerbs at all junctions within the town centre core to assist those with mobility impairment.

5. Provision of loading bays.

6. Introduction of a taxi rank.

7. Measures to assist public transport movements.

8. Measures for cyclists.

9. Streetscape enhancements making it more attractive, welcoming and safer.

10.Improved economic growth.

11. Reduced traffic congestion.


Bid for funding, submitted by Ayr Renaissance, would be used for:

1. Preserving and returning to use the Wallace Tower, which was built by Thomas Hamilton in 1934 and commemorates Sir William Wallace ‘Guardian of Scotland’ and the adjoining hall.

2. Make the Wallace Tower compliant with Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) requirements, this will require the purchase of two retail units on the ground floor below the hall to enable installation of a lift and other related access improvements.

3. Development in a flexible way of the hall and retail space.



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