The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Monday, 21 August 2017

Ladies Night fun at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

OH what a night! QTS Ladies Night at Ayr Racecourse recently was a resounding success, with more than 5,000 people enjoying a night of glamour, fun, entertainment and racing.


The weather held up, allowing many to enjoy the Champagne Lawns, and there was a tremendous atmosphere during the evening.


From gates opening just before four o’clock until DJ Colin McArdle played the last song just before midnight there was one big party.


Several ladies won a coin and a place in William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Ladies Day on Friday 22 September when the prizes include a fabulous five night holiday for two courtesy of Stewart Travel and Jet2 Holidays to New York flying form Glasgow on 23 November and staying in a fantastic hotel. The winner will also receive £750 worth of House of Fraser vouchers and a VIP Personal Shopping experience in the Glasgow store plus some pampering beauty treatments from Beauty Spot.


There was terrific entertainment during the night with Emily Middlemas and Craig Ward and dance act Psycho Stylez on the PR stage, while after racing X Factor finalists 5 After Midnight wowed the huge crowd in the Ayrshire Suite.

STV’s Jennifer Reoch compered the whole evening which was voted an outstanding success by the huge crowd.

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.


Saturday, 22 July 2017

National Trust for Scotland’s new Ayrshire and Arran team enjoying a busy summer

The National Trust for Scotland’s new Ayrshire and Arran team are enjoying a busy summer.

General Manager Stuart Maxwell, who took up the role with Scotland’s largest conservation charity earlier this year, has now completed recruiting his team of heritage and business specialists.

Together they will play a key role in caring for some of the treasures of Scotland, including Culzean Castle and Country Park, Brodick Castle, Garden and Country Park and the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, as well as Souter Johnnie’s Cottage and the Bachelors’ Club.

Based at Culzean Castle, they were soon geared up for a busy summer, as Culzean Castle and Brodick Castle both benefit from major investment.

General Manager Stuart Maxwell said: “We’ve got lots going on in Ayrshire and Arran this summer – our newly opened and expanded playpark, The Wild Woodland and Adventure Cove at Culzean is going down very well with younger visitors, we have Pirates of Culzean, a flagship event in July, and there’s lots of outdoor theatre and rangers’ events too. We’ve also enhanced our catering and retail offer typified with the opening of our new Aviary Café.

“In the stunning grounds of Brodick Castle, we’ve opened Isle Be Wild Adventure Playpark – a fantastic play experience, inspired by Arran’s wonderful natural heritage. This new addition to the island adds another great reason to make a visit to Arran for families for a short break or a day trip from the mainland.”


The team is (left to right in photograph):

Sarah Beattie, Curator - Sarah studied History of Art and History at the University of Glasgow before completing a master’s degree in nineteenth century art and design. She is currently working on a second masters on the history of the Country House with the University of Leicester. Sarah has worked with a broad selection of collections from social history to fine art in both documentation and curatorial roles.

Kevin MacGillivary, Catering and Hospitality Manager – Kevin has more than 30 years’ experience in the catering industry and has won many prestigious awards including Scottish Chef of the Year, Winner of Flavour of Scotland Award, and the Scottish Hotel Chef of the Year. He has been on the board of the Federation of Chefs Scotland since 1999 and took up the office of President in June 2009. Before joining the Trust, he was the Regional Executive Chef for MacDonald Hotels looking after 5 of the company’s flagship properties, The Holyrood Edinburgh, Inchyra Grange, Grangemouth, The Crutherland Hotel in East Kilbride and Houston House Hotel and the Grange Manor.

Ashley Connolly, Retail Development Manager – Ashley has worked in retail for 25 years – 20 of which have been in buying and product development with retail giants like Tesco and Next. Ashley's career growth has come from being able to match products to people, with the customer being at the heart of every decision she makes. Innovative, pioneering and a keen negotiator, Ashley can spot a trend coming from a mile away.

Gareth Clingan, Operations Manager, Culzean Castle – Gareth has worked with NTS since 2009 having held positions at Crathes Castle, Brodie Castle and Culloden amongst others. Previously, Dumfries born Gareth, was Visitor Experience Manager at The Royal Yacht Britannia after working at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Stuart Maxwell, General Manager – Stuart is no stranger to Ayrshire having managed Fairfield House Hotel and The Marine Hotel, Troon and lived in Alloway for 10 years. Having spent over 25 years in hospitality he is looking to transform the visitor experience at all of the Ayrshire and Arran properties whilst also opening up opportunities for commercial businesses.

Caroline Smith, Operations Manager, Robert Burns Birthplace Museum - Caroline has worked in the Ayrshire tourism sector since 2000, taking on the role of Commercial Manager and then Property Manager at Burns National Heritage Park (now the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum). Caroline was a key part of the project team for the HLF funded Robert Burns Birthplace Museum which opened in 2010. She then spent 3 years at Culzean Castle & Country Park, during which time she completed several large capital projects including the new play area – Adventure Cove as well as several property renovations and refurbishments, increasing visitor numbers and income, paving the way for further developments such as the extension to the play area and landscape and infrastructure improvements.

Andrea Brown, Business Manager – Andrea began her career in the banking sector during which time she qualified as an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of bankers in Scotland. She then worked in finance roles in the construction and road haulage industries. She has a particular interest in working for the charity sector, and worked with the Ayrshire Hospice for 13 years, latterly as Corporate & Management Accountant, where she headed up the finance department. During this role, she completed a BSC (Honours) in Applied Accountancy and is a qualified Chartered Certified Accountant.

Tim Keyworth, Gardens and Designed Landscapes Manager – Tim started his career with National Trust for Scotland at Threave Garden where he completed his craftsman gardener award, before moving to Leith Hall to take up a permanent gardening role. At 22, he became the youngest head gardener in the Trust and led a number of important renovations. He then moved to Brodick Castle in 2014, attracted before taking up his current role.

Jenny Dall, Finance Manager (Edinburgh-based).

The National Trust for Scotland is the charity that celebrates and protects Scotland’s heritage. It relies on the support of its members and donors to carry out its important work of caring for the natural and built heritage of Scotland for everyone to enjoy.

You can join the National Trust for Scotland for as little as £7.50 per month for a family. To become a member, CLICK HERE.

You can make a difference and help protect everything in  the National Trust for Scotland’s care. Donate online CLICK HERE.

National Trust for Scotland is a Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Thursday, 13 July 2017

Scottish International Airshow excitement soars

Extensive partnership working is underway to ensure that this year’s Scottish International Airshow which takes place at the Low Green, Ayr on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 September is even bigger and better than ever before. 


In only its fourth year, the free to attend airshow has grown to become a major event with around 180,000 spectators expected over the weekend.

Organisers of the Scottish International Airshow have been working closely with main sponsor South Ayrshire Council and other key partners, including EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, to build the event into a family-friendly weekend. Not only will spectators be able to witness aerobatic displays of the highest quality, there will be some amazing ground entertainment too.

The fun fair will be back with exhilarating thrills for both young and old. There will be an array of stalls crammed with goodies and stands with all sorts of interesting information. Adding to the mix will be military vehicles and classic cars, and you could even have a go on a state-of-the-art flight simulator. All this and live entertainment will set the scene for a bumper weekend.

The Royal Marines have confirmed they will be back this year. Their exciting demonstration will feature a beach assault with a Type 23 Frigate, speeding inshore patrol craft, offshore raiding boat and a Merlin helicopter!

Breath-taking flying displays are the backbone of the Scottish International Airshow and 2017 will be no different with the return of the world famous Red Arrows, awe-inspiring Typhoon Fighter and the hotly anticipated Fighting Falcon flown by the Belgian Airforce. 

The airshow has also secured the appearance of one of the most spectacular close formation flying teams in Europe — Team Raven. They will be performing their unique brand of daredevil flying on both the Saturday and the Sunday.

Adding to the already amazing line-up will be the WWII Classic Catalina Flying Boat which wowed the crowds last year — check out http://www.tsia.scot/whats-on/  for the latest announcements or to buy tickets for family, enthusiast or VIP areas.

Councillor Douglas Campbell, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said: “A tremendous amount of work takes place behind the scenes to ensure the Scottish International Airshow is a success. Close partnership working is crucial, and I am sure these bonds will only get stronger in future years. 

“The advantage of an event of this magnitude for the local economy is clear and we are set to encourage even more people into Ayr town centre this year with a pipe band launching proceedings in the High Street and further town centre activities to be announced. Hopefully accommodation providers, retailers, restaurants and other businesses across South Ayrshire will feel the benefit. 

“The Scottish International Airshow has something for everyone, so even if flying displays are not your thing, come along and enjoy the other entertainment; there really is something for everyone.”

Doug Maclean, Director of Airshow Scotland Ltd who run the Scottish International Airshow said: “As we rapidly approach our 4th airshow based in Ayr we really feel that the support from South Ayrshire Council has been a major factor in us continuing to locate this incredible event in Ayr. We have been working since early last year on the 2017 airshow and we are well into planning for 2018 and beyond. We are keen the airshow continues to be supported by the Council,  and we look forward to sitting down very shortly to secure Ayr as the site for the Scottish International Airshow through to at least 2020.” 

Doug continued: “We raised our international ambitions last year, and are delighted to have secured the Belgian Air Force for the 2017 show. We are close to securing other international teams and believe we are approaching the point where the Scottish International Airshow will become a highly desired date on the international display calendar. The support of all of our private and public sector sponsors is vital to enable us to plan ahead and develop the airshow. We have brought tens of millions of pounds into the Scottish economy and we estimate we can raise that very considerably in a few short years.” 

Stuart Turner, Head of EventScotland, said: “We are delighted to be continuing our support of the Scottish International Airshow. Initially supported through our National Programme Fund, and now our Beacon Fund, the airshow has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2014. 

“Scotland is the perfect stage for events and the thrills of the air displays alongside the entertainment and exhibitions on the ground, will ensure a great weekend out for all the family.” 

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


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Trainers Roger Fell and Keith Dalgleish at the double at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

TRAINERS Roger Fell and Keith Dalgleish were the men in form at Ayr Racecourse’s two-day opening July meeting - each saddling a double.


[Pictured: Pouvoir Magique wins at Ayr Racecourse on Sunday.]

Fell teamed up with jockey Tony Hamilton at totepool Family Day on Sunday with Two For Two, just beaten a nose in the same race last year, winning the feature race, the Class 3 one mile handicap carrying top weight at odds of 7-1.

The Fell-Hamilton double had been initiated half an hour earlier in the Bet totetrifecta at betfred.com handicap, also over a mile, when Zodiakos, a 13-2 chance, won comfortably by a length and three quarters from the Ruth Carr trained Abushamah

And it was Dalgleish’s turn to score a double on Monday with Dark Defender and Showdaisy.

The latter landed the £15,000 Racing UK Profits Returned to Racing Handicap. Sent off at 12-1 Jason Hart gave her a positive ride making all to win the five furlong sprint by a head from Foxtrot Knight.

Keith said afterwards : “The key was her breaking well from the stalls as she was not well handicapped for her wins last season but she did it well there.”

The yard’s earlier winner came with Dark Defender, a 15-2 chance, who had won on this card last year. Given a positive ride from stable apprentice Rowan Scott the gelding had a length and a quarter to spare at the line over Kenny The Captain.

Newmarket based trainer George Scott scored with his first ever runner at the track on Monday when Another Batt (5-6 fav) won the opening six furlong novice stakes in the hands of Danny Tudhope. But an eyecatcher here was the first time out colt Stormbringer who finished third for trainer Kevin Ryan and jockey Martin Harley and should win in the near future.

There two Newmarket trained winners on Sunday when John Gosden sent the highly thought of Pouvoir Magique on the 700 mile round trip to win the opening maiden comfortably at the prohibitive odds of 1-12 in the hands of James Doyle and this colt could now go for the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes at York next month.

And David Lanigan and jockey Paul Mulrennan teamed up with Take A Turn, sent off at 11-2, to win Division Two of the Bet totequadpot At betfred.com Handicap over one mile two furlongs by a neck from Never Say.

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.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

South Ayrshire Council appoints contractor for anchor development at Ayr’s new Riverside Block

Ambitious plans to kick-start the regeneration of an historic part of Ayr town centre have now taken a major step forward. South Ayrshire Council has appointed a contractor and design team to develop new office accommodation at the Riverside Block, which will act as the first part of the site’s wider development.


[Pictured: Demolition work on High Street is progressing well.]

Morgan Sindall have been appointed as the project’s Tier 1 contractor, while architects Keppie Design, who were employed to provide the original designs for the new offices, have been appointed as design consultants.


[Pictured: The new offices will mark the start of the development of the Riverside Block.]

Ayr Renaissance submitted a masterplan for a mixed development between High Street and the River Ayr last year. This includes provision for quality office accommodation and housing, as well as for niche retail units, cafes, restaurants and public spaces. The masterplan sets out a commitment to top quality design to an overall scale that respects the surrounding conservation area.

With demolition of the existing site now well advanced, the Council is now moving ahead with its plans for a new modern office development that will eventually house around 350 workers. The final design will respond to the requirements of the masterplan and incorporate active space which can be used outside of normal office hours.


[Pictured: The High Street site before demolition work got underway.]

Councillor Peter Henderson, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Resources and Performance said it was encouraging to see the development gather momentum, “With the contractor and design team now in place we can start to bring together concrete plans to breathe new life into this landmark project.

“Work on site is already making a real difference to the local landscape with the old buildings on High Street now largely demolished, revealing the true scale of the project that will, in time, transform an historic area of Ayr’s town centre.

“The Council block is the anchor development for the wider plan, and I look forward to seeing further progress in the coming months as construction work gets underway.”

Work is expected to begin in spring 2018, following the conclusion of demolition and archaeological works.

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


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Major Scottish artist set to open first solo exhibition in South Ayrshire

One of Scotland's most successful and best loved contemporary artists is preparing to open a major new exhibition in South Ayrshire. John Lowrie Morrison (better known as JOLOMO) will bring his distinctive style to Ayr's Maclaurin Galleries in his ‘The Magical Light of the West’ exhibition, which runs from Saturday 1 July to Sunday 30 July.


[Pictured: John Lowrie Morrison in his studio.]

This exhibition will sit alongside a dynamic exhibition of new work by MESH - a collective of Scottish artists. Set up in 2011 this diverse group of ten artists came together to form a collective, providing skill and knowledge exchange, peer support and critical discussion.

In Rozelle House, tutors and students work from Ayrshire College Visual Arts courses, complete the offering at Rozelle. This is a fantastic exhibition of work by both staff and students of the HNC and HND Visual Arts courses at Ayrshire College, incorporating photography, jewellery, visual communications, art and design.

John Walker, Chair of the Maclaurin Trust looks forward to the exhibition. “We’re proud to welcome John Lowrie Morrison to the Maclaurin for this important exhibition  This is just a small taster of the wonderful work this internationally renowned artist does and we will follow it in 2018 when the Maclaurin Gallery hosts a Jolomo Retrospective, looking back at  his life and the enormous body of work he has produced.”


[Pictured: “An Oban Sunset” by artist John Lowrie Morrison.]

Councillor Brian McGinley, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism & Leisure said the event was bound to pull in the crowds, “Following on from the fantastic success of our Goudie exhibition, we’re thrilled to welcome another high profile artist to Ayr, where I’m sure there will be an enthusiastic response to the work on show.

“As an artist, JOLOMO, has personal connections to Ayrshire which he’s keen to connect to, and I’m sure people from across the west of Scotland will travel to see his exhibition first hand, along with the high impact MESH exhibition, and the work from Ayrshire College.

“We’re committed to making arts accessible to as wide an audience as possible, and the latest exhibitions at the Maclaurin Galleries and Rozelle are great examples of exciting partnerships which bring major artists to South Ayrshire.”

Commenting ahead of the exhibition, John Lowrie Morrison said, “I’ve always known about the Maclaurin and Rozelle, and I have been meaning to come and visit for years. I do know the area quite well though, and I would say that Ayrshire is part of my psyche as I came down to paint at Culzean when I was a student at Glasgow School of Art during the late 60s and early 70s. I love painting on that part of the Scottish coast, the light is quite different from that of the West Coast of Argyll.”

John Lowrie Morrison

The artist, who is better known as JOLOMO, is instantly recognisable with his work proving to be hugely popular. Born in Maryhill, Glasgow, JOLOMO‘s family roots are in the Outer Hebrides, and his childhood visits to family on both Harris and Skye gave him a love of the croft. He attended Glasgow School of Art 1967-72, studying drawing and painting, textiles and printing under the star tutors of the time, including Alexander Goudie, whose work is on permanent display at Rozelle House.

MESH

For this exhibition, MESH has explored methods of collaboration to develop new forms of research and making. Working in sub-groups for the past seven months, the members have experimented with a variety of familiar and new practice methods. The results of their collaborations include drawings, paintings, weaving, photographs, artists’ books, postcards and sculptures. Solo works by individual members of MESH are also shown in the exhibition, complementing the collaborative work. MESH are also offering a series of inspiring workshops and talks too, sharing their skills and practice with people of South Ayrshire. – Please contact Rozelle House for more details.

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


Thursday, 22 June 2017

Leading trainers head to Scottish Sun Raceday at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

ENTRIES for the feature race at Scottish Sun Raceday on Saturday (24 June) include horses from a host of leading stables.


Trainers likely to be represented on the big day include Roger Varian, Richard Fahey, Charlie Hills, Mark Johnston, David O’Meara, Hugo Palmer and Willie Haggas.

The feature race on Saturday’s card, the Scottish Sun/British Stallion Studs EBF Land O’Burns Fillies’ Stakes, a class 1 Listed Race, has attracted 18 entries including Gorane from the Henry de Bromhead stable in Ireland – a yard normally associated with jumps racing.

This three year-old was second in a Listed race at Navan in April and followed that with a fourth in the Group 3 Lackey Stakes at Naas, a race won by the brilliant Aidan O’Brien trained colt Caravaggio a horse that is unbeaten in all five starts. Gorane was beaten under seven lengths that day and that form would give him a real chance in the Land O’Burns.

Other eye-catching entries include Willie Hag gas’s Gravity Flow, second in a  Listed contest at Newmarket last October, Clive Cox’s Lady Macapa and the Richard Fahey trained pair Mayfair Lady and Queen Kindly.

Scotland’s hopes could rest with Mayleaf Shine, having his second run for Iain Jardine and formerly trained in Ireland by Joseph Murphy. This is a lightly raced filly and expect ‘Scobie’ to have her primed for a huge effort.

The main supporting race on Saturday is the £30,000 Scottish Sun On Sunday Champion Handicap for the Johnstone Rosebowl and I like the look of Roger Varian’s Morando in this.

This four year-old gelding won in a similar grade at last September’s William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival and although he will have to give weight to most of his rivals as he runs off 104 he could be very hard to beat.

 To book tickets or for more information on racing at Ayr please call 01292 264179 or go online at www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk

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, 1 June 2017

Sun shines on South Ayrshire's beach standards

Environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful, has announced that three beaches from across South Ayrshire have been recognised for the high standards provided to users - from keeping sand litter free to providing excellent information and accessible amenities.


[Pictured: Troon beach was one of three recognized.]

Signalling the start of the traditional Scottish bathing season on 1st June, with families set to flock to Scottish shorelines to make the most of the warm weather, the Scottish Beach Awards celebrate some of the best managed beaches in the country and has acted as the national benchmark for local environmental quality around Scotland's coastline for a quarter of a century.

Flags from the 2017 awards will, from next week, be flying at 60 beaches the length and breadth of Scotland, including Ayr, Maidens, and Troon.

A full regional list and breakdown of award winners can be found HERE.

Keep Scotland Beautiful chief executive Derek Robertson commented: "The Scottish Beach Awards set the standard for our stunning coastlines and inland shores - making sure that they are litter free, provide excellent facilities for families and encourage more visitors to our beautiful beaches.

"Going to the beach is a tradition that we want to continue, whilst protecting this valuable environment. It is vital that we maintain our support for organisations efforts to ensure that South Ayrshire's coastlines offer a great day out whilst recognising the wider benefits of a good quality environment for people's health and wellbeing and local economies."

Having started out as the Scottish Seaside Awards in 1993 with only two entrants, the Scottish Beach Awards have gone from strength to strength - increasing 30 fold in the past 25 years.

Mike Newall, South Ayrshire Council's Head of Neighbourhood Services said: "South Ayrshire is famous for its coast and it's great to see Ayr, Maidens, and Troon recognised with these national awards for clean, well-managed and sustainable beaches.

"The help of the public is something that makes a real difference. By taking away litter, cleaning up dog waste, and not feeding seagulls, we can all reduce waste and make it easy for people to enjoy their day by the seaside.

"We also work closely with organisations including the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to monitor the quality of bathing water and provide the public with relevant information in the summer months."

With domestic visits to seaside locations in Scotland worth over £3m per annum to the Scottish economy, the awards serve as a quality benchmark for the provision of facilities to visitors - from assessing toilet provision to the maintenance of beautiful promenades and the cleanliness of secluded bays.

Focussing on local environmental quality, the award is designed to complement the work currently undertaken by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency on bathing water quality.

A map showing all the award-winning beaches with directions, facilities and images can be found at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/beach 

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


Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Jockey Andrea Atzeni to make debut at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

JOCKEY Andrea Atzeni flies north tomorrow (Wednesday 24 May) for his debut mount at Ayr Racecourse and his only ride of the day on Nezwaah in the £50,000 Class 1 Listed Tennent’s British Stallion Studs EBF Rothesay Stakes.


[Pictured: Maleficent Queen won the race last year.]

The Roger Varian trained four year-old filly holds entries in the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh in July and is making his seasonal reappearance tomorrow in the one mile two furlong contest.

A winner of a Listed race on the all-weather course at Newcastle last June, Nezwaah finished last year running in a Grade 1 at Woodbine in Canada where finished down the field. She is the highest rated of the six runners today with her chief danger Maleficent Queen form the Keith Dalgleish yard who won the inaugural running of the race last year.

Another notable runner is Pure Art, trained by Ralph Beckett in Andover and the mount of Fran Berry.

The main supporting race on the card is the Guinness Handicap over five furlongs and Jim Goldie will run Tommy G a winner at the track earlier in the month while Keith Dalgleish saddles Dark Defender.

The opening race is the EBF Stallion Appletiser Novice Stakes at 2.20pm which has attracted a field of 11 runners including Mark Johnston’s Noble Manners, second at Beverley earlier in the month.

There are eight races on the card and gates are open at 12.20pm.

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.


Friday, 5 May 2017

South Ayrshire Council Election 2017 results

28 councillors have now been elected to serve the people of South Ayrshire following the 2017 Scottish Council Election.


[Pictured: South Ayrshire Councillors line up for 
the frst time after the 2017 results were announced.]

* The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party returned 12 Elected Members
* Scottish National Party returned 9 Elected Members
* Scottish Labour Party returned 5 Elected Members
* 2 Independent Elected Members were also returned
* b The Elected Members returned for each ward are detailed below:

WARD 1 – Troon

Peter Convery (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Bob Pollock (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Craig MacKay (Scottish National Party)
Philip Saxton (Scottish Labour Party)
Turnout: 57.2%

WARD 2 - Prestwick

Ian Cochrane (Scottish National Party)
Hugh Hunter (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Margaret Toner (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Helen Moonie (Scottish Labour Party)
Turnout: 55.1%

WARD 3 – Ayr North

Laura Brennan-Whitefield (Scottish National Party)
Ian Davis (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Ian Cavana (Scottish Labour Party)
Douglas Campbell (Scottish National Party)
Turnout: 39.6%

WARD 4 - Ayr East

Mary Kilpatrick (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Brian McGinley (Scottish Labour Party)
Chris Cullen (Scottish National Party)
Turnout: 51.5%

WARD 5 - Ayr West

Martin Dowey (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Siobhian Brown (Scottish National Party)
Lee Lyons (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Derek McCabe (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Turnout: 59.4%

WARD 6 - Kyle

Arthur Spurling (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Andy Campbell (Scottish Labour Party)
Julie Dettbarn (Scottish National Party)
Turnout: 48.7%

WARD 7 – Maybole, North Carrick & Coylton

Iain Campbell (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
William Grant (Scottish National Party)
Brian Connolly (Independent)
Turnout: 48.1%

WARD 8 - Girvan and South Carrick

Alec Clark (Independent)
Ian Fitzsimmons (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Peter Henderson (Scottish National Party)
Turnout: 52.3%

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


Thursday, 4 May 2017

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle NEXT MEETING

We are delighted to cordially invite you to attend the next (re-arranged) Elite Ayrshire Business Circle business breakfast networking event, which will take place at 8am on Thursday 18 May in the clubhouse of Dundonald Links golf course. Dundonald Links will play proud host to the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open & Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open in July.


At our meeting, European Tour commercial manager Bob Gordon will preview these events, which are an exciting coup for Ayrshire, and which will undoubtedly provide a substantial boost for the local economy.

In addition, members will be given the opportunity to give a mini- presentation of 5-10 minutes to the meeting, outlining recent successes and achievements. If you would like to showcase your company at the meeting, please e-mail murdochmacdonald@hotmail.com

Finally, our meeting will afford the usual excellent opportunity ty informally network with other top Ayrshire business people, and a complimentary buffet breakfast will be served.

Everybody attending this meeting will be given priority booking rights to the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle Annual Summer Luncheon at Turnberry in July.

In order to facilitate catering arrangements, please RSVP your reply to this invitation to: murdochmacdonald@hotmail.com

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle
Directors:
Norman Geddes (Executive Chairman)
Murdoch MacDonald (CEO)


Thursday, 27 April 2017

Vicente makes Scottish Grand National history at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

SAM Twiston-Davies and Vicente wrote their names into the record books at Ayr Racecourse last Saturday, becoming the first jockey and horse combination in 32 years to win back-to-back Coral Scottish Grand Nationals.


[Pictured: Vicente puts in a spectacular leap on his way to winning 
the 2017 Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr Racecourse.]

After falling at the first at Aintree two weeks ago, Vicente came to Ayr a fresh horse running at a track he obviously loves, and he travelled superbly throughout.

Turning into the home straight it just looked a matter of how far but up ahead Cogry, ironically trained by Sam’s father Nigel and ridden by his friend Jamie Bargary, wasn’t going down without a battle and fought all the way to the line with the winning margin only a neck.

Trainer Paul Nicholls was delighted to win the race for a second successive year and for the third time in all, and the £122,400 first prize edged him closer to Nicky Henderson in the trainers’ championship.

The closest finish over the two days came in the QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle with Chesterfield, trained by Seamus Mullins and ridden by 23 year-old conditional rider Dan Sansom wearing down the Paul Nicholls trained Zubayr by a short head.

It was a particularly strong renewal of the race with L’Ami Serge, who finished fifth and Sceau Royal (ninth) setting the standard running off a BHA mark of 155.

The Jordan Electrics Ltd Future Champion Chase was won by the Malcolm Jefferson trained, Brian Hughes ridden Cloudy Dream who came late and fast to beat Theinval by two lengths. This was an impressive performance from a horse who had been an unlucky second in the previous year’s QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle.

Another Saturday winner who caught the eye was the Nicky Henderson trained Vaniteaux and ridden by Noel Fehily who was much too good for his rivals in the Listed Scotty Brand Handicap Chase coming home five lengths clear of Romain De Senam.

The Listed Hillhouse Quarry Chase with £50,000 in prize-money attracted horses from several leading southern stables and Dan Skelton’s Two Taffs had the race in the bag a long way out under a very confident Dan Skelton ride.

Two Taffs was following up a win in a hurdle race at the meeting last year.

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.


Sunday, 9 April 2017

Grass roots restoration takes Ayr Esplanade back to its former glory

A project to reinstate badly eroded verges along Ayr Esplanade is breathing fresh life into the area. South Ayrshire Council has restored the embankment along the raised walkway, with tall grass now knitting the soil together and protecting Low Green from the unpredictable weather blowing in from the beach.


Durable Marram grass has been planted along the 
esplanade boundary to protect Low Green from the elements.

In recent years, the one mile stretch of grass verge between Pavilion Road and Blackburn Drive has been cut away by strong winds, storms, and sand being blown in from the coast, with some sections having been driven back by several feet.


The newly restored verge will help to prevent future erosion.

In the first phase of the restoration project the worst affected parts along the stretch from the play area to midway along Low Green have now been restored, with fresh earth packed in along the boundary, and with long Marram grass, commonly found in sand dunes, planted to help knit the soil together, protecting the boundary.

Mike Newall, South Ayrshire Council’s Head of Neighbourhood Services said the work would help protect the area for years to come, “Ayr beach remains a popular place in the summer months, but fierce winds and shifting sands have eroded the verge over time.

“To protect the area in the years ahead we’ve created a new boundary along the esplanade and planted durable beach grass, helping to bond the earth together.

“This sustainable method to reinstate the front also offers protection against Ayrshire’s sometimes challenging weather, and means we’ll soon see the embankment restored to its former glory.”

This is another sustainable project from South Ayrshire Council which was recently recognised for its restoration work, with the Troon Dune Restoration programme having won a number of awards in 2016, including the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee’s 'Best waste minimisation or prevention project' award.

The second phase of work will form part of the winter programme for 2017/18.

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


Thursday, 6 April 2017

South Ayrshire schoolboy makes history at Hampden Park

Lauchlan Connelly (13) from Prestwick Academy was on the pitch at Hampden for Scotland’s World Cup qualifier against Slovenia recently but he was not a mascot, or even a ballboy, Lauchlan was making history becoming the first ever person to sign the national anthem at a Scotland International football match.


It was a memorable night for Lauchlan (pictured above), who signed his way perfectly through “Flower of Scotland” despite being in front of thousands of fans and live on TV!

He said: “It was the best experience of my life so far. It was nerve-wracking but exciting too. I was scared and took a deep breath and when I looked down I saw the camera and felt like a superstar”

Lauchlan first learned sign language at primary school and although he has no problem speaking, he wanted to make sure he could communicate with other deaf people. 

Douglas Hutchison, Director of Educational Services at South Ayrshire Council said: “Congratulations to Lauchlan, it was a great experience for him and he did very well despite the nerves. We are always keen to support our young people to realise their ambitions and there should be no barriers to this. I would like to thank our hearing impairment team for their support and the SFA for arranging this special moment.” 

Lauchlan could well become Scotland’s lucky talisman! He has been asked to sign the national anthem at the next 3 home games against England, Malta and Slovakia in October.

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


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

National Excellence Accolade for Ayr Racecourse

Ayr Racecourse has been named as one of the top racing venues course in the UK in a national awards scheme, one of only 15 tracks to be awarded Racecourse Association (RCA) Excellence Awards.


[Pictured: Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown.]

And Scotland’s premier racecourse was also one of two courses to be bestowed with a “Lovely Loos” Accolade in recognition of the cleanliness and overall standard of its lavatories.

Ayr also retained its five-star VisitScotland visitor attraction status.

For the eighth year the Racecourse Association has operated its Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme, which allows every UK racecourse to be assessed and rated against other tourism attractions, in partnership with tourism bodies VisitScotland and VisitEngland .

The national tourism boards provide a rating on the racecourses as a quality day out, taking into account efficiency and friendliness of customer service, cleanliness of facilities and friendliness of customer service, cleanliness of facilities as well as speed, quality and efficiency of the racecourse operation.

Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown commented: “We are thrilled to receive this national recognition which reflects well on the team here at Ayr.

“It is encouraging to be given this award as we prepare for our busiest meeting of the year in just over three weeks’ time, the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival, with the Saturday certain to be a sell-out once more.

“It gives us renewed confidence to know our efforts are being recognised in this way.”

RCA chief executive Stephen Atkin added: “British Racecourses have demonstrated that they offer a  fun, exciting and value for money day out when compared to other attractions.”

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, 27 March 2017

Ayrshire artists rub shoulders with established names for annual showcase

Art lovers across South Ayrshire are being invited to see work from a range of diverse and inspiring artists at Arts of Rozelle in Ayr this Spring. Three exhibitions will fill Rozelle House, and the Maclaurin Galleries from Sunday 26 March.


Following on from the phenomenal response from visitors to the Alexander Goudie exhibition of ‘Tam o’ Shanter’, the spotlight is shifting to focus on the work of Glasgow artist, Frank McFadden (pictured above), a retrospective of the work of Yvonne Hawker (pictured below), and new work from the Open Studios Ayrshire.


Supported by the Council, and in partnership with the Maclaurin Trust, these three exhibitions represent the work of artists working and living in South Ayrshire, emerging new talents, while being mindful of those no longer with us.

About the artists

Open Studios Ayrshire. At Rozelle House the Galleries will be filled with the works of members of Open Studios Ayrshire. This is a non-profit organisation representing artists and makers working throughout Ayrshire. Their main annual event being ‘Open Studios’ 21st -24th April 2017, work is being exhibited from each member at the annual showcase.

Frank McFadden. In the Maclaurin Galleries, Frank McFadden, a brilliant artist and protégée of Peter Howson, puts on his first ever solo exhibition. ‘Metanoia’ explores one of Frank’s favourite expressions “there is no system or formulae for a happy fulfilling life!” His work suggests we start simple, with the truth; we are more alike than unalike.

Yvonne Hawker. Also in the Maclaurinn, this retrospective  remembers the work and life of Yvonne Hawker, who died in 2001. Yvonne was inspired by South Ayrshire and the exhibition reflects on her beautiful ethereal work, featuring examples on loan from her family, friends and patrons. The exhibition also reveals work created during her time in Hong Kong, her interest in the religious beliefs of the Cathars, and her illness and untimely death.

Additionally at Rozelle House, 19 paintings, from the phenomenally successful Goudie exhibition of Tam o’ Shanter have been selected to remain on show as part of the permanent collection. They still tell the tale to great effect, showing Goudie’s observation and skill in bringing to life the energy and pace to the well-known local story.

Jill Cronin, South Ayrshire Council’s Head of Enterprise, Development and Leisure said the event provided a great platform for talent old and new, “We’re committed to supporting the arts in South Ayrshire and this year’s programme is testament to some of the inspiring events we have on offer.

“With artists such as Frank McFadden, exhibiting alongside Open Studios Ayrshire, this benefits our own local artists, who will be given a great opportunity to learn from established talent.

“Coming hot on the heels of the runaway success of our Alexander Goudie Tam o’ Shanter exhibition, we’re confident this latest addition to the cultural calendar will prove to be a big hit in the coming weeks.”

The Open Studios Ayrshire showcase will be followed up by the Open Studios Ayrshire’s much anticipated Weekend Event which takes place between 21-24 April this year. Artists and makers throughout Ayrshire will open the doors to their studios or shared venues to share their practice and work with the public. Four Artists – Sandra Ratcliffe, Christine Logan, John Atkins and Jim Gourlay - will be working in Rozelle House over that weekend.

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


Thursday, 23 March 2017

Trainers’ championship showdown at Coral Scottish Grand National Festival

By: Iain Ferguson

SCOTLAND’S biggest and richest race meeting the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival will, for the second year running, feature a ‘showdown’ for the British jumps trainers’ championship.

But this year it is Nicky Henderson, currently £150,000 ahead, who is challenging champion Paul Nicholls and not Willie Mullins who ran the champ so close last year.


[Pictured: Trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Sam Twiston-Davies celebrate last year’s Coral Scottish Grand National win when Vicente triumphed.]

In fact Nicholls virtually clinched the title in 2016 by winning the Coral Scottish Grand National with Vicente, and is targeting the £122,000 first prize this year with Arpege D’Alene - fourth in the JT McNamara National Hunt Challenge Cup at Cheltenham last week.

Like Vicente, a seven year-old, Arpege D’Alene is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, and the Ayr race has long been his target.

The Coral Scottish Grand National is the second richest race behind the Grand National, still to be run for this season, so will play a pivotal part in the trainers’ race.

Both Nicholls and Henderson are likely to have runners in the four Class 1 contests at the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival, which include the QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle which carries a winners’ prize of almost £60,000.

Scotland’s richest race meeting takes place on Friday 21 April and Saturday 22 April and tickets are selling fast.

The Saturday card has sold out in advance for the last two years and will undoubtedly do so again this year. For more information and to book tickets go online at www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk or call 01292 264179.

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.


South Ayrshire Council flies flags at half-mast

Flags at South Ayrshire Council’s headquarters – County Buildings in Ayr – are flying at half-mast today (23 March) to commemorate the terrorist attack in London yesterday and to honour the injured and those who lost their lives.


South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie said: “Yesterday’s events in London were a senseless and unwarranted attack on the freedom, democracy and values that we hold dear within the United Kingdom.

“The thoughts and prayers of the people of South Ayrshire are with all those affected, especially those who lost their loved ones.

“It’s shocking that lives could be taken so cruelly as people went about their daily business or – in the case of PC Palmer – doing the job he loved to keep others safe.

“We must stand tall in the face of such attacks and show that we are united and will not allow our values, freedom and humanity to be undermined.”

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


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Jockey Brian Hughes and trainer Nick Alexander on fine form at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

BRIAN Hughes rode five winners while trainer Nick Alexander saddled four horses to win over Ayr’s two-day March meeting recently.

Hughes bagged a treble at Tennent’s Raceday on Saturday to add to his brace on Friday.


His Saturday successes came on Desert Cry, a horse co-owned by Sunderland boss Davie Moyes, in the Craigie Cup, Lochnell (pictured above) in the mares’ handicap hurdle over two miles five furlongs and Calix Delafayette in the national hunt flat race.

On Friday Brian rode Marlee Massie and Gold Opera to victories for Nick Alexander who also won with Another Mattie on Friday and The Bishop on Saturday.

Borders trainer Stuart Coltherd recorded a double success on Friday with Hurricane Rita winning the two mile four and a half furlong handicap hurdle followed by Surprise Vendor in the two mile hurdle. Both horses were ridden by Stuart’s son Sam.

And Lucinda Russell was on target with Vertigo, evens favourite, ridden by Alexander Thorne, an impressive winner of the two mile five furlong maiden hurdle on Friday while she saddled Imjoeking to win on Saturday.

Ayr’s next meeting is the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival on Friday 21 April and Saturday 22 April. For more information and to book tickets call 01292 264179 or go online at www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk

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.


Sunday, 19 March 2017

Star Wars, Elephants and Fingal's Cave! 'Fantastic' schools orchestra concert

Budding musicians from South Ayrshire schools came together to perform at a sell-out concert last month.

The South Ayrshire Schools Orchestra Concert takes place every year and gives talented youngsters the chance to play in front of a capacity audience at Ayr Town Hall.

Around 250 young musicians amazed the crowd with their talents as they played everything from feature film music to other classical favourites.


The South Ayrshire Schools Strings Orchestra was first on stage; they played a rendition of The Final Countdown which was a hit for Europe back in 1986. The orchestra which features 120 musicians (P4 – P7) from primary schools across South Ayrshire then followed this up with the impressive New World Symphony by Dvorak.

The next performance was from the South Ayrshire Schools Symphony Orchestra which is made up of 80 pupils (S1 – S6) from a number of our secondary schools. Conducted by Elaine Rietveld, the orchestra played the enchanting Baby Elephant Walk and then delighted the audience with some Star Wars favourites.

Last to perform was the South Ayrshire Chamber Orchestra which features some of our best young musicians. They did not disappoint as they played the superb Mendelssohn’s Concert Overture ‘Hebrides’ also known as Fingal's Cave. 

Soloists Matthew Terras (S6 – Prestwick Academy) and Sean Morrison (S6 – Queen Margaret Academy) then enthralled the audience with the Concerto for violin and cello in A minor by Brahms. They played faultlessly and it’s no surprise that Sean has been selected to lead the West of Scotland Schools Orchestra later this year.

The Chamber Orchestra’s performance was rounded off with a foot tapping tune from Tchaikovsky and the enthusiastic audience clapped along as the gifted musicians played their hearts out.

There was a surprise for three of the performers on the night.

Naomi Priestnall P7 from Glenburn Primary), Mitchell Lamont S5 from Belmont Academy and Sean Morrison from Queen Margaret Academy, received a special tutors’ award in recognition of their commitment and dedication to their respective orchestras.

The evening was a great success with all the proceeds just over £370 going to the Ayrshire Hospice.

Parent, Joan Brockie said: “Fantastic concert. Thank you to everyone involved.”

Another parent, Jillian Plunkett commented: “Amazing – I was blown away by how great they sounded. Fantastic experience”

Douglas Hutchison, Director of Educational Services at South AAyrshire Council said: “I know the young people taking part had been practising for many weeks and this certainly paid off as their performances were first class. 

“Last year over 1,200 children and young people from our primary and secondary schools received musical instruction. These concerts are a tribute to our outstanding instrumental music service and a great way of inspiring our young people to even greater heights as well as building confidence at the same time.”

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