Feb 202017
 

With thanks to John Morrison, Marketing & Communications Manager, Peacock Visual Arts.

Peacock Visual Arts are delighted to present Geologic Intimacy (Yu no Hana) by Ilana Halperin.

Following the first showing of this work at Fujiya Gallery Hanayamomo in Kyushu, Japan, Geologic Intimacy (Yu no Hana) will extend to include a new series of prints commissioned by Peacock.

This project marks the first time Halperin has exhibited in Japan and Aberdeen and continues a historical narrative between Kyushu and Aberdeen which began with the 19th Century ‘Scottish Samurai’ merchant Thomas Blake Glover.

For 20 years, Ilana Halperin dreamt about Beppu. In 1995, back in the urban geology of New York City, she found a book on the street about volcanoes.

A chapter on Beppu featured – with photographs of children cooking eggs on the streets, steam coming through every crack in the sidewalk, and a pool as red as blood. In New York, steam vents erupted at every corner, but these were industrial rather than natural.

She imagined a correlation between her home city and Beppu, a place with steaming vents and boiling springs, where daily life was lived and informed by a direct relationship with geothermal phenomena.

In 2014, Halperin went to Beppu for the first time on a research residency with BEPPU PROJECT. Geologic Intimacy (Yu no Hana) grew out of this time. Beppu is the second most geothermally active site on earth, after Yellowstone, USA. It is a primary location for the potential of geothermal power in Japan. Over the course of a year, new geothermal sculptures slowly formed in the Kannawa hot springs of Beppu.

In September 2016, Halperin returned to Beppu to take the new sculptures out of the water and install a solo exhibition at Fujiya Gallery Hanayamomo, a beautiful listed Meiji Era building. The exhibition coincided with the blossoming of the venue’s 200-year-old Mokusei tree, reflecting philosophical approaches within Halperin’s practice – thinking in time scales longer than the human lifespan.

The exhibition at Peacock Visual Arts will feature new Japanese sculptures, alongside a geothermal sculpture formed in Iceland and new works on paper commissioned by Peacock.

To employ experimental processes, field work, and traditional print-based methods, Halperin is developing a new series of work with Peacock’s Master Printmaker, Michael Waight, utilising Yame Washi paper – the oldest Japanese handmade paper in Kyushu which can last 1,000 years – in combination with hot spring minerals she collected in Beppu.

To pair with the ‘field pigments’ from Japan, Halperin visited Dr Allan Lilly, Principal Soil Scientist at The James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen in January 2017, who introduced her to the National Soils Archive founded in 1934.

A selection of Scottish soil was generously donated to the project, including soil sourced from Slighhouses Farm where James Hutton, the ‘Father of Modern Geology’, farmed and began to formulate radical ideas about the age of the earth and deep geologic time. The nature of materials within these new works reflects the unique processes which formed the geothermal sculptures in Beppu, continuing the narrative of exchange between places intrinsic to this project.

Halperin and Mabon are working with the Glasgow based design studio Graphical House on a limited edition Artist Book that will mark the completion of the project, acting as a printed matter response to this ambitious and culturally diverse project. For more details on the publication visit the project website geologic-intimacy-yu-no-hana.tumblr.com.

Artist’s website: www.geologicnotes.wordpress.com

Ilana Halperin // Geologic Intimacy (Yu no Hana)
A new geothermal art/science project curated by Naoko Mabon (Aberdeen, Scotland and Beppu, Kyushu, Japan).

Opening: Thursday 30th March, 6-8pm. All welcome!
Exhibition runs:
31st March – 29th April 2017
Location:
Peacock Visual Arts

Curator’s tour: 22nd April 2017, 3pm

Artist’s Talk: Saturday 1st April 2017, 3.00-4.30pm
Ilana Halperin will be in conversation with Professor Tim Ingold from the Anthropology Department of the University of Aberdeen and Peacock Visual Arts’ Director Nuno Sacramento about her exhibition. This is a free event but space is limited so please book by clicking the blue button on the link below and filling out the booking form:

Ilana Halperin // Geologic Intimacy (Yu no Hana)

Image: Courtesy of the artist, Patricia Fleming Projects and WAGON

Photography: Sachiyo Ando

Feb 102017
 

With thanks to Andrew Linklater, Director of Buckny Hydro

The new regime of business rates in Scotland has marked out hydropower for “special punishment”, threatening to end independent development of schemes north of the border, Scottish industry representatives at Alba Energy have warned.

Small hydro-businesses now face an increase in rates of up to 650%, with bills on some sites rising to as much as a quarter of their total turnover.
With some operators facing insolvency, others have been left to calculate the cost of a future in which renewable energy ceases to be financially sustainable.

An average hydro scheme such as the 500kW Buckny Hydro in Perthshire has seen its draft valuation rise from £32,000 to £93,000, a sum that represents 29% of its overall turnover.

The worst hit schemes have seen increases up to seven times their original value, with rateable valuations of up to 50% of turnover. The 1.9MW Ederline scheme on the banks of Loch Awe had a previous valuation of £98,000, now revised upwards to £405,000.

Many in the hydro industry fear that the Scottish Government has abandoned its green agenda. In 2015, while attacking the UK Government for removing subsidies for renewable energy, SNP ministers removed their own system of support. Alba Energy, representing hydro operators in Scotland, accepted the loss of rates relief and argued that the industry should pay its fair share, in line with other businesses.

What Alba says it cannot accept, however, is the “sudden, exponential increase” in valuations now being applied to hydro by assessors – out of all proportion to the economic realities of these sites. While many businesses in Scotland have suffered relative increases, hydro operators are preparing for bills to double, treble, or quadruple.

Martin Foster, Chairman of Alba Energy, said:

“We are not seeking special treatment. We want to know why we have been singled out for special punishment. Hydro is the original renewable energy source: the cleanest, most efficient, least obtrusive and longest-lasting. Yet the Scottish Government has facilitated a rates regime that will cripple the independent hydro industry it once claimed to support – while leaving the big energy companies unaffected.”

Alex Linklater, director of Buckny Hydro, said:

“The new rates regime contradicts the Scottish Government’s own energy strategy. Hydropower is not merely crucial to this strategy; it has brought significant growth to some of our remotest rural communities. As independent operators find themselves threatened with punitive levels of  taxation, we are seeking Government support, until a longer term solution is agreed.

“All Alba is asking for is an equitable model of valuation, one that will allow our industry to remain financially viable, while paying its fair share of rates.”

Scottish Assessors responsible for the revaluation have refused to publish a clear account of the method they are using to calculate the new valuations for hydro. Alba is calling on the SNP Government to rectify an indefensible lack of transparency in the light of “extreme perversities” resulting from the assessors’ system.

Alba will be assisting members to pursue formal appeals against valuations for hydros which have been hit by “off the scale” increases. But Government attempts to deflect criticism onto the appeals system, administered by the independent assessors and funded by local authorities, are being met with skepticism.

An appeal against the Tayside Valuation Board, brought in 2012 (which argued that the assessor had, even then, applied a flawed approach to small hydro) is still awaiting a second determination by the Tayside Appeals Committee – after nearly five years.

For further information contact Martin Foster at Alba Energy, pelton242@icloud.com, 07500 902531, or Alex Linklater, alexlinklater@mac.com, 07956 303 580

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Feb 072017
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR

Four Scottish youngsters with special needs have received play equipment that will help them build their independence and get out and about in their own communities to socialise and play.
Aberdeen Asset Management granted more than £3,900 to purchase two trikes, a standing frame and a walking frame for youngsters living in the Edinburgh and Aberdeen areas.

The global financial management firm responded to an appeal from Handicapped Children’s Action Group to fund the apparatus, which is not available on the NHS, and at purchase costs averaging £1,000 per  item, is usually cost prohibitive for families to purchase.

The charity receives over 800 referrals a year from health professionals, but only has the funding to help around 180-190 of these cases.

The charity  would love to be able to help every single applicant but with no government funding the charity is dependent on fundraising and the support of organisations like Aberdeen Asset Management to help it provide the much-needed equipment.

Carole Davies from Handicapped Children’s Action Group said:

“A trike gives independence and mobility to a child who has had to rely on an adult for every movement; a walking frame gives a child the ability to get up and walk freely without assistance while a buggy enables a family to take their child into the community without fear of safety issues. Play frames enable a child with autism to play safely and explore in a controlled environment.

“All equipment brings fun, movement, mobility and integration to children all over the country and without the help of people like Aberdeen Asset Management we would be unable to achieve this.”

More than £3,900 was spent on the purchase of two trikes, a standing frame and a walking frame for three children in Edinburgh and one in Aberdeen.

Handicapped Children’s Action Group is a registered charity based in Lincolnshire which assists children and families across the UK. When it started in 1988 it helped about a dozen families a year, but now it helps well over 100 with the purchase of equipment varying in price from £500 to £2,500 per item. Requests come from physiotherapists who recommend that the equipment will help the youngster with day to day living. All the items funded by Aberdeen Asset Management were delivered to families just in time for Christmas.

Euan MacNeish of Aberdeen Asset Management’s Edinburgh charity committee said:

“Equipment provided by Handicapped Children’s Action Group will help give children with special needs the independence and mobility they deserve. Through the support of Aberdeen’s Charitable Committee we hope we are able to give these  children the ability to join in with the activities of children their own age and no longer watch from the side-lines. We are proud to support the local communities in which we operate in this way.”

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Feb 072017
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

A charity ball will be held this spring in memory of a devoted mum and teacher. Caroline Thomson (pictured), of Portlethen, died last year, after courageously battling cancer for 18 months. She was just 38.

So far her loved ones have already raised nearly £25,000 for CLAN Cancer Support and Brain Tumour Action, and are now determined to add more to the tally with a party that coincides with her 40th birthday weekend.

The Ruby Ball will be held at Pittodrie in Aberdeen on March 3.

Guests will be treated to a drinks reception on arrival, a three-course meal and a disco. There will also be an auction – with prizes ranging from tickets to see comedian John Bishop at the O2 in London to a Manchester United shirt signed by star player Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Local businesses have also kindly donated prizes for the raffle, with treats from the Nicole Porter Gallery and Blueberry Moon in Aberdeen; the Beauty Boutique in Portlethen; and Trump International Golf Links Scotland at Balmedie among those up for grabs.

Caroline’s sister Shona Gossip, from Ellon, who is organising the ball, is urging people to snap up a ticket.

The 30-year-old said:

“Although this is a chance for my family to toast Caroline’s birthday, this is a party for everyone – not just those who knew her. It’s all about raising as much as we can for CLAN and Brain Tumour Action.

“Caroline was devoted to her family – husband David, and sons Callum and Robbie – and her role as head teacher at Cornhill Primary in Aberdeen, but loved to be with her friends too and having fun.

“We’ve all got some great memories of her hen night – when she and her friends dressed as the Village People – and her 30th birthday, which was 80s-themed. I hope we can make some more memories while remembering her in March, while raising money for two great causes.

“The idea for the Ruby Ball just came to me one day on the drive to work as I passed the turn-off for her school and the hospital. Caroline had a love for all things red, and had pretty distinctive red streaks through her hair for years. Combined with it being her 40th this year, it all just fell into place.

“Caroline was really philosophical throughout her illness, and just used to say ‘it is what it is’ but she used to worry about being forgotten. Through the Ruby Ball, and the amazing fundraising efforts of others, we won’t let that happen.”

Mrs Thomson was first diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2014, and underwent gruelling chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a mastectomy.

Sadly the cancer returned in summer 2015, with a scan showing a mass on her brain. Despite surgery and more radiotherapy, doctors broke the news the tumour was inoperable.

Mrs Thomson threw everything into making it to Christmas, and spending as much time as she could with her boys. She was also determined to ensure they were looked after even after her death, and was adamant that CLAN should be involved in offering support.

Dr Colette Backwell, chief executive of CLAN, said:

“Caroline’s family are truly an inspiration and we would like to give our heartfelt thanks for all the money and awareness they have raised so far. To turn such difficult circumstances into such a positive and raising money to help us support other families throughout the north-east, is absolutely incredible.

“The Ruby Ball is sure to be a great success and will be a lovely opportunity for Caroline’s family and friends to celebrate her life with other guests.”

Tickets for the ball are on sale now, priced £49. To find out more, or to buy – or to donate a raffle prize – visit www.facebook.com/rubyballaberdeen, e-mail rubyballaberdeen@gmail.com or call 07515 349890.

CLAN Cancer Support is an independent charity which provides comfort, support and information, free of charge, for anyone, of any age, affected by any type of cancer. CLAN aims to support people to reduce anxiety, stress and to increase their ability to cope with the effects of a serious illness.

Based in Aberdeen, the charity covers the whole of north-east Scotland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland. CLAN has a presence in Ballater, Banchory, Elgin, Buckie, Inverurie, Fraserburgh, Lossiemouth, Peterhead, Stonehaven, Turriff, Kirkwall and Lerwick.

For more information about CLAN Cancer Support, please call (01224) 647 000 or visit www.clanhouse.org

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Feb 072017
 

With thanks to Yvette Rayner, PR Account Manager, Frasermedia.

L-R, Paul Whitecross, Nick Nairn and Ross Spence.

Three of Scotland’s finest chefs are teaming up to share their passion for food in a unique culinary experience, which is set to be a recipe for success for Aberdeen.
Nick Nairn, Ross Spence, executive chef at The Marcliffe Hotel & Spa and Paul Whitecross, executive chef at Trump International, will each present an individual course aimed at delighting the senses, showcasing their world-renowned gastronomic skills.

The trio are working together to cook-up Savour, a culinary feast which will take place on Saturday, 4th March, at the Marcliffe Hotel & Spa.

The event is being hosted alongside North East Sensory Services (NESS), a charity which supports people of all ages from babies to grandparents, who were born deaf or blind, or for those who have lost their sight or hearing.

The chefs will each create a course for the gastronomic adventure, focusing on the senses of taste, smell and sight, which coincides with the charity’s work with people with sensory issues.

Ross Spence said:

“It’s fantastic to be able to work with Nick and Paul for this event and we will present a superb overall dinner which will thoroughly delight the guests. NESS is an important charity in Aberdeen and across the North-east, supporting more and more people with hearing or sight loss, and we are delighted to host this unique evening.”

Paul Whitecross added:

“The team at Trump International is always keen to support charities which are important to the North-east community and this is set to be a fantastic foodie event to tantalise the tastebuds of the diners who are lucky enough to secure a place at this exclusive event.” 

Nick Nairn commented:

“Given our position with the business and our commitment to the North-east we wanted to be able to give something back to the community that supports us.  NESS is an excellent charity and it’s a wonderful opportunity and a wee challenge to create a feast which excites the senses.”

NESS CEO Graham Findlay said:

“We are delighted that these prestigious chefs are taking the time to devise and present a unique menu for NESS. We are looking forward to an incredible evening, which will excite the senses.

“Nick, Ross and Paul are great supporters of NESS and the Marcliffe Hotel & Spa has been a very good friend to the charity for many years.”

As well as a four-course dinner focusing on the senses of taste, smell, and sight, the evening will include a champagne drinks reception, a VIP auction and raffle, followed by entertainment and dancing.

Savour will take place on Saturday, 4th March, 2017, at the Marcliffe Hotel & Spa. Tables are priced at £950, with individual tickets available at £95, and can be purchased from neil.skene@nesensoryservices.org or by calling 0345 271 2345.

Issued by Frasermedia Ltd on behalf of NESS.

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Feb 072017
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

VisitAberdeenshire is looking to capitalise on £175 million of German tourism spend in Scotland by attracting new visitors to the north east of Scotland.

The tourism organisation will attend VisitScotland’s Frankfurt Workshop – an exhibition and Burns Supper – on 7 February. VisitAberdeenshire business development director Jenni Fraser will meet key business tourism trade decision makers to promote Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to the German travel market.

While at the exclusive German event, Jenni (pictured) will promote Lufthansa’s direct air links between Frankfurt and Aberdeen International Airport, as well as the wealth of conference and event venues throughout the region.

The trip to attract business travel from Germany – Scotland’s second largest international inbound travel market – follows hot on the heels to a VisitAberdeenshire leisure travel trade mission to the Stavanger Travel Day in Norway last week.

Jenni says,

“The future of business tourism in the north east of Scotland is looking bright, with several important developments set to revitalise the region’s offering to conference, events and incentive organisers.

“The city’s infrastructure is currently undergoing a massive overhaul, including the £20 million expansion of Aberdeen International Airport which will greatly improve services available to international travellers. As well as encouraging new direct flights, these improvements will also enhance the experience of those travelling on existing routes including from Frankfurt.

“Ground has also been broken on the £333 million redevelopment of Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) which will transform the north east’s conference and meetings offering, for both large and small scale events. As well as relocating nearer to the airport – making it more convenient to business travellers – the new AECC will also boast increased exhibition and meeting space.

“Similarly, Aberdeen Art Gallery and the Music Hall are also undergoing major refurbishments – worth a total of £37 million. These will not only increase leisure facilities in the city centre, but also offers unique spaces for drinks receptions and gala dinners.

“Aside from major developments, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire boast some incredible independent venues that are perfect for smaller meetings and incentive provision. From exclusive use of a historic castle or a privately-chartered steam train; conferences at a unique seafront venue or golfing at one of over 50 world-renowned golf courses; Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have so much to offer.

“We look forward to meeting with key German business tourism buyers to encourage them to visit Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”

For more information about conferences and events in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire – or about the region in general – visit www.visitabdn.com

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Feb 022017
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Hall Morrice employee Andrew Laurie, who received the Ronald Ison Medal for the candidate with the highest mark in the Taxation of Individuals paper

An Aberdeen-based accountant has emerged as the top-scoring student in a national Chartered Institute of Taxation exam.
Andrew Laurie from independent firm Hall Morrice LLP was awarded the Ronald Ison Medal for the candidate with the highest mark in the Taxation of Individuals paper – an exam that he hopes will eventually help him achieve Chartered Taxation Advisor (CTA) status.

Andrew (30) was one of over 200 candidates from around the UK to pass the exam, and did so with distinction.

He has previously passed all his CTA exams at the first attempt, and will sit his final test in May.

He joined Hall Morrice as a graduate trainee in the audit and accounts team and qualified as a Chartered Accountant (CA) with the support of the firm. Director of tax Stuart Watson saw that he had a natural aptitude for the subject, and Andrew joined the tax department over three years ago.

Andrew, who is employed as a senior tax analyst with Hall Morrice, says,

“With Stuart’s encouragement, I decided to study for my CTA qualification and was delighted when the firm provided a study package to help me achieve this.

“I had hoped that I had performed well in the exam, but to learn that I had passed with the highest mark on the paper came as a real surprise. I’m very pleased as it was the result of a lot of studying, but more than that shows the effort that Hall Morrice has made in training me and mentoring me over the years.”

Students studying towards the CA qualification sit a paper which covers taxation, but at a relatively basic level compared to the knowledge required for the CTA exams. CTA is seen as the gold standard for advisors and is absolutely essential for anyone wishing to specialise at a high level in taxation.

Hall Morrice, which employs around 50 members of staff, has a long and successful track record as a training firm, and consistently develops graduates to very high levels. It has invested heavily in bespoke training programmes aimed at improving the learning process for its graduates, and the approach has seen exam pass rates soar.

Last year, the firm was shortlisted in two categories in Scotland’s Employer of the Year Awards in recognition of its efforts to develop staff and invest in young people. Hall Morrice accepts new graduates every year, and is also committed to offering placements to accountancy students.

Stuart, who has worked in taxation for over 40 years says,

“We are immensely proud of Andrew’s achievement. To perform better than any other CTA student in the country underlines not only how hard he has worked on his studies, but also the opportunities that he has had to put his learning into practice in his day to day role here at Hall Morrice.

“As the tax department is relatively small, our team has to be able to advise on a wide range of tax issues and not specialise in any one particular area. Andrew covers the whole scope of our service provision, from personal taxation and tax returns to share valuations and tax planning.

“It has always been the firm’s aim to recruit the best and in terms of technical ability, Andrew’s success in this paper has shown that he has a very bright future ahead of him.”

Founded in 1976, Hall Morrice is one of Scotland’s leading independent firms of chartered accountants and has offices in Aberdeen and Fraserburgh. Based at 6 and 7 Queens Terrace in Aberdeen, Hall Morrice can be contacted on 01224 647394 or at accounts@hallmorrice.co.uk

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Feb 022017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

Aberdeen city centre has been hailed as a shining example to the rest of the country after securing the prestigious Purple Flag accreditation for the fourth year in a row.

Led by business organisation Aberdeen Inspired, with support from Aberdeen City Council, Police Scotland, Unight, Street Pastors and other key stakeholders, the city has achieved the coveted standard in recognition of its commitment to promoting a safe and secure night time economy.

Aberdeen became the first city in Scotland to be awarded the accreditation in 2014 and has now been re-accredited for the fourth time, receiving praise for its strong partnership working alongside its lively mix of evening entertainment.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, welcomed the award and praised the ongoing work which goes into making this continued success possible.

He said:

“Securing the Purple Flag award for a fourth year is a great achievement and the result of a concerted effort by a number of organisations working in partnership to enhance Aberdeen city centre’s offering over a number of years.

“The assessors remarked that Aberdeen is a shining example to other cities across the country for all of the work that goes in to improving the city centre, which a fantastic acknowledgement of what has been achieved so far.

“We have developed strong relationships with our many partners over the years and this success is testament to the hard work that goes on, often behind the scenes, to create a better city for residents and visitors.

“The city’s night time economy has an integral part to play in helping us meet our goal of increasing footfall within the city centre and a safe and enjoyable environment is key to this continued success.

“If the city centre is to truly thrive, then fundamentally it must be seen to be safe. It is for all the partners to ensure that we continue to sustain this partnership approach, even through these challenging financial times.”   

The Purple Flag scheme is a town and centre award managed by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) which looks at the wellbeing, movement, appeal and sense of place within a city centre.

Cities are rewarded for their ability to showcase a variety of initiatives aimed at attracting visitors to the area during the evening.

This year’s application was strengthened by a number of projects aimed at fostering a sense of pride within the city, with Aberdeen Inspired’s Summer of Art, the Painted Doors project and the Aberdeen Comedy Festival, Police Scotland’s Operation Oak campaign and the successful Aberdeen Christmas Village all playing a part.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing, said:

“Receiving Purple Flag accreditation for the fourth year is a testament to the strong partnership work undertaken by the Community Safety Partnership, Aberdeen Inspired, Police Scotland and number of other agencies.

“Aberdeen City Council works closely with a range of partners to deliver initiatives such as Unight, Best Bar None and the taxi marshals which play a huge role in creating a safe and welcoming night time experience.

“I would like to thank all involved for their hard work in making Aberdeen an even safer place to live and visit.”

Area Commander Chief Inspector Graeme Mackie, said:

“Police Scotland is delighted that Aberdeen has once again been awarded the Purple Flag for excellence in managing the night-time economy – an accolade that is testament to the well-embedded partnership working that exists to ensure your city-centre is safe.

“Our officers also work hard to make sure that the city is a safe and welcoming place live, work and visit and we continue to record reductions in crime figures year-on-year.

“A great deal of progress has been made throughout the years thanks to the willingness of organisations to work together, and initiatives like Operation Oak and the Best Bar None awards play a huge part in creating this safer and more enjoyable environment.

“Every city-centre comes with its own unique challenges, so we take great pride in achieving this recognition for a fourth consecutive year and maintaining our position as one of the UK’s safest city centres.

“We look forward to continuing this work alongside our partner agencies to support the great progress that has already been made.”

Stuart McPhee, general manager of Siberia Vodka Bar and chairman of Unight Aberdeen, said:

“Unight are delighted to be a partner involved in working towards and achieving Purple Flag accreditation for the fourth consecutive year.

“Through all the partnership working that goes into achieving this we have created a safe and welcoming environment throughout our city centre.

“All of our venues work tirelessly to ensure they are the safest they can be, so to know that this is a small part in achieving this award is a great satisfaction to our members.”

Graham Watson, Owner of the Grill Bar, said:

“It is thoroughly well deserved and I am delighted that Aberdeen inspired and partners have achieved this recognition for their hard work over the piece.

“Over the past several years, the city centre seems to be a much safer place and that makes it more appealing for people to visit.

“The city centre needs to see this type of nationally leading thinking and we are delighted to support the continued progress.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates.

It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district and drive footfall to the zone.

More information about Aberdeen Inspired is available online at: www.aberdeeninspired.com

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Feb 022017
 

This driver stopped in the marked disabled bay while he loaded a Christmas tree while two cars with disabled badges had to move on.

By Mark MC.

“I’ll just be two ticks!” A not uncommon response to someone parking where they shouldn’t, but what if that is a disabled parking bay?

The Court has recently ruled on wheelchairs over prams on buses; but is this the right way to go?

Has it gone far enough?

Even now the media and people appear to have different views on what the ruling stated so what is going on?

What has happened to the old-fashioned courtesy, of giving up a seat for someone in more need than yourself….is chivalry dead?

Most of us will get old, some will become disabled, some of us are already there; so should we expect ‘special treatment’, preferential treatment?

This important issue covers far more than just buses or parking bays; there appears to be a basic disregard for people that require more, even if that doesn’t actually cost anything just, simply taking up space that could be used by someone else: the selfish gene?

Unfair appraisal? While it is true that many people would happily give up their seat, how many of those people would take a disabled parking space? The concept behind the aging Goofy cartoon behind the wheel springs to mind; where the perfect gentleman Goofy changes like Jekyll and Hyde.

Whatever your viewpoint there is sufficient concern to raise the question, what is going on? Why do so many feel that it is OK to keep a marked disabled seat or park in a disabled parking space without authority?

These actions can have severe effects on those that need them.

A tent display, clearly far more important than disabled people.

There are too may conditions to list here but lets just look at one, a more generic situation of chronic pain. Chronic pain affects hundreds of thousands of people; that is a pain that is constant over time, it might effect standing, walking, even sitting.

Many sufferers still try to maintain what is as near ‘normal’ lifestyle as they can but in order to do so they need just a little extra help, and that might be in the form of a specialised seat or parking space near to a shop, chemist or doctors. Is that really too much to ask?

A seat and/or a parking space, reserved for someone that needs it, in order for them to be part of the community without being an extra burden?

In the case of the bus court case it should never have gone that far, the bus driver already had the ability to sort it out; the current situation does little to help, the driver can simply wait for others on the bus to get angry about being held up; causing further animosity to either the disabled, elderly or pram pusher.

In the case of the selfish driver taking a disabled bay, even if just for a short time may have caused someone that needs that space to drive on; perhaps even to return home unable to get their shopping or prescription, because their pain to just too much for them to wait or to keep driving around looking for what is often far too few disabled parking spaces close to where they need to be.

Tackle these people at your peril; as even a ‘nice’ approach can be taken as an affront on their liberty, or at least that can be the impression assumed by the verbal abuse or even violent response.

Some countries don’t suffer from the same issues.

Some countries carry real fines, big fines if people disobey, plus they have law enforcers willing to issue fines. In a few countries the locals would never even dream of taking a disabled space. How have they done it?

It would be nice if legislation was not required, but in our current modern selfish age, the situation is unlikely to improve without a big stick….lets hope those people wont need it to get around!

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Jan 272017
 

By Duncan Harley.

When a concerned Alford resident reported sighting two abandoned otter pups, Keith and Pauline Marley of Ellon based North East Wildlife & Animal Rescue Centre immediately agreed to take the orphaned mammals under their wing.

Weighing in at just 1kg upon arrival, the first task was to provide food.

Fully grown adult otters weigh around 10kg.

“Juveniles need to eat fifteen percent of their bodyweight daily in order to thrive” says Keith.

“Luckily, a local fish-merchant donated four boxes of cod to us when the cubs arrived. They have a voracious appetite though. In the first two weeks they ate over half of the donation.

“We have already identified a release site” 

Keith estimates that the siblings could be released back into the wild by July 2017.

Prior to release the youngsters will need to learn how to swim and how to hunt for food.

“We plan to use cat toys on strings to teach aquatic hunting skills. It’s likely to be quite a messy procedure” jokes Keith.

The search is on for funding to create a dedicated enclosure and outdoor pond for the pair.

The registered charity welcomes both volunteers and donations. Contact: www.thenewarc.org

Words © Duncan Harley. Image © New Arc

First published in the December 2016 edition of Leopard Magazine.

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