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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Aug 262016
 

Former Aberdeen FC stars, John Hewitt and Russell Anderson are backing the Friends of Murcar campaign which aims to secure a leading role for the North East club and its championship course in the Scottish golf scene. The campaign includes a competition to win round of golf with the Pittodrie legends. With thanks to Duncan Fisher.

FRIENDS OF MURCAR

Former Aberdeen FC stars, John Hewitt and Russell Anderson are backing the Friends of Murcar campaign.

One of Scotland’s classic links golf clubs, Murcar Links, has adopted a fundraising approach with a difference after launching its Friends of Murcar crowdfunding campaign to drive the club forward while contributing towards young golfers in the region.

The Aberdeen-based club is looking to raise £250,000 to fund the first phase of a new irrigation system to further enhance its championship course and ensure it remains one of Scotland’s best for generations to come.

The continued development of Murcar as a venue is expected to have a positive effect on the wider golfing community.

In keeping with Murcar’s keen support for youth development, 10% of the final amount raised by the Friends of Murcar campaign will be donated to the Paul Lawrie Foundation which provides opportunities for juniors of any age and background to take part in golf.

Although common within the business world, crowdfunding campaigns are a relatively alien concept for sports clubs. Murcar is hoping the approach will cement its position as a progressive club at the heart of Scottish golf, where it supports the game’s development at all levels from local junior programmes through to full European Tour tournaments.

Launched by Aberdeen FC living legends, John Hewitt and Russell Anderson, at the club, the Friends of Murcar campaign offers numerous fundraising entry points and rewards and, as extra incentive for Dons fans, anyone donating a minimum £20 will be entered into a prize draw to win a fourball with a friend to play alongside the Pittodrie heroes.

Commenting at the launch, Murcar Links club captain, Malcolm Gunnyeon, said:

“As a club, we are constantly looking at ways to innovate and improve on and off the course and, following years of supporting local, national and European golf as a venue and partner, we felt this was an ideal time to try something a little bit different to support the next stage of the development of Murcar Links.  

“We are proud of the role we have always played in supporting the development of golf within the North East and we hope the Friends of Murcar campaign will enable us to take the courses to another level for the benefit of not only members, but the range of visitors, competitors and partners who use it on a regular basis.

“The grassroots of the game are so important to a club like ours so it was an easy decision to donate 10% of the money raised to the Paul Lawrie Foundation. It does a fantastic job introducing youngsters to the game who, ultimately, will be the lifeblood of golf in the future. Support of the Foundation sits very well with our decision to make junior golf free at Murcar in 2016.”

1983 European Cup Winners’ Cup hero, and Murcar member, John Hewitt, added:

“I’ve been a member at Murcar for nearly 20 years and have seen the course develop over that time. At its best, it’s right up there with the top Scottish courses and if the club is able to raise the necessary funds, it will be fantastic for both members and the wider golfing community.”

Former League Cup-winning captain, Russell Anderson, said “The North East has great facilities across all sports and it is important those within the sporting community continue to offer opportunities for participation at all levels. Murcar Links is a fantastic golf club and the proposed works will help it continue supporting golf development in the region for many years to come.”

Full details of the Friends of Murcar campaign, including fundraising rewards and donations, can be found at murcarlinks.hubbub.net.

More Info:

Founded in 1909, Murcar Links, sitting on the picturesque Aberdeenshire coast, is a stunning and classic test of Scottish links golf, popular with members and visitors alike.

A regular host of tournaments of all levels, including the 2015 European Tour’s Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play, the club has a particular commitment towards the development of youth and amateur golf, having held qualifying for the Senior Open Championship as well as the full European Boys Team Championship and European Challenge Tour’s Scottish Challenge in recent years.

The Paul Lawrie Foundation (PLF) was launched in 2001; two years after Paul famously won the 1999 Open at Carnoustie. It provides opportunities for juniors of any age to start playing golf, compete at golf and improve their capabilities to the highest level.

The mission of the Foundation is to get as many young people playing golf as possible but, ultimately, it would be great to see someone who started out or developed their golf with the Foundation winning on tour or even going on to win a Major championship.

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May 122014
 

merkalndpic2All Aberdeen needed to secure second place and a good crack at the Europe League was a draw, but this was snatched from them in the dying seconds of the game, reports Andrew Watson.

It was a wet affair, and some players losing their footing on the pitch was testament to that.
Motherwell fans were rowdy throughout, and let fly silver streamers onto the pitch at kickoff.

The Reds had a large chunk of the possession and the most chances on goal, but never quite had the precision to finish the job.

Things really only changed when the Steelmen brought on James McFadden after 76 minutes.

That said, Peter Pawlett had a clear cut chance chalked off for offside. However, seconds from the death, Motherwell whipped in a free kick that eluded Jamie Langfield.

Upon closer inspection, it looked as if he were barged off the ball. Russell Anderson made a vital clearance off the line, but this came to no avail on account of the rebound.

The ball then somehow crossed the line. Dejection.

0-1 (Craig Reid).

They feasibly had one last chance at attack to level the game, but time, and what little of it, was of the essence. As the ball approached the final third, the game was over.

Aberdeen still has a Europa League place, but it’s been a somewhat frustrating end to the season, especially since they missed out on that Scottish Cup Final spot.

Having beat champions Celtic on the way there, it was considered a formality that they’d at least make an appearance on May 17.

Saying that, although missing out on second place is gutting, it’s a fair few years since they last finished in the top three; let alone the top six!

Final score:  0-1.

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Apr 282014
 

merkalndpic2A practically full strength Aberdeen side struggled make an impact in a rather torrid game, notes Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

It was a misty day with not too bad a wind blowing. Dons fans in the South Stand unfurled a banner simply stating ‘Derek McInnes Manager of the Year’.

It didn’t take long to break the deadlock.

Clark Robertson made a poor pass back trying to find Mark Reynolds and the Saints jumped at the opportunity.

0-1 St Johnstone (Stevie May) on the 8 minute mark.

It was twenty three minutes later before Aberdeen suitably responded. A similar mistake was made in the McDiarmid Park men’s box and Adam Rooney leapt to beat the keeper, coolly knocking the ball into the net.

1-1

Barry Robson came on for Clark Robertson come 57 minutes. Peter Pawlett then came off for Cammy Smith eleven minutes later.

Aberdeen made their final substitution four minutes from fulltime, with Calvin Zola replacing Niall McGinn.

Keeper Jamie Langfield almost threw the game away after he misjudged a pass back.

The only positives this weekend in the Reds race for Europe was the 5-1 demolition of Motherwell by the hands of a rampant Dundee United at Tannadice.

Final score:  1-1.

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Mar 312014
 

Aberdeen looked to be missing some key men in this sometimes intense yet drab affair, says Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

merkalndpic2It was a grey and overcast afternoon which very much summed up some of the football that was being played.

The Tangerine faithful were on song, and gave their former players Barry Robson and Willo Flood stick.

As a riposte, the Red Army dug into their New Firm derby opposition with a rendition of ‘Dundee slums’.

To those none the wiser, it’s about eating rats and revelling in it, etc.

Moving on, it wasn’t long before Dundee United opened the scoring. They pounced onto a poor clearance from captain Russell Anderson and got an opportunists goal.

0-1 Dundee United (Paul Paton) on the 6 minute mark.

The rest of the half was very frustrating, and it was only after the break that the tide changed in Aberdeen’s favour. Niall McGinn moved up front alongside striker Adam Rooney, a timely tactical switch by gaffer Derek McInnes.

A combination of this formation alteration, and Robson’s dominance in set pieces, prevailed to level the game.

McGinn found Robson’s long ball, and headed only yards from the goal line.

1-1!

Cammy Smith came off for Declan McManus twenty five minutes later. The Dons endeavoured right into injury time to find the winning goal, but that clinical touch in the final third was amiss.

They’re sadly missing Jonny Hayes and Peter Pawlett, though their squad should really be strong enough to withstand the loss of only two players.

Final score:  1-1.

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Mar 232014
 

Two cheap goals at either end of the pitch in the early minutes of the first half ensured this to be a closely contested outing, writes Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

IMG_1248After some light drizzle it was a surprise that injured heroes Jonny Hayes and Peter Pawlett got wet via other means.  That being the pitch sprinklers whilst parading the League Cup, five minutes prior to kickoff.
There was even The Human League being played on the tannoy so the fans could chant ‘Peter Pawlett Baby’ over their hit ‘Don’t You Want Me’.

The duo were sorely missed in the centre of the park, and that’s where Kilmarnock found their opening.

0-1 Kilmarnock (Kris Boyd) after 11 minutes.

The crowd proceeded for the remainder of the game to jibe Boyd with chants of ‘sumo’, digging at his weight issues over the years.

Aberdeen didn’t have to wait long for a response.  Nicky Low and Adam Rooney passed between each other to force space in the box, and Rooney duly drilled into the corner on the 17 minute mark.

1-1!

There wasn’t much to write home about after that; in terms of the first half, anyway.  However, Niall McGinn had a bit of a howler; missing at least two clear cut chances to put his team ahead.

Things appeared to be approaching into stalemate in the second half, but tactical changes ensured against this.  Low was called to the bench in favour of Barry Robson after 61 minutes.

This geed up the Reds, and defender Mark Reynolds delivered a ball which Ryan Jack found on the 72 minute mark.

2-1 Aberdeen!

McGinn was then replaced by Declan McManus fourteen minutes later.

The Dons held their nerve against the Rugby Park men, eking out a valuable victory.

All in all it’s good they’re managing to win in such a fashion as this.  I mean to miss numerous chances to score, and not to regret it.

Final score:  2-1.

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Mar 112014
 

pittodrie2There wasn’t much between the Dons and Sons in this Scottish Cup quarter final tie, recounts Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

Cold yet relatively windless, it was the match everyone thought would be a wipe out for the away side, and that Dumbarton would be swept away under a deluge of goals inflicted upon them by a stubborn Aberdeen side.

In reality, the only incident that put anything between the two teams was an Aberdeen goal after 53 minutes.

Set piece king Barry Robson found the head of Adam Rooney not long into the second half via a corner, where before, the Reds were generally under the cosh and were lucky not to be at least a goal down.

1-0 Aberdeen!

There were some hairy moments for the home side as the Championship outfit quested for an answer to Rooney’s effort.

Niall McGinn then came on for Cammy Smith after 70 minutes.  Scott Vernon followed, replacing goal scorer Rooney on the 83 minute mark.

Robson left the pitch four minutes later, with Nicky Low coming off the bench.

It’s definitely good that Aberdeen are a side able to fashion themselves as a team able to grind out results when not everything is going their way.

On the other hand, it’s a tad worrying that they struggled so much against lower league opposition.  They’ll have to turn on the style a tad more to beat teams like their League Cup rivals Inverness.

It could perhaps be put down to fatigue given the spate of fixtures they’ve had this last thirty days or so.

Final score:  1-0.

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Mar 032014
 

St Johnstone will be smarting after failing to secure a draw, let alone all three points, reasons Voice reporter Andrew Watson.
merklandandrew

It was a chilly afternoon at Pittodrie, and the home crowd were treated to an early goal.

Ryan Jack from 25-yards out hit the ball with no real conviction or power and still managed to beat the keeper and all after only 8 minutes.

1-0 Aberdeen!

In all honesty there’s not much to report from there onwards. The McDiarmidPark men put the Dons under consistent pressure. They rattled shots of the post and sometimes their own bad luck, rather than ineptitude, kept them off target.

Goal scorer Jack left the pitch on the 63 minute mark, with Barry Robson replacing. Niall McGinn also came off for Cammy Smith.

15 minutes later Pater Pawlett came off for Nicky Low. The latter was involved in the second booking of ex-Reds striker Steven MacLean, and duly got him sent off for his troubles.

Aberdeen were definitely a tad lucky to come out as victors in this contest, and a draw would have been a fairer result. Had St Johnstone taken all their chances, they’d have been outright victors.

However, it’s good to see the Dandies hold on stubbornly to narrow leads. Competing at the top level requires an instinct to grind out results against stiff opposition.

If Aberdeen keep up this form, we’ll be looking forward to two cup finals and perhaps finish as runners up in the league.

Final score:  1-0.

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Feb 262014
 

Squeaky bum time for the duration, but a vital victory against an until now unbeaten Celtic side reports Voice’s Andrew Watson.

pittodrieThe wind blew through Pittodrie, and along with it came a rain which at times hailed horizontally.

The velocity of play was intense and made the mind boggle as to how it could be maintained throughout.

It didn’t take the crowd long to be up in arms.

The home support greeted Virgil van Dijk’s sending off as one would welcome a goal or a cup final. So after only 12 minutes, Celtic were down to ten men.

Although this somewhat evened up proceedings, Celtic managed to put Aberdeen under a lot of pressure regardless.

On the 41 minute mark, Niall McGinn found Jonny Hayes. The Dubliner took a chance from thirty yards and found the top corner, denting Fraser Forster’s clean sheet record.

1-0 Aberdeen!

Only 4 minutes later McGinn found on form Adam Rooney, whose diving header in turn found the net.

2-0 Aberdeen!

What proceeded in the second half was sustained pressure from the Parkhead men, and if I could blame anyone for what followed I would point to Alan Tate. His poor headed clearance handed Celtic a goal, and a way back into the game.

2-1 (James Forrest) after 62 minutes.

From where I was sitting, in the Main Stand, the Englishman could have made a pass back to Jamie Langfield, but opted to head out the box; which inevitably found Scott Brown.

Tate left the pitch on the 83 minute mark, with Joe Shaughnessy coming on. Shaleum Logan also came off to make way for Russell Anderson.

Peter Pawlett came off after 92 minutes to be replaced by Scott Vernon.

The Dons were definitely lucky to win this one, though it must be said that Celtic took for granted they’d eventually win the game.

Final score:  2-1.

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Jan 192014
 

The Dons finally bottled it today, raves Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

merkalndpic2With over 12,000 in attendance, it’s clear the Dons would be playing in front of an expectant crowd. A crowd expecting victory
It was a chilly afternoon, if not a little bit misty. Nothing the Pittodrie floodlight system couldn’t handle, though. This meant Barry Robson could arguably contend his early corner kick shot wasn’t just a wayward delivery that hit off the top of the crossbar and top netting.

Aberdeen dominated possession but did little with it, and they were to suffer the consequences for not being more clinical.

Thistle looked dangerous on the attack, particularly on the break. Their forward was generously gifted a shot from ten yards out and pounced.

0-1 (Danny Williams) after 22 minutes

Four minutes later, the home support broke out in rapturous applause. This was to mark the life – and death – of young Aberdeen fan, Cammy Smith.

This positivity starkly contrasted with the later frustration of the home crowd when the referee got in the way of play. He feebly ducked the oncoming ball unsuccessfully and got hit. He duly had abuse hurled at him for his trouble.

Unfortunately there was little worthy of a mention in the remainder of the proceedings.

Alan Tate was replaced by Joe Shaughnessy after 58 minutes. A minute later, Robson came off for Jonny Hayes.  At the 65 minute mark, Josh Magennis came on for Scott Vernon.

Of the last substitution, if was clear that Vernon had to be taken off. If I had the choice I’d have taken off Niall McGinn too. These two seem to be just going through the motions, these last few games.

The most bitterly ironic thing is thatf Gregg Wylde, who moved to St Mirren the other day, might have made the difference in this game; if only to take a point instead of none at all.

Final score:  0-1.