The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Trump Turnberry invests in sales team as refurbishment takes shape

Three new appointments have been announced in corporate sales at Trump Turnberry as the team prepare for the relaunch of the iconic luxury resort currently undergoing a lavish renovation.

Following the opening of the £6m clubhouse and the refurbishment of The Caledonia Ballroom, three new positions have been filled to assist the sales and marketing team with their plans for relaunch in June 2016.

Ms Paulomi Debnath (pictured above) joins the resort as an account director and will be based in the London office of the Starwood sales team.  Paulomi joins from The Corinthia Hotel in London and brings 13 years’ experience gained through operators such as Radisson Hotels and Hilton Hotels Worldwide.  

Reporting into director of sales, Gillian McNeilly, Paulomi’s remit will focus on building awareness of Trump Turnberry within the London MICE market (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions), as the resort repositions itself as the premier destination for incentive groups, conferences and events. 

Shalane Breen has been appointed as an account executive and joins the resort from Elior. Previously based at Ibrox stadium in Glasgow, she was sales manager for corporate and private events.   With a Scotland and Ireland remit, Shalane will be engaging with a number of local businesses keen to learn about the new multi-million facilities at Trump Turnberry.

The appointments also follow the recent hire of Laura Findlay as business development executive. The new team join existing leisure account manager, Angus Watson, who joined from the Fairmont St Andrews in 2014.

Stephen Walker, director of sales and marketing for Trump Turnberry commented: “We’re delighted to welcome Paulomi, Shalane and Laura to the team.

“Supporting The Trump Organisation's multi-million dollar investment in both our existing, and the creation of additional meeting and function space, we recognised at an early stage the requirement to expand the sales force both locally and nationally.

“Alongside the bedroom renovation which starts late September, this allows us to entirely reposition the resort in the MICE market, win market share and encourage customers old and new to look at Trump Turnberry in an entirely new light.

“As the renovation unfolds we will constantly review the deployment of the sales & marketing team to support the biggest investment in the resort's 109 year history.”

The ongoing refurbishment at Trump Turnberry continues with the hotel’s signature venue, The Caledonia Ballroom recently unveiled following a lavish refurbishment.  In addition three adjoining meeting spaces have also been created offering perfect break out rooms.  Two additional function rooms have been redesigned The Old Tom Morris Suite perfect for pre-dinner drinks and The Ailsa Craig Suite which can accommodate up to 140. 

Meanwhile, The Trump Turnberry Clubhouse opened in June has launched a new restaurant named ‘The Duel in the Sun’ which commands exceptional views over the golf course.  The unrivalled golfing history of the resort has also been acknowledged with the creation of new clubhouse meeting rooms, including the new Champions Suite and The Tom Watson Boardroom.  A new business centre is also in operation while the professional shop has almost doubled in size and now offers 3,600sq ft of retail space.  

An extensive and phased refurbishment of the hotel bedrooms commences in October with accommodation provided throughout the winter via selected hotel rooms, Trump Villas and Lands of Turnberry apartments.  The golf courses are also redesigned during this time culminating in a grand re-opening of the resort in June 2016.

Trump Turnberry is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra complete successful tour of South Africa

By: Euan Terras

The Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra (AFO) was formed back in 1982 by Wallace Galbraith MBE and his then wife to encourage and develop traditional Scottish fiddle music among young musicians in Ayrshire. 

The Orchestra has steadily matured and grown since those early days and now boasts over 100 members from all parts of Ayrshire (and Arran!), ranging from 10 - 20 years of age and includes violins, cellos, double basses, guitars, accordions, percussion and bagpipes. 

Although the Orchestra has just two main concerts each year, Summer and Christmas, both in Ayr Town Hall, they have a very busy schedule, performing at many local and community events such as Ayr Flower Show, Prestwick Promenade, Troon’s Wintertainment, Septembayr, West Sound Burns Supper and Hogmanay Show as well as events for Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce, Cancer Research and the Ayrshire Hospice, Ayr Gaiety, Town Twinning events and contributing to various Christmas Fayres, school and church events, concerts in rural communities and other charity based events across Ayrshire and beyond. 

AFO has earned an enviable reputation over the years for providing entertainment to many and for enabling young Ayrshire musicians some wonderful opportunities and experiences for performing, not only locally, but across the globe. In doing so, they have proved themselves fine ambassadors for Ayrshire and for Scots music and culture. 

Every two years the Orchestra embarks on a major international concert tour and since the 1980s has travelled to USA, Canada, Scandinavia and mainland Europe, Australia, New Zealand and China. They have performed in prestigious venues such as Sydney Opera House, the White House lawn, the European Parliament and at CERN in Geneva. 

The Orchestra have, in fact, just returned from South Africa following a 16 day visit in July which has been their most exciting, and most successful Tour ever and their first visit to Africa.

Privileged to have been invited to perform at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, the largest cultural festival in the whole of the African continent (and similar in size to the Edinburgh Festival), AFO sold out their two scheduled concerts even before they had left the UK and a third additional concert which was hastily scheduled into their programme also rapidly sold out. 

Newspapers in South Africa commented: “The Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra was one of the most talked about and remembered performances of the 2015 Festival.” . 

The AFO group, 95 in number, performed further concerts at George, Cape Town, Hout Bay and Johannesburg, all of which were met with standing ovations and shouts of ‘encore’ at every venue. Another reviewer raved: "It is fair comment to say that AFO have taken South Africa by storm!” 

The Orchestra were also honoured to be invited to perform during Sunday Mass at the famous Regina Mundi Cathedral in Soweto, in front of a 2,000 strong congregation. 

Even the flight to Johannesburg with Virgin Atlantic involved an impromptu performance, with some 30 AFO fiddlers performing mid-flight in the aisles for their fellow passengers at 36,000ft, to the delight of all on board, including the crew!  

Always ready for fun, the young musicians also held a ceilidh on the summit plateau of Table Mountain, 3,500ft above Cape Town, with the dancing soon involving onlookers and staff!  

During a visit to Robben Island, Nelson Mandela’s prison for some 18 years, one of the Orchestra’s senior players, Ciaran McHugh (20), produced his violin and performed in Mandela’s actual cell block an arrangement of Blair Douglas’s bagpipe tune “Nelson Mandela’s Welcome to the City of Glasgow” – an emotional occasion for all present. 

Meanwhile, some other senior players were in the studios of the South African Broadcasting Corporation playing live on national breakfast TV, whilst AFO Directors Kathleen Terras and David Moore were interviewed about the forthcoming concerts. 

One of the Orchestra's most memorable days was spent with the Hout Bay Music Project, which aims to develop the musical skills of children from townships in the Hout Bay area. After much fun playing football, frisbee and dancing games, the two groups of children from very different cultures and backgrounds rehearsed together and then performed an exciting joint concert that night, to thunderous applause and a standing ovation!  

The Tour was not just about music however, with the Orchestra spending two exciting days on safari at a game reserve and visits to the Apartheid Museum, the Cape of Good Hope and the Cradle of Humankind. 

AFO Director and Tour Manager, Euan Terras, commented: “Our tours are not only about showcasing Scots music abroad in different countries but also about giving our young talented members of the orchestra cultural and musical experiences they will remember for the rest of their lives." 

Plans are now underway for the next AFO tour – to North America in 2017! 

The Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra prides itself on being accessible to all young musicians throughout Ayrshire regardless of financial background. 

All tuition is free for players and there are no membership fees. A registered charity, AFO has no paid staff, being run entirely by parents and volunteers with much of the orchestra's activities relying heavily on concert revenues, fundraising, grants and corporate advertising and support.  

Further details about the AFO can be found at or from Euan Terras at

The Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra is a member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Girvan’s tide of success continues with new harbour facilities

Dedicated modern rest facilities for harbour fishermen and pontoon users, a new harbour master’s office and public toilets, all created with an investment of £465,000, have been officially opened at Girvan Harbour.

[Pictured left to right: South Ayrshire Councillors Alec Oattes, John McDowall and Alec Clark celebrate the opening of Girvan Harbour Facilities.]

Known as the Girvan Harbour Facilities, this latest development enhances the pontoons that were installed in 2013, which have already brought a welcome boost for the town as a sailing destination. 

Since the pontoons were completed in 2013, they have been attracting around 500 vessels per year and there has been an increase in new visitors to the marina.  

Councillor John McDowall, Sustainability and Environment Portfolio Holder for the Council said: “With the completion of this work, Girvan Harbour is fit for the 21st century. 

“In 2013 we completed the development of the marina pontoon and now with dedicated rest facilities for visiting yachts, it’s easier than ever to visit Girvan and South Carrick. Very importantly, fishermen − for the first time ever − have dedicated facilities at the harbour, the harbour master has a new office and there are modern public toilets for both local people and visitors to the area.

“Between these new facilities and the new pontoons, over £1 million has been invested in Girvan Harbour. This shows our commitment to Girvan as a working harbour and promoting the town as a must sail to place, making the harbour much more pleasing for the people of Girvan and South Carrick and anyone visiting the area.

“Girvan and the surrounding Carrick area have so much to offer with magnificent scenery, wonderful walking, great water sports, a variety of places to eat, caring communities and a warm-hearted welcome for visitors. And with our great new facilities now open, I hope to see many more people coming to experience this for themselves.”

Speaking about the new facilities Tom McCrindle, Commodore of Carrick Sailing Club and harbour pontoon berth holder said: "Nowhere in the Clyde can compete with the new facilities newly opened at Girvan Harbour. Once the sailing community gets to know about them I am sure Girvan Harbour will be a priority destination." 

John Murdoch, ship chandler and retired fisherman said: “The new facilities have been a long time coming and are very welcomed by local fishermen and will be appreciated by fishermen calling in."

The project was led by South Ayrshire Council and was part funded with an award of £131,699 from the Argyll & Bute South Ayrshire Fisheries Local Action Group, financed by Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund 2007-2013 Programme.  

The new facility will be operated by Ayrshire Roads Alliance and South Ayrshire Council.  

Councillor McDowall concluded: “These terrific facilities really do help make Girvan a go-to place all year round for sailors, fishermen, local people and tourists.”

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