The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 29 November 2013

Ayr Racecourse announces William Hill and QTS sponsorship extensions

By: Iain Ferguson

Ayr Racecourse has received a double boost on the sponsorship front.

Firstly it was announced William Hill have extended their sponsorship of the Ayr Gold Cup Festival by three years until September 2016 and then the QTS Group agreed to support sponsor Ladies Night at the track on 9 August next year in addition to sponsoring the Scottish Champion Hurdle in April.


[Jockey Oisin Murphy celebrates his triumph on his mount Highland Colon at the 2013 William Hill Gold Cup at Ayr Racecourse.]

William Hill have sponsored the festival since 2009 and during that time the fixture has grown in stature and this year the third and final day featuring the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup was for the first time Channel 4’s showcase meeting on the day.

The bookmaking giant initially signed a three year deal with Ayr Racecourse in 2009 and renewed that in 2011 with a two year deal that ended in September this year. This latest extension was welcomed by both parties.

The contract covers full naming rights of the Festival and sponsorships of the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup – Europe’s most valuable sprint handicap, the Silver and Bronze Cups, plus the Doonside Cup, Ayrshire Handicap and Kilkerran Cup.

Jennie Prest, Sponsorship & PR Manager for William Hill said: “We are delighted to be renewing our sponsorship of the Gold Cup Festival once again, and to be continuing our now long standing relationship with the team at Ayr Racecourse. 

“Year-on-year the meeting is popular with both the punters, who love the challenge of the Bronze, Silver and Gold Cups and the racegoers, who are always treated to a superb Scottish welcome. We look forward to working alongside the course to ensure the meeting continues to be a success each year.”


Ayr Racecourse Chairman Alan Macdonald (pictured above) welcomed the extension and said: “William Hill and the Ayr Gold Cup Festival has proved to be a good fit and is now firmly established as one of the best working sponsorship partnerships in horse racing.

“By signing this three year extension both parties can look forward to continuing to work together to maintain and increase the profile of this marvellous three days of racing which is without doubt one of the highlights of the flat season in the UK.” 

QTS first took naming rights to the glamorous Ladies Night at Ayr last year and prior to that  sponsored a race on the card.


Based in Drumclog, Lanarkshire QTS was founded in 1992 originally as a tree surgeon business and now provides an extensive range of engineering infrastructure and training services to major organisations across the rail, utilities, construction and public sectors.

The group is also one of the UK’s largest providers of rail operations, working very closely with Network Rail and other major suppliers.  With various engineering and infrastructure contracts, as well as providing market leading training courses, the company is a one stop shop for most business needs. 


Alan McLeish (pictured above), MD of QTS Group commented: “We are really excited by the prospects of working with Ayr Racecourse for the upcoming year. The QTS Champion Hurdle was a great success this year and we are looking forward to repeating in 2014.

“When we signed up to sponsor Ladies Night this year we knew straightaway that this was a great social event and I’m proud to say that we will support the racecourse next year  as we continue to sponsor Scotland’s premier ladies night.”

Alan Macdonald added: “I am naturally delighted that QTS are sponsoring both Ladies Night and the Scottish Champion Hurdle again next year. It further underlines the partnership we have built up.

“It is important we have high quality sponsors to help us provide the best racing and days out possible for our racegoers. Having a major company like QTS as sponsor is 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.


Thursday, 28 November 2013

CKD Galbraith offer luxurious family country home in South Ayrshire

Leading independent Scottish property consultancy CKD Galbraith is offering for sale Burton Cottage, an outstanding conversion of two traditional country cottages to form a wonderful family home with an excellent level of specification.


Burton Cottage is a truly wonderful conversion of two traditional stone cottages by Dawn Developments, available at offers over £495,000. Situated within a secluded, sheltered plot on the edge of the Carrick Hills, Burton Cottage enjoys fine country views yet is within walking distance of the amenities of Doonfoot and Ayr Shore.

The property extends to approximately 213 square meters and offers generously proportioned accommodation on one level. Glazed oak doors open to a spacious reception hall with bright aspects towards the patio at the rear and stream beyond. 


The lounge is an equally bright room with double aspect windows. 


The dining kitchen is the hub of the house and is fully fitted with a range of bespoke handmade units by Alno incorporating an induction hob, central island and granite worktops. Kardean flooring runs through the kitchen to the sun room which is a wonderfully relaxing area. Bi-folding doors form a bay window around the sun room opening to the landscaped gardens and ideal for summer entertaining.

Five bedrooms and a family bathroom complete the accommodation – two bedrooms have en suite shower rooms and all sanitary ware is Porcelanosa.

Burton Cottage occupies a sheltered plot of approximately one acre entered via electric gates which opens to a gravel sweep at the front of the house and lit by low level lighting. The gardens are fully landscaped and planted with a variety of shrubs and bushes. A large decked patio is enclosed and overlooks a small stream at the rear and in addition there is an integrated double garage with electric doors.  

Burton Cottage is a luxurious country home formed from traditional cottages and enjoys all the benefits of rural living within easy reach of local amenities.

About CKD Galbraith 

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy employing 250 staff in offices in Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth, Cupar, Inverness, Aberfeldy, Castle Douglas, Ayr, Elgin, Galashiels, Kelso, Peebles, Alyth and Aberdeen. 

The partnership provides the full range of property consulting services across the residential, commercial, rural and renewable energy sectors throughout Scotland. CKD Galbraith also enjoys a successful relationship with its associate firm in London, CKD Kennedy Macpherson.


CKD Galbraith’s Ayr Office is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

First Minister Alex Salmond launches blueprint for independent Scotland

First Minister Alex Salmond today launched the “most comprehensive blueprint for an independent country ever published” - Scotland’s Future – Your Guide to an Independent Scotland.


The guide, which runs to 670 pages and 170,000 words, outlines the shape of the thriving Scotland that will emerge in the event of a vote for independence in next year’s referendum. It also offers a transformational vision of work and social policy, with a revolution in childcare at its heart.

The guide sets out the case for independence and outlines the journey, following a yes vote on 18 September next year, that Scotland will make to independence day on 24 March 2016.

The guide is structured in five parts:

• An overview of the case for independence, including why Scotland needs independence and what a newly independent Scotland will look like.

• A description of the strengths of Scotland’s national finances, a projection of Scotland’s opening financial position at the point of independence and the current Scottish Government’s priorities for the first term of a Scottish Parliament if elected in the May 2016 elections.

• A detailed analysis of the changes needed across Scotland, the opportunities that independence provides for any future Scottish government to make those changes, and the particular priorities for action identified by this government. 

• The timescale and process for Scotland to become an independent country following a yes vote; the transition that will take place and the negotiations and agreements that will be required. It also sets out the opportunities for a modern democracy with a written constitution and describes how equality and human rights will be protected and promoted.

• The answers to 650 detailed questions about the opportunities and practicalities of independence.

The guide, published today, includes details of the savings that can be made with independence, including half a billion pounds on defence spending and savings from no longer contributing to the funding of the Westminster Parliament.

It also outlines the Scottish Government’s policies on issues such as currency, international representation - including independent and equal membership of the European Union - citizenship, defence and security, the harnessing of Scotland’s natural resources for the benefit of current and future generations and the fiscal levers necessary to grow the Scottish economy.

The guide also details a range of polices that would be introduced if the current Scottish Government is elected to be the government of an independent Scotland, including:

• A transformation in childcare, helping more women into work and providing up to 35,000 jobs.

• A safe, triple-locked pension that meets Scotland’s needs and puts more money in the pockets of our pensioners.

• A guaranteed minimum wage that rises alongside the cost of living to make sure the lowest paid get a fair wage for a fair days work.

• Basic rate tax allowances and tax credits that will also rise at least in line with inflation.

• A change to the way ‘green levies’ are paid for - saving families around £70 a year on their energy bills.

• A fairer welfare system, including a halt to the rollout of Universal Credit and the abolition of the ‘Bedroom Tax’.

• A productivity and competitive boost to secure the position of Scottish business.

The First Minister said: “This is the most comprehensive blueprint for an independent country ever published, not just for Scotland but for any prospective independent nation.

“But more than that, it is a mission statement and a prospectus for the kind of country we should be and which this Government believes we can be.

“Our vision is of an independent Scotland regaining its place as an equal member of the family of nations – however, we do not seek independence as an end in itself, but rather as a means to changing Scotland for the better.

"We know we have the people, the skills and resources to make Scotland a more successful country. What we need now are the economic tools and powers to build a more competitive, dynamic economy and create more jobs.

“This guide contains policies which offer nothing less than a revolution in employment and social policy for Scotland, with a transformational change in childcare at the heart of those plans. Our proposals will make it far easier for parents to balance work and family life and will allow many more people, especially women, to move into the workforce, fostering economic growth and helping to boost revenues - which will in itself help pay for the policy.

“With these policies, we can begin the job of undoing the damage caused by the vast social disparities which have seen the UK become one of the most unequal societies in the developed world.

“And we believe it is only with the powers of Independence - by completing the powers of our national Parliament - that we will gain the tools we need to create a more prosperous and fairer society.”


Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We want as many people as possible across Scotland to read the guide and make up their own minds about Scotland’s future.

“This is an incredibly thorough and detailed guide, which includes 650 questions about an independent Scotland – and delivers on the answers.

“When it comes to social equality, health, quality of life and economic performance, Scotland has too often lagged behind the performance of our near neighbours across Northern Europe – many of them countries of similar size to Scotland.

“We know that Scotland has huge natural resources and enormous talent among our communities and our workforce – but only independence will give us the ability to make the most of our potential. This is an unprecedented chance to transform our country for the better. Our employment and social policy proposals contained in this guide, including the revolution in childcare, show what is possible.

“It illustrates how the powers of independence can be used to benefit individuals, families, communities and the nation as a whole - and it has economic growth, jobs and fairness at its heart.

“This is the only detailed plan for Scotland’s future, and today’s publication marks a decisive shift in the debate on what that future should be.”


Monday, 25 November 2013

South Ayrshire Council celebrates Braehead Primary School modernisation

Christmas has come early in North Ayr as pupils, parents, staff and local councillors celebrated the completion of a £3.2 million refurbishment programme at Braehead Primary School.


The work has transformed the school into a place fit to meet educational needs of the 21st century, and marks another important chapter in the history of the school, which has 157 pupils and 40 nursery children.

From the start, the Council worked with architects, pupils, parents and the community to ensure that the work met the needs of the school and outstanding features include:

• An all-weather multi-use games area

• Fully modernised gymnasium

• Re-designed kitchen and dining area

• Superb new art room

• Redesigned and more accessible main entrance

• Exterior hard and soft landscaping, including an amphitheatre seating area. 

And the festive cheer was in full flow as the pupils put on a special show to mark the occasion, with Councillor Margeret Toner, Portfolio Holder for Lifelong Learning, unveiling a commemorative plaque to mark the official opening,


Councillor Toner said: “Educating our next generation is a big priority for South Ayrshire Council and we believe the best way to get today’s pupils fit for tomorrow’s world, is to create bright, inspiring and creative spaces in they can learn and interact with their peers, teachers and the wider community.

“The £3.2 million project at Braehead has created just that, and is a fantastic transformation marking our commitment to ensuring our school buildings provide first-class facilities for pupils and staff so they can benefit from the best possible education experience.”

After the official opening of the extension Mr Ian Gall, School Chaplain dedicated the school, before pupils took to the stage for an evening with a Commonwealth theme – which included Indian dancing, African drumming and even a Highland Fling!

Guests were then treated to a special video presentation on what the newly refurbished school meant to them, finishing the film with their new school song ‘What I Am’.

Sandra Campbell, Head Teacher said: “The school has been transformed to the highest possible standards, and this will have a positive and lasting impact on the whole school community.

“Our children particularly enjoy the fantastic all-weather games facility for a variety of purposes, and our amazing art room is the most inspirational room in the school.

“We’re incredibly grateful to the architects and contractors for all their hard work and I’d also like say a huge thank-you to all staff, parents, carers, young people and the wider community for their patience, support and co-operation throughout this wonderful project.”

Councillor Toner concluded: “We enjoyed a superb evening of fun entertainment and the excitement on the pupils’ faces was clear to see – and that’s before the excitement of Christmas has started!

“It was a pleasure to officially mark the completion of these refurbishment works and I’m sure the new facilities at Braehead will help motivate and inspire the next generation of learners.

“I hope the present pupils will build on the successes of pupils past, as they – and the whole community – look forward to a future of successful learning at Braehead primary school.”

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