The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 26 April 2013

Frazer Coogans Solicitors hold reception to launch

Leading Ayrshire law firm Frazer Coogans Solicitors held an evening reception at Beresford Wine Bar & Art Gallery on Wednesday 24 April 2013 to celebrate the rebranding and relaunch of their personal accident and injury compensation business
[Pictured: Frazer Coogans Solicitors managing partner
Norman Geddes welcomes guests to the reception.]

A full report will follow shortly.

A set of photographs taken at the event is available on Flickr:

Click on any thumbnail to access larger images.


Frazer Coogans Solicitors is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Work starts on Ayr’s iconic pink buildings

Just weeks after the successful conclusion of discussions with property owners at Ayr’s pink buildings, work to transform the iconic ‘Gateway to Ayr’ is now underway.
[In the pink! South Ayrshire Councillors and THI representatives
pictured as work begins on the iconic 'Gateway to Ayr'.]

Contractors are on site, with scaffolding being erected marking the start of the comprehensive conservation and refurbishment programme.
Buildings at 1-3, 2-6 and 6a-10 New Bridge Street, comprising a total of 12 flats and five shop premises will be transformed under the initiative, which will preserve their special historic and architectural character. All works will be undertaken using traditional methods and materials, while ensuring they can enjoy a sustainable future.
Immediate works will include the removal of old paint and sealing cracks, rendering, window replacement and new roofing.
The refurbishment work forms part of the £2.5 million Ayr Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) – funded by South Ayrshire Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Historic Scotland and owner contributions.
Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: "I'm delighted work has begun on the buildings and I’m looking forward to seeing these iconic buildings fully restored to their former glory.
“They’re an eye-catching and important part of Ayr’s architectural history and will soon once again grace the Gateway to Ayr, giving our town centre a boost as we work to regenerate and adapt to challenging times.
“We recently hosted a town centre summit and it is clear that a vibrant town centre is at the heart of a healthy successful community.
“The exciting transformation of the pink buildings is one way we’re driving the wider regeneration of Ayr forward, as we work to deliver a wider and richer mix of retail, residential and entertainment opportunities – all aimed at making the town centre an attractive place to live, work, visit and enjoy.”
Councillor John McDowall, Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and the Environment, added: “The Ayr THI refurbishment works will give a new lease of life to these fantastic buildings and set the tone for anyone entering the town. Not only will the character, history and essence of the pink buildings be retained, the works will give them a sustainable makeover, making sure their iconic status is preserved for many more years to come."
Evelyn McCann, Acting Chair of Ayr Renaissance, said: "The start of the Ayr THI works on the pink buildings is an exciting and significant moment. It marks the start of a new chapter in the story of the buildings and I hope it will also act as a catalyst to help promote a wider regeneration of Ayr town centre.”
Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “We have found that for regeneration to really work, it has to have roots. Roots make a place unique, connect people with their history and give a place its identity. The pink buildings are part of Ayr’s roots and a prominent historic landmark in the town. Thanks to the THI programme, they will now have a new lease of life. This is an exciting step forward in the area’s on-going transformation.” 
Thomas Knowles, Deputy Head of Investment at Historic Scotland, added: "The iconic pink buildings in Ayr form part of its history and heritage. We are pleased that our grant will help preserve them for future generations to enjoy."
The Ayr THI work is expected to complete before the end of 2014.
Planned improvements to the pink buildings include:
• Removal of the existing paintwork, which is cracked and peeling in many places.
• Repointing and stonework repairs to improve the external condition of the masonry and to prevent water penetration into the buildings.
• Roof repairs and replacement, where required.
• Renewal of downpipes and gutters to improve rainwater disposal.
• Lime rendering to protect the walls of the buildings.
• Limited structural repairs.
• Window repairs and replacement, where required.

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

Ayrshire and Arran in the global spotlight

Ayrshire and Arran led the way at VisitScotland’s annual Expo at the SECC in Glasgow as public and private sector partners worked together to market the area to travel trade buyers and journalists from around the globe.
[Pictured: The Ayrshire and Arran Tourism team at Expo.]
This year’s stand was one of the largest at the show, with ten of Ayrshire’s leading businesses and tourism associations working together on a custom-built stand designed to highlight the best of Ayrshire and Arran.
Expo is Scotland’s flagship business to business event for the travel trade. Leading tourism businesses and associations including A D Rattray’s Whisky Experience, Auchrannie Resort, Blair Estate, Carrick Tourism Group, Cook School Scotland, Costley and Costley, Gailes Golf Experience, Park Hotel, SimpsInns, and VisitArran combined to showcase their products and services to key buyers from around the world.
Moira Birtwistle, Chair of the Ayrshire and Arran Tourism Leadership Group said: “The Ayrshire and Arran presence at Expo is an excellent example of the collaborative approach we need to deliver our action plan and move forward with our five year strategy. It was great to see the Tourism Team and industry partners all working together to sell our area, and we already know that new business has been attracted as a direct result of the work on Expo.”
Sheila Gilmore, Executive Director of VisitArran, added: “Expo provides an excellent opportunity to showcase the area, engage with the travel trade, and attract new business. The support of the Tourism Team in co-ordinating the stand is invaluable and provides a really effective platform for doing business. Buyers seemed to love the Ayrshire and Arran stand and we took a lot of positive enquiries over the two days so I am sure that the area will benefit from this ongoing partnership approach.”
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “Ayrshire and Arran’s collaborative presence at Expo is really well established and demonstrates the benefits of a joined up approach. It is great to see an area presenting a coherent offer to travel trade buyers and really maximising the opportunity to sell their area on a national stage.”
Following the success of the collaborative presence over the past five years, plans are now underway to further strengthen Ayrshire and Arran’s position as a key tourism destination with a presence at Expo 2014, when the show returns to Glasgow.
VisitScotland Expo is Scotland’s flagship business to business event for the travel trade, attracting hundreds of buyers from all sectors of the industry from around the UK and worldwide markets including Europe, USA, Japan, and Australia.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Godsmejudge wins Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

Alan King was the proudest man at Ayr Racecourse on Saturday when Godsmejudge (pictured below) crossed the line a four length winner of the Coral Scottish Grand National.
The Wiltshire based, Bellshill born trainer worked as an assistant at Cree Lodge Stables just yards from the Ayr track in the late 1980s, and said he felt as if he was ‘coming home’ when he went up to receive the magnificent trophy.
Jockey Wayne Hutchison had his horse in from a long way out and oozed confidence as he turned into the home straight.
[Pictured: Coral Scottish Grand National 2013 winning jockey and trainer Wayne Hutchison and Alan King.]
The smiling jockey said: “I knew it was in the bag when we turned in and I just kept concentrating. It was a great feeling. Superb.”
And Alan King added: “I love this meeting. I have been lucky enough to win a lot of big races, Queen Mothers and the Champion Hurdle and this is right up there with those.”
All the hype before the race surrounded the Aintree winner Aurora’s Encore and jockey Ryan Mania but the horse was pulled up five out and Mania said afterwards: “Today everything went wrong. He was almost brought down at the second fence and after that he was always looking after himself.”
A record crowd of 18,300 packed the stands and sold up signs went up on both the Club Enclosure and in Hospitality.
The main supporting race, the QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle was won by Court Minstrel, trained in the Vale of Glamorgan by Evan Williams and ridden by conditional jockey Adam Wedge.
And there was a bumper near £40,000 prize for Netminder’s Borders trainer Sandy Thomson and jockey Peter Buchanan when they landed the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Novices Handicap Chase.
Friday’s highlight was the Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase which was won by Bocciani, ridden by Tom Scudamore . The 6/1 chance won by five lengths from Mr Moonshine and Ryan Mania.
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.

Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr Racecourse attracts record crowds

By: Iain Ferguson
THE sun shone and the crowds flocked to Ayr Racecourse for the 2013 Coral Scottish Grand National Festival last weekend.
More than 18,300 – beating the previous record of 17,200 in 2002 – enjoyed a great day on Saturday and there was a real feel good atmosphere throughout the crowd.
A Beatles tribute band played during the afternoon in the Tented Village within the Grandstand while a jazz band performed on the Champagne lawns and there was both live music and a disco after racing.
The Club Enclosure was sold out about an hour before the first race and there wasn’t a space to be had either in Hospitality.
Celebrities attending included Jeremy Kyle, newsreader Jackie Bird, Raman Bardwaj  from the STV sports team, the Channel 4 racing presenters including Nick Luck and Mick Fitzgerald and Motherwell FC captain Tom Hateley.
Friday attracted around 4,000 to the track and the weather meant most of those who attended stayed on the sun drenched lawns.
Millions of pounds were bet over the two days and bars, restaurants, taxi companies and hotels reported brisk business.
Ayr Racecourse Sales and Marketing Manager Lindsey Smith commented: “On so many levels this was our most successful day yet. Recording our biggest ever crowd was a huge boost.”
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.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Get set for Weekend in the Park with new-look Burns an’ a’ that! Festival

A new look, a new location and a line-up of Scottish stars are on offer this year for the Burns an’ a’ that! Festival 2013, with live music, visual and performance art, and family entertainment galore from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 May 2013.
Former Del Amitri frontman turned singer/songwriter Justin Currie (pictured above), 80s favourites The Bluebells and upcoming Scottish singer songwriter Rachel Sermanni will all be taking to the stage as headline acts in a brand-new live music tent at Belleisle Park in Ayr as Burns an’ a’ that! celebrates its twelfth anniversary.
The Festival – which is supported by South Ayrshire Council and VisitScotland – is an annual tribute to Scotland’s internationally acclaimed poet Robert Burns, celebrating the best of Scottish talent. This year it also forms part of The Year of Natural Scotland.
The 2013 festivities kick off with Festival Friday in Ayr town centre, where you can find out all about the weekend ahead and get a taste for some of the treats on offer. On Festival Friday, there’s the chance to meet Buzzbeak – a giant interactive bird made entirely from Landrover parts – and craft workshops where you can weave your own willow heart. At night time, there are various entertainment options including Burns an’ a’ that! live music in Wellingtons Bar and Alloway Ghost Walks.
The festival then heads to the picturesque setting of Belleisle Park for the brand new ‘Weekend in the Park’ on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 May with the live music tent, a fairground, arts and crafts market, outdoor arts and performances – and much, much more.
The best of Ayrshire food will also be on offer, with Stobbs the Baker providing delicious hot and cold bakery products, Costley & Costley providing the festival bar plus an exciting range of ice-cream and chocolates and food offering a unique Scottish twist on takeaway tapas.
The Saturday live music line-up – which is completely free – kicks off at 1pm and lasts right through until 10pm. The packed programme includes sets from Rose Parade, with their own mixture of folk, punk, indie and blues to establish a unique and exciting new sound; Taylor and Leigh's blend of Nu-Folk-Country Blues; the “delicate and beautifully endearing” SIIGA, whose album ‘The Sea and the Mirror’ was recently named Album of the Week by BBC Radio Scotland; Celtic band Sketch, who perform traditional music for the 21st century; Ayrshire’s own Little Fire, who won the Best Acoustic category at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards 2013; and finishing off with 80s favourites The Bluebells (pictured below) who are best known for their hits ‘Young at Heart’, ‘I’m Falling’ and ‘Cath’ and were honoured with the Tartan Clef award for songwriting in 2011.

The Sunday 1-5pm music line up is also free and features a 60s and 70s vibe from The New Piccadillys that should not be missed, indie pop from Pronto Mama and a swing jazz sound from Rose Room.
The 2013 Burns an’ a’that! Festival concludes with the Finale gig starring Justin Currie of Del Amitri, supported by Scottish singer songwriter Rachel Sermanni (pictured below). Justin played at one of the early Burns an’ a’ that! Festivals and his set is sure to be one not to be missed.
Tickets for this gig are £15 and can be purchased from Ayr Town Hall, on Ticketweb at or by calling 01292 269793/617660.
As well as the live music events, the Burns an’ a’ that! programme also boasts a thriving and broad ranging fringe programme throughout the month of May, with something for everyone.
Full details can be found at
Burns an’ a’ that! Festival
The Burns an' a' that! Festival is at the core of an annual events and festivals programme that includes Alloway 1759, a unique commemoration of the birthplace and life of Robert Burns, that takes place around his birthday in January each year.
It has also encouraged and developed a fringe programme of events from comedy to culture, food and drink to fun and games, visual and performance arts plus many more activities for adults and children alike. Over the years the Burns an’ a’ that! Festival has played host to a number of stars including Jools Holland, Katherine Jenkins, Julian Cope, Frankie Boyle and Status Quo, to name but a few.
From its original home of Ayr Town Hall, the festival then travelled outdoors to Wellington Square Gardens and, for years, delighted audiences at open air concerts and in the visually stunning spiegeltent. Other grand venues also became centre stage for the festival including gala concerts at Culzean Castle and Turnberry and the memorable Rock at the Racecourse.
Burns an' a' that! Festival continues to be supported by South Ayrshire Council and Visit Scotland as a major festival date in Scotland's event calendar.
In 2013, the Burns an’ a’ that! Festival is proud to work in association with UZ Arts, a Scottish charity that develops, commissions, produces and distributes the work of artists in all art forms. Building on a history of producing festivals and events in a wide range of territories, UZ supports innovators across art forms, across borders and outside conventional venues.
The last twelve years have seen many changes but the heart of the Festival will always be about our very own Robert Burns – an inspiration to millions worldwide we are proud to celebrate the man, his music, his legacy.
South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.