The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 7 October 2017

South Ayrshire Councillors agree way forward and renewed people focus

South Ayrshire Councillors have agreed the strategic objectives that will be used to create a new Council Plan, and establish a clear and ambitious direction future for the Council over the next five years.


[Pictured: Councillor Douglas Campbell, 
Leader of South Ayrshire Council.]

The objectives – agreed at a meeting of South Ayrshire Council – are designed to make a difference for people and communities and provide a focus for how Council services will be delivered, based on the needs of individual people.

The ambitious objectives include taking direct and sustained actions that reduce poverty and disadvantage, creating a better health and care system to suit local people’s needs, making the most of the local economy, and increasing the profile and reputation of the Council and South Ayrshire.

Councillor Douglas Campbell, Leader of the Council, said the agreed objectives will ensure the Council makes a difference where its services are needed most – particularly in relation to supporting young people and the most vulnerable in our communities.

He added: “Our next Council Plan needs to ensure that we’re focused, fit for purpose and a force to be reckoned with in making a positive difference in people’s lives.

“To ensure we achieve this, we need to take a look at why we do what we do – not just how we do it – so that we genuinely transform services and make a positive impact where it’s needed most. Regardless of what service we are talking about, our most important job is looking after people and that’s what we need to focus on – helping people, but in a different way.

“While these are high-level objectives at this stage, they provide a definitive road-map for where we want to go. For example, in taking action to reduce poverty and disadvantage, we want to close the poverty attainment gap by 2030 and adopt the use of schools as real community hubs that aren’t just a place for learning, but provide partnership-based community services that support children and families in need.

“We also want to invest in infrastructure and make a long-lasting impact on our towns and villages, dealing with some of the long-standing issues they have raised over a number of years. This will help ensure our towns are vibrant and inviting centres that offer a variety of retail, leisure and visitor opportunities and are supported by strong and viable villages.

“However, it’s not just about what we will do – it’s also about what our communities can do to help and support themselves and a big part of our job is helping them to realise that.

“The backbone of all of this will be a strong and productive workforce, working day in and day out to deliver quality services that really do make life better, and I look forward to seeing all of this come together in the new Council Plan.”

At the meeting, Councillors also reviewed the Council’s performance in 2016/17 towards achieving the strategic objectives and outcomes within the current Council Plan.

Highlights included an increase in visitor spend; a positive trend in exam results; more adults and older people receiving intensive care at home; an increase in the number of people using the Council’s pools and indoor sports facilities; positive trends in the percentage of roads requiring maintenance treatment and street cleanliness; and improvements in the condition of the Council’s operational buildings and staff absence.

Areas for improvement included supporting children and young people living in areas of relatively high deprivation to do as well as those in more affluent areas; increasing the percentage of unpaid carers feeling supported to continue in their caring role; ensuring adults have the opportunity to influence decisions affecting their local area; increasing household waste recycling; and improving the Council’s buildings and ICT infrastructure and systems.

Councillor Campbell concluded: “This latest performance report shows that significant progress continues to be made across the Council; however, we are very clear about where we need to do more and where we need to do better – and that will very much be the focus of our next Council Plan, which is a life-changing opportunity to better shape how our Council works for our people and communities for years to come.”

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



Thursday, 5 October 2017

Community focus as Deputy First Minister and Lord Lieutenant open the new Ayr Academy

Communities have given their seal of approval to the new Ayr Academy. South Ayrshire Council hosted the building’s official opening on Monday 2 October, with young people and parents among the 180 guests on the night.


The building was officially opened by John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, and John Duncan, Lord Lord-Lieutenant of Ayrshire and Arran, in what was one of his final public appearances before retiring.


Construction of the £25million school began at Ayr's Craigie Estate in January 2016. With a history dating back to 1233, the last incarnation was built in 1880 and closed earlier this year. Its eye-catching replacement has space for up to 1,000 pupils, and features two learning plazas, a multi-use hall, two gyms, fitness/movement room, and sports pitches.

The project is part of a £94million pipeline of works being delivered across South Ayrshire in the next year, with the aim of enhancing standards through targeted investment.


[Pictured left to right: Council leader, Douglas Campbell tours the 
new building with Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, and 
Executive Headteacher, Lyndsay McRoberts.]

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, said, “At the outset of our £1.8bn Schools for the Future programme in 2009, we originally aimed to build or refurbish 55 schools across Scotland – we have now more than doubled that commitment and it is fantastic to see so many of these wonderful buildings, like this one here in Ayr, now coming into use.

“More widely, since 2007 we have completed 651 school building projects, which is almost double the amount completed over the preceding eight years.

“This is part of our aim to provide our children and young people with inspiring environments which enable all of them to engage with their learning and, which in turn, help to raise attainment. It is great to hear the positive reaction of staff and pupils at Ayr Academy to their new school and I wish them all the best for the future.”

John Duncan, Lord Lord-Lieutenant of Ayrshire and Arran said, “This magnificent new campus, with its outstanding cutting-edge facilities, will hugely facilitate attainment across the board.

“It will afford both staff and students immense opportunity as they take the ancient name of Ayr Academy into the future, building on the long legacy that name carries. They will shape its future and it will shape their lives.”

The school was built by Kier Construction and delivered by South Ayrshire Council in partnership with SWHub.

Councillor William Grant, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Lifelong Learning said the event was a unique opportunity to showcase the building, “This fantastic new building has been warmly welcomed by the community, with many of them invited as special guests to celebrate the start of a new era.

“You can see that young people have been energised by their new surroundings, with staff now looking to deliver a step-change in the way lessons are delivered.

“The official opening was a great night with a lot of pride on display as pupils performed for the invited guests. And as the fanfare subsides, teachers are now focusing on the important task of enhancing education standards and delivering better results for the community.”

Lyndsay McRoberts, Executive Headteacher at Ayr Academy said, “It’s taken a lot of hard work to get the building up and running, but we’re already seeing a change in the way our young people respond.

“With a custom made building we are now able to deliver lessons in a modern environment, open up the way we learn in sessions from our break-out learning plazas, and importantly improve access to sports and physical activity.

“Taken as a whole we now have the building blocks in place to engage with young people much better than we could in the old building, which is something that we’ll use to help drive higher attainment in the years ahead.”

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


Thursday, 14 September 2017

An evening with Chris Eubank

By: Iain Ferguson

BOXING legend Chris Eubank is making a very special appearance at Ayr Racecourse on 24 November for “An Evening With Chris Eubank”.


A world champion for more than five years and undefeated in his first ten years as a professional, Chris remained undefeated at middleweight.

He held the WBO middleweight and super-middleweight titles, scoring victories over six world champions.

One of the most recognisable celebrities of the 1990s Chris had many high profile fights against the likes of Steve Collins, Joe Calzaghe and Nigel Benn. He fought 52 times, winning 45, 23 by knockout.

His visit to Ayr will see fans treated to two 45 minute presentations in the Ayrshire Suite at the Racecourse with Chris thrilling the audience with many tales from his illustrious career in the ring.

There are three packages – silver, gold and platinum - available on the evening with the platinum, which has limited availability, including a photo opportunity with Chris and a VIP drinks reception with the superstar. For more information or 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, 10 September 2017

Smiles and sighs of relief as Red Arrows close fantastic Scottish International Airshow 2017

It was smiles all round as 80,000 people came along to the first-ever two-day flying display at the Scottish International Airshow in Ayr on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 September.


15,000 people braved the wind and the rain on Sunday to come to the Low Green and the surrounding area, after 65,000 people soaked up the sun on the Saturday; however, the crowds were treated to tantalising displays on both days.

Tens of thousands more enjoyed the show right along the South Ayrshire coastline and beyond.

Displays included an exclusive – and breathtaking – appearance by the RAF’s Red Arrows on Sunday after the world-famous display team had to pull out of the Airshow in Portrush due to the weather and the Bournemouth Air Festival was cancelled for the same reason.

The Red Arrows undoubtedly stole the show on Sunday, but weekend crowds enjoyed some amazing first-time displays from the Belgian Air Force’s F16 fighter jet as well as a spectacular ‘50s wartime display’ between a MiG and two US Mustangs.

The hugely popular RAF Typhoon also made sure to #BringTheNoise2017 and had lots of younger spectators covering their ears with its sound-barrier breaking display!

The Low Green in Ayr was packed with people enjoying not only the some of the best flying around, but a massive funfair, stalls selling an array of goodies, vintage car display, armed forces village and a state-of-the-art flight simulator.

The stunning Kelpie Maquettes also caused quite a stir, and proved a huge ‘selfie’ hit. The 3m high models were created to help to promote Scotland as a visitor destination and there was no better place to be than Ayr as tens of thousands of people from all over the world flocked to the prestigious event.

Councillor Douglas Campbell, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said: “As main sponsor and funding partner for the Airshow, it was great to see so many people coming along and getting the chance to experience all that South Ayrshire has to offer.

“We are very proud to be a venue for a number of world-class events such as the Scottish International Airshow and The Open Golf Championship, and I have no doubt visitors to the Airshow will have been impressed by our scenery, our coastline, our history and our heritage and come back for more.

“Over the last three years, the Airshow has generated around £17 million for the local economy, and we hope to see a significant boost from this year’s event for our accommodation providers, retailers, restaurants and other businesses across South Ayrshire.

“We also hope the event, especially the exciting FutureZone, inspired those interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects to become tomorrow’s pilots, engineers and scientists.

“All in all, it was a terrific event and we were proud to be a part of it.”

The Airshow was also supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Stuart Turner, Head of EventScotland, said: “The Scottish International Airshow has once again proven to be a successful event, attracting impressive crowds eager to catch a glimpse of the stunning aerial action. Scotland is the perfect stage for events and this spectacular show will no doubt deliver strong benefits for the area.”

Doug Maclean, a Director of the Scottish International Airshow, added: “What another fantastic event. We estimate we had record-breaking crowds of around 110,000 watching the Airshow from across south-west Scotland on Saturday,

“The Airshow pilots said it was an amazing and astonishing sight to see from the air and a joy to take part. The crowd, especially with the poorer weather on Sunday, were delightful, patient and – as always – full of admiration for the pilots.

“We thank everyone for their support and planning is already underway for 2018.”  

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


Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Record prize money for William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

THE 2017 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival at Ayr Racecourse from Thursday 21 September to Saturday 23 September carries a record amount of prize money with £715,500 up for grabs.


[Pictured: Brando, trained by Kevin Ryan and ridden by 
Tom Eaves, wins last year’s Ayr Gold Cup at Ayr Racecourse.]

The £200,000 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup run on the Saturday has attracted a stellar entry of leading sprinters with a maximum field of 25 runners expected to go to post.

Among those likely to contest the race are Saturday’s Goodwood winner Johnny Barnes, trained by John Gosden, who is currently 14-1 clear second favourite with William Hill with Charlie Hills’s Shanghai Glory, third in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon earlier in the month, the favourite at 12-1.

A new Class 1 Listed race, The Al Maktoum Cup Arran Scottish Fillies’ Sprint Stakes (Listed Race) over five and a half furlongs for three year olds and upwards will be run on William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival Ladies Day on Friday 22 September – the middle day of the three day meeting.

Other Friday highlights include the Shadwell Studs/EBF Stallions Harry Rosebery Stakes, a Class 1 Listed Race and the William Hill Ayr Bronze Cup.

The £65,000 William Hill Doonside Cup, another Class 1 Listed contest, run over one mile two furlongs is the feature race on Thursday while Scotland’s only Group race – the Group 3 Firth Of Clyde Stakes is run on Saturday along with the William Hill Ayr Silver Cup.

All the leading trainers including John Gosden, Willie Haggas, Saeed bin Suroor, Richard Fahey and Roger Varian are likely to have runners and many of the country’s top jockeys will be in action over the three days. Tickets are selling fast and for more information go online at www.ayrgoldcup.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.


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Smallholdings and equestrian properties lead the Ayrshire market

The Ayrshire property market is holding steady and is experiencing an increase in the supply of high quality housing coming to the market, according to figures compiled by Scotland’s leading independent property consultancy, Galbraith.

During the second quarter, ending 30 June 2017, the Ayr office recorded an increase of 58% in properties coming on the market, compared with the previous quarter. There was also an increase of 30% compared with the same quarter in 2016.


Bob Cherry (pictured above), a partner with Galbraith, said: “We have been pleased to see an increase in instructions and buyers are relatively confident, particularly for properties priced between £250,000 and £400,000. Country houses with nice views, land or equestrian facilities are particularly desirable. Smallholdings with up to 30 acres of land are also sought-after and any which come on the market will often sell very quickly. Recently, we sold Lochingerroch Farm at its closing date for 27% above the asking price, with eight buyers competing to obtain the farm. Galbraith is a national firm with eleven regional offices and we are in a good position for those looking for maximum exposure when bringing a property to the market.”

Bob Cherry continued: “We have noticed an increase in buyers in Ayrshire coming from England, which may be due in part to the price differential between property in England and Scotland. For those who have just sold a property in Yorkshire, for example, they have often built up equity and this means property in Ayrshire may be relatively affordable for English buyers.

Across Scotland as a whole Galbraith has seen a healthy 10% increase in sales for the quarter ending 30 June 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. The firm handled over £42 million worth of property sales over the past quarter alone.


Currently on the market with Galbraith in Ayrshire are properties including Drumfork Farm (pictured above), a productive commercial dairy farm in good order in an accessible location, with a three-bedroom farmhouse and a range of modern and traditional farm buildings. Offers over £1 million.

About Galbraith

Galbraith is an independent property consultancy employing 236 staff in offices across Scotland including Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth, Cupar, Inverness, Castle Douglas, Ayr, Elgin, Galashiels, Kelso, and Aberdeen, offering local knowledge, national expertise and enjoying international reach.

The firm is Scotland’s largest and leading rural consultancy managing and providing advice on farm, forestry, land and estate interests on over three million acres.  Galbraith provides the full range of property consulting services across the residential, commercial, rural and renewable energy sectors throughout Scotland and northern England.

To find out more about Galbraith visit www.galbraithgroup.com


Saturday, 26 August 2017

Start of a new era as the ‘amazing’ Ayr Academy opens for classes

Education for young people at South Ayrshire’s oldest school has been transformed following the relocation of Ayr Academy. South Ayrshire Council has now welcomed the first generation of young people to the new building, which fully opened on Monday 21 August.


[Pictured at the official opening, left to right: Cllr Iain Campbell, Cllr Laura Brennan-Whitefield, Executive Headteacher, Lyndsay McRoberts, Head Girl, Maia Wilson, Council Leader, Douglas Campbell, Director of Educational Services, Douglas Hutchison, Head Boy, Mathew Field, Cllr Ian Davis, Portfolio Holder for Lifelong Learning, William Grant, Head of Property and Risk, Donald Gillies, Cllr Ian Cavana, Cllr Martin Dowey.]

Construction of the £25million school began at Ayr's Craigie Estate in January 2016. With a history dating back to 1233, the last incarnation was built in 1880 and closed earlier this year. Its eye-catching replacement has space for up to 1,000 pupils, and also features two learning plazas, a multi-use hall, two gyms and a fitness/movement room, and sports pitches.

The school was built by Kier Construction and delivered by South Ayrshire Council in partnership with SWHub.

Councillor William Grant, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Lifelong Learning, said, "Looking around you can see that young people and staff are already making the most of an amazing new building that will transform education for generations of families.

“Based in the Craigie Campus, the new school will forge close links with the University of the West of Scotland and Ayrshire College, with young people being coached and encouraged to go on to positive destinations when they leave.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in helping to deliver this project on time and on budget, and wish all the young people, families, and staff the best of luck as we move into an exciting new era for this evolving educational success story.”

The intention is that the school will also become a hub for the local community.  It is much more than a school and will be a great venue for sporting activities, community meetings and other activities. The development is intended as an investment in North Ayr as a community and not only an investment in education.

Lyndsay McRoberts, Executive Headteacher at Ayr Academy said she was sure the new school provided an inspiring learning environment, “While we were sorry to leave our old home, the new building delivers a step change in the way we teach, a factor that will leave a long and lasting impact on the lives of young people.

“This stylish and flexible building allows us to continue doing what we did best before, while also leaving room to deliver classes in ways that just weren’t possible before.

“Better laid out, and using the latest technology, this fabulous new resource still has plenty of space to evolve as our school grows in the years ahead.”

Head Girl, Maia Wilson (16) said she loved the new building, “It’s a huge change from the old building and a fantastic place to come to school.”

Head Boy, Mathew Field (16) said they were still getting used to their new surroundings, “I think it will be a few weeks before we really get into our routine but it’s great to be here.”

The project is part of a £94million pipeline of works being delivered across South Ayrshire in the next year, with the aim of enhancing standards through targeted investment.

Michael McBrearty, Chief Executive of hub South West, said, “Ayr Academy Campus is a wonderful state-of-the-art facility that I’m sure all students and teachers will enjoy.

“It is the latest project we’ve delivered on behalf of South Ayrshire Council in the past twelve months and is great tribute to partnership working that we can now celebrate the finished result. The new campus will be a great asset.”

Brian McQuade, Managing Director of Kier Construction’s Scotland and North-East England business, said, “We’re pleased to have delivered this leading, modern Academy with fantastic new sports facilities for students and the wider community to enjoy, building on our track record of delivering quality schools throughout Scotland.

“Through hub South West, we have worked with local suppliers and SME’s to ensure that the project boosts the local economy of Ayr and the surrounding area, including training and employment opportunities. During the construction of Ayr Academy we’ve created 17 work placements, 16 apprenticeships and two graduated traineeships, giving local young people valuable experience of working in this thriving and rewarding industry.”

A set of 12 images from the official opening of the new Ayr Academy is available on the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle’s Flickr website CLICK HERE.

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of 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 CafĂ©.

“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.