Sep 072017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Jasmine Ltd.

Legal eagles from Aberdeen have been pushing themselves to their physical limits this year and have raised almost £6,000 for charities close to their hearts.
Three legal experts from Mackinnons Solicitors tackled gruelling individual challenges which took one to the top of the highest mountain in the British Isles while one ran the London Marathon and another took on the Highland Cross coast-to-coast challenge.

Sarah Polson, from Mackinnons’ dispute resolution department, Fiona Cheyne from the firm’s commercial and marine department and Mackinnons’ partner Martin Sinclair, who is a specialist in personal injury law, have raised a combined fundraising total of £5,975 for three different charities.

In June, Fiona Cheyne hiked up the 1,345 metre Ben Nevis with her Mum Elizabeth Copp and raised £4,610 for the PSP Association in recognition of the support the charity provides to her dad Andy Copp who has been diagnosed with the rare and as yet incurable Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD).

Fiona said:

“We had never heard of the PSP Association until earlier last year, when dad was diagnosed with the degenerative condition which limits his ability to talk, to walk, to grip and to swallow.

“The charity funds research into treatments and it’s hoped a cure can ultimately be found for both conditions. It’s thanks to the PSP Association that mum and dad have been given good practical advice and support in how to deal with dad’s condition. Their support worker keeps in touch with them over the phone and they value that greatly.

“To give something back, my mum and I decided to do some fundraising and laced up our hiking boots to reach the top of Ben Nevis which was a challenging and humbling experience.”

Earlier in the year, Mackinnons’ Litigation Associate Sarah Polson ran in the London Marathon after receiving a ballot place. For the firm’s 175th anniversary she decided to fundraise for the Fishermen’s Mission, Mackinnons charity of the year.

After months of training she joined the 40,000-strong field who ran the 26.2-mile course in April and raised £600 for the charity which provides support and welfare to fishermen and their families.

Sarah said:

“They say the crowds get you through the marathon in London and they really do. The route around London’s landmarks was lined with thousands of supporters handing out sweets and biscuits to keep you going and cheering you on.

“There were even brass bands, an orchestra and singers providing entertainment along the way. It was tough in parts but I survived and I’m already planning my next challenge.”

In June, Mackinnons’ partner Martin Sinclair raised £765 for several charities by completing the Highland Cross challenge.

The Highland Cross is a 50-mile duathlon, 20 miles either running or walking and 30miles by bike, which crosses Scotland between Kintail and Beauly.

The funds were split between both the Fisherman’s Mission and the Highland Cross nominated charities in the Highlands which benefit from the event.

Martin said:

“The Highland Cross is a terrific event and I’ve been keen to take part for a while. More than £4.4m has been raised through the event since 1983 and I was delighted to contribute in some small part to the ongoing success of this event.

“The amount of time and work put in by the teams of volunteers to run the event is enormous. The camaraderie amongst the competitors is another key factor in the event and seeing such a large cross section of Scotland as you cross helps to underline how good a nation we are.”

Mackinnons offers bespoke legal services for residential property, personal advice, wills and estate planning, commercial property, business and corporate matters, renewables and dispute resolution.

The firm, which also has offices in Cults and Aboyne, is also well known and internationally recognised for its long-standing expertise in fishing, shipping and marine law.

The firm’s experienced team of solicitors provide professional, pragmatic, bespoke advice for clients, whether they are multinational corporations, local businesses or individuals.

As part of Mackinnons’ 175th anniversary celebrations this year the firm is raising money for The Fishermen’s Mission throughout 2017.

For more information about Mackinnons Solicitors and its range of legal and financial services, please visit: www.mackinnons.com

Aug 252017
 

With thanks to Clare Scott, Communications Consultant, CJS Communication & Marketing.

An Aberdeen-based family support charity has issued an urgent plea for new volunteers to help it achieve its target of recruiting 30 new volunteers within 30 weeks during its 30th anniversary year.

Home-Start Aberdeen has been supporting families who are vulnerable, or who may be at risk of isolation, for the past three decades.

This support is largely provided by volunteers, who are trained by the charity and matched with a family whom they visit on a weekly basis.

Home-Start Aberdeen now plans to run a further two volunteer induction courses in August before hitting its 30-week deadline in September.

The charity launched the 30 in 30 volunteer recruitment campaign in February this year in a bid to reduce its waiting list of families who are in need of support.

Georgette Cobban (pictured), scheme manager, Home-Start Aberdeen said:

“No formal qualifications are required to become a Home-Start Aberdeen volunteer, however we are looking for people who have a keen interest in the wellbeing of families or who have parenting experience themselves.

“Families who are referred to us may be struggling with a variety of issues such as post-natal depression, isolation, physical health problems or bereavement. We prepare our volunteers – and carefully match them with a family – so that their own life skills and experience can be of benefit to others.

“In addition to the initial preparation course, our volunteers receive ongoing support from their Home-Start Aberdeen co-ordinator, plus regular opportunities for further skills development. All we ask for in return is a commitment of 2-3 hours a week to provide a city-based family with emotional and practical support in their home surroundings.

“Although we are bigger than ever before – with around 100 volunteers – the need for our service continues to grow, as do our waiting lists. I would urge anyone who thinks they might be able to help to get in touch for a no-pressure chat.”

Over the past three decades Home-Start Aberdeen has grown to become one of the UK’s largest Home-Start schemes, providing over 220 families and 360 children with around 27,500 hours of support each year. Families are referred to the charity mainly by health visitors and social workers, however they can also self-refer. The support provided is completely free: families must have an address in the city and one child under five years old, otherwise there are no barriers to access.

Home-Start Aberdeen’s next volunteer induction courses commence on Wednesday, 30 August. Each course incorporates eight weekly sessions, with daytime and evening options to suit different schedules.

For further details, or to arrange an informal chat, email volunteering@homestartaberdeen.org.uk or call 01224 693545. Additional information is also available at www.homestartaberdeen.org.uk.

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Aug 202017
 

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

A North-east bike ride is to cater to those of the four-legged variety, with the launch of a new ‘doggy daycare’ service.

Furry visitors to this year’s Chapelton Bike Ride, which takes place on Sunday, September 3, will have access to a ‘doggy pit stop’, thanks to a local dog walker.

Chapelton resident, Jenna Smith, who runs Long Dog Walkies, will be providing complimentary treats, toys and water to weary pooches on the day of the bike ride.

She will also be running a raffle, giving one lucky dog owner the chance to win a hamper of doggy treats.

Owners can choose to stay with their pets, or leave them with Jenna for a short period of time, whilst they browse the full range of stalls and activities on offer.

The 28-year-old came up with the idea of the doggy pit stop after noticing the high number of dogs in attendance at last year’s bike ride, prompting her to contact the organisers of the event to offer her services.

Held in aid of North East Sensory Services (NESS), a charity that supports over 6,500 people with sensory impairments across the North-east, the inaugural Chapelton Bike Ride welcomed over 250 cyclists and hundreds of other spectators to the village of Chapelton last year.

Jenna said:

“I wanted to give something back to my local community by getting involved with this year’s bike ride, as I noticed there were a lot of doggy companions at last year’s event. As a dog owner myself, I felt it was important to provide a peaceful area where dogs could rest away from large crowds of people.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting lots of new furry friends and soaking up the atmosphere on the day. NESS provides invaluable support to many people across the North-east, so it is great that everyone is coming together to raise as much funds as possible.”

Neil Skene, fundraising co-ordinator at NESS, said:

“It is great to see the huge increase in the number of local businesses getting involved with this year’s bike ride. We’re very thankful to Jenna for offering a complimentary dog minding service, as this will encourage more people to come along to enjoy the wide range of activities on offer.

“Money raised from the Chapelton Bike Ride enables NESS to continuing supporting people with sensory impairments achieve independence, as well as helping them overcome any challenges they may face in day-to-day life. These services make such a big difference to the lives of so many people, so we are extremely grateful to everyone who is taking part and helping to fundraise.”

The Chapelton Bike Ride takes place on Sunday, September 3. Participants have the choice of a 42-mile bike ride, a 12-mile bike ride or a 5K walk.  

Registration costs £15 per person for the 42-mile route, £5 per person for the 12-mile route, or £15 for a team of four for the 12-mile cycle. The 5K walk is free to enter, but all participants must register via the website. Register for the Chapelton Bike Ride at www.chapeltonbikeride.co.uk

Aug 202017
 

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

Aberdeen’s premier ice hockey team has pledged to support a local children’s charity during its upcoming season.

The Aberdeen Lynx Ice Hockey Team, the second most supported sports team in the city, will be fundraising for Charlie House throughout the 2017/2018 season.

Charlie House is an Aberdeen-based charity that engages in activities and projects to support children with complex disabilities and life-limiting conditions.

It also provides practical and emotional support to families from diagnosis onwards, helping the transition home after a long stay in hospital and onwards through their life journey.

Players and committee members of the Aberdeen Lynx, which is a not-for-profit organisation, plan to organise fundraising events for Charlie House throughout the season, this will include a charity ice hockey game, plus various raffles and competitions.

Charlie House will also have an article in the Lynx programme, whilst its logo will feature prominently on all players’ and supporters’ replica tops for the season. 

Chairperson of Aberdeen Lynx Ice Hockey Club, Martin Hill, said:

“The Lynx are very proud to be partnering with Charlie House, as this will enable the charity to continue providing vital support for local children and their families affected by life-limiting conditions.

“We have been busy thinking up new and exciting ways for the Lynx to raise as much money as possible for Charlie House, as we are extremely passionate about getting behind worthy causes.”

Dr. Sorcha Hume, general manager of Charlie House, said:

“We are delighted to be selected as the charity partner for the Aberdeen Lynx Ice Hockey Club. A number of our families attended matches last season, after the team donated tickets, and had a fabulous time. As many of our families’ children have complex needs, it can be very difficult for them to enjoy a day out as a sporting event, as the access, equipment, and support they require can be substantial and sometimes it is just not possible.

“The Lynx team and management ensured everything was in place for our families to have the best possible time and for that we are very grateful. As a charity we depend on fundraising and partnerships to enable us to deliver the best possible support to our families. These funds will go towards the support of our everyday activities, such as our clubs and days out, so this new partnership is invaluable. We are very much looking forward to welcoming the Aberdeen Lynx to the Charlie House family.”

Aug 202017
 

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

North-east golfers have been urged to sign up for a fundraising event at one of the area’s most renowned courses for a leading cancer support charity.

CLAN Cancer Support will host its annual golf day at Meldrum House Country Hotel & Golf Club in Oldmeldrum on Thursday, September 28.

The popular event, which is sponsored by CNR International (UK) Ltd, will run from 11.30am to 8pm where 18 teams of four will compete for the winner’s trophy.

Guests will have complimentary access to the club’s driving range facilities from 10am and receive a light lunch in the hotel before the shotgun start tournament begins. There will also be half way house refreshments followed by a BBQ.

Prizes will be awarded for nearest the pin, longest drive and of course, the winning team. There will also be a raffle and an auction with some fantastic prizes to be won.     

Teams cost £600 each, or individual places can be booked for £150. There is also the opportunity to sponsor a hole, which allows a company to provide and display a pop up banner and pin flag at the hole. A £50 discount is available for team registrations which include a hole sponsorship.

Steph Dowling, CLAN’s fundraising team manager, said:

“We look forward to hosting the CLAN Golf Day at Meldrum House Country Hotel & Golf Club next month, it promises to be a fantastic event.

“The day is more than just a golf outing, with various prizes, raffle and an auction adding to the event. Teams are limited for the day and we’d encourage anyone who is interested in taking part to get in touch to book their place and help to raise money for charity.

“It’s a perfect day out for any business which might be looking for an away day and it may also be of interest to those who are looking to do something fun with a group of friends.”

For more information or to register your team, please contact Steph Dowling, CLAN’s Fundraising Team Manager, on (01224) 651026, or email: steph.dowling@clanhouse.org

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, Buckie, Elgin, 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

Aug 112017
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

A private clinic in Aberdeen is supporting a local duo with a challenge that will take them around the moon.

Temple Medical, a private aesthetic clinic, is providing professional medical support as two businessmen take on a gruelling fitness challenge to complete the circumference of the moon in six months.

Chris Robinson, 38, and Sean Gordon, 25, are cycling, running and rowing the circumference of the moon during 2017 – a total of 10,921km, in aid of local charity, Charlie House.

They aim to complete 27km per day between June and December 2017.

Temple Medical, owned and managed by respected GP, Dr Sam Robson, will monitor the pair throughout the challenge using the company’s in-house state-of-the-art body composition analysis equipment, the InBody770.

Temple uses the InBody 770 to help monitor progress on its Alevere weight loss programme, It provides essential feedback on fat % and guides the clinical staff when advising on nutritional changes required to keep patients healthy and on track with their weight loss journey

This machine provides medical grade analysis of their body composition, and is also commonly used to support world-class athletes.

The InBody 770 analyses the body’s water, body fat, bone minerals and muscle mass. The detailed biometric results will be reviewed every six weeks by Temple’s Dr Jo Green. She provides guidance and advice on an ongoing nutritional plan with an aim to ensure the men are eating appropriately to manage the Moon Challenge. Her goal is to keep them in the best physical shape to avoid injury and excessive fatigue. 

Dr Green said:

“27km per day will undoubtedly be an enormous challenge for their bodies, so our main goal is to keep them healthy and ensure that they are able to reach the end of the challenge in full fitness.

“Monitoring them regularly will allow us to keep a close eye on their metabolic rate and ensure that they understand what changes to make to their diet and exercise regime so that they don’t lose muscle.

“Throughout the challenge, they will be doing plenty of cardio exercise but also need to incorporate some resistance exercise in order to build muscle. Their nutritional requirements involve good hydration, good protein and good carbs – if they struggle physically, they will struggle psychologically.”

Chris Robinson said:

“I knew the challenge would be tough on my body and I wanted to make sure I could do the miles without any lasting damage. The In-Body analysis is fascinating. The first report told me I was in better shape than I had thought and gave me a real insight into my current levels of fat and muscle. Temple Medical gave me a nutritional plan and the team is working with my personal trainer to help me get through the long distances that I must cover.

“When the challenge finishes, we will work together to develop a maintenance plan so that I can sustain my fitness levels and improved body composition.  The body analysis and nutritional advice has been essential in helping me achieve the miles every day, and I can already see real benefits in terms of my body shape and energy.”

The inbody machine is instrumental in helping people to reach their fitness goals as part of the Kick Start programme. This entails providing the biometric analysis as described alongside nutritional advice and exercise guidance to help improve their body composition.

Dr Sam Robson, owner of Temple Medical, added:

“Our Kick Start programme gives a real in-depth look at what’s going on inside your body, and how to make improvements for long term health.

“Technology can play a huge part in helping people make changes for the better, and can enable ordinary people like Chris and Sean to take on a huge challenge in a safe manner.

“The reports we provide are very detailed, and at each review session we can see in detail the benefits our nutritional advice and training has had. We’re delighted to be part of the support team for the challenge and we wish Chris and Sean good luck as they set off around the moon.”

Temple Medical is a private medical clinic, concentrating on non-surgical or minimally-invasive procedures addressing problem skin and the effects of ageing. The clinic also offers Alevere weight management and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.

Dr Sam Robson is a member of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine, and a fully qualified GP, who has over 13 years’ experience of aesthetic medicine. Temple Medical clinic has been recognised nationally and internationally with several industry awards, including Best Cosmetic Doctor, 2017 and 2015, in the Scottish Medical Cosmetic Awards; What Clinic customer service award 2016, and My Face My Body Best Non-surgical Makeover (2014) and Best Customer Experience (2012).

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Jul 282017
 

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

Denise Middler with her miracle baby Owen and partner Darren. She has completed a year of tough challenges to celebrate Owen reaching his fifth birthday.

Little Owen Farquharson really is a miracle baby: conceived on a third and final attempt at IVF and then born in breech in the back of a car with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, his parents feel blessed that he is about to celebrate his fifth birthday.
So, it seemed fitting to mum Denise Middler that she would mark the milestone occasion with a year of personal challenges to give thanks for Owen growing up into a strong little boy and to show how he has helped to turn her own life around.

Over the past seven months she has taken a leap of faith on white-knuckle zip lines, walked a half marathon, completed an adventure obstacle course and ran her way around numerous 5K and 10K races.

Her year of fund-raising and self-challenge will come to an end on September 24 when she takes on the River Ness 10K at the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running.

It will have added significance to Denise as Inverness was the place where she and her brother Richie – who died very suddenly 10 years ago as a result of heart disease –  grew up together. It will be an emotional journey, but little Owen will be there to walk with her hand-in-hand as she crosses the finish line.

Denise (42) from Inverurie in Aberdeenshire has suffered from severe endometriosis since she was a teenager and was warned that the condition – which leaves her in crippling pain – would mean she would find it impossible to conceive a child naturally.

The condition, which is thought to affect as many as one in 10 women in the UK, results in cells like those found in the lining of the womb developing elsewhere in the body, building up and then breaking down and bleeding.

Denise and partner Darren, (39), had almost given up all hope of ever having a child of their own. They were over the moon to discover she was pregnant after undergoing three rounds of IVF treatment.

“I had suffered for many years with what was believed to be pelvic inflammatory disease, but I was diagnosed with endometriosis in my early 20s. Medication helped initially, but over the years I’ve had to have open surgery and keyhole surgery to remove cysts,” she explains.

“It’s a difficult condition to manage because one day I will be fine, and the next I will be doubled over in pain and not even able to walk. To look at me, most people would never even know that I was ill other than my tummy swelling up.

“I became really depressed when I was told I would not be able to have children. I wanted more than anything to be a mother, and wondered what my goal in life would be if it wasn’t possible for me to have a family.

“After settling down with Darren we looked into options and were offered IVF. We were left under no illusions that it would be very difficult because the endometriosis had left my body in such a mess, but it was still absolutely soul destroying when the first two attempts failed.

“When I fell pregnant at the third attempt we were incredibly happy, but terrified. I was scared to move: I wanted the baby so much and I was worried that something would happen. During my pregnancy was the only time I never experienced the pain of endometriosis because all of the blood supply was concentrated on helping the baby grow.”

Denise enjoyed perfect health throughout the pregnancy, but Owen decided that he was going to make his entrance into the world 11 days earlier than planned. Darren and her parents drove her to hospital in Aberdeen, but were forced to pull over to the side of the road when Denise reached down and felt a foot.

In an amazing stroke of luck, they were able to flag down a passing police car and the officers took over midwife duties until an ambulance arrived. Owen was in the breech position and, terrifyingly, was not breathing when he was born because he was being choked by the umbilical cord.

Denise, however, remained perfectly calm throughout and knew within her heart that her little boy was going to be fine. He was whisked away to hospital, and her instincts were proved correct when a message came over the police radio to let her know the paramedics had found a heartbeat.

The endometriosis returned when Owen was about nine months old and the only treatment now available will be a hysterectomy. She says she will only consider surgery when her son is older and more able to do things for himself.

Denise refuses to be beaten by the condition and set out this year to show what can be achieved by a determination to overcome the pain. She has completed many fund-raising challenges with Darren and a close group of friends, raising money for the British Heart Foundation in memory of her brother and the MS Society for a friend who was diagnosed with the condition in her 30s.

After completing the River Ness 10K, she will also stage a fund-raising dinner dance with the proceeds going to the Aberdeen Fertility Clinic.

Denise says,

“I am by no means an elite athlete and it is only through the support of my family and friends that I have been able to complete all my challenges so far. But I have been determined to do it to show what can be done when we put our minds to it.

“The River Ness 10K will be very special, not just because it marks the end of the year of challenges, but because it has a special place in my heart with so many memories of my childhood in Inverness with my brother, whom I miss so much.

“To have Owen there at the finish will be truly amazing: by the law of averages he really shouldn’t be here and he genuinely is a miracle. I think it just shows that miracles really do happen and if you want something badly enough you should never give up hope.”

Many runners taking part in the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running – renowned for its scenic beauty and family-friendly atmosphere – will be taking part for charity. The main charity partner of the event is Macmillan Cancer Support and there are three lead charities – Chest Heart Stroke Scotland, Highland Hospice and MS Society.

Runners can also support 15 other affiliate charities, although hundreds of participants will use the event to raise money for good causes close to their own hearts.

In addition to the 10K, the event also incorporates the marathon, 10K Corporate Challenge, River Ness 5K and the Wee Nessie fun run for pre-schoolers. The finish line is at based around the Event Village at the Bught Park in Inverness where runners and spectators can enjoy the Baxters Food and Drink Fayre, a Sports Expo, live music and activities for children.

Entry is now open for all races online at www.lochnessmarathon.com until September 4, with places available in the Loch Ness Marathon for charity, club and overseas runners. The event is active on Facebook and on Twitter.

 

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Jul 282017
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

Owners of The Lounge, Kelly Daun and Norman Hatton keen to get involved with the event.

An Aberdeenshire salon is showing its commitment to the local community by supporting cyclists in the region’s newest bike ride.

In a bid to boost morale and community spirit, staff from The Lounge at Chapelton, near Newtonhill, will be providing complimentary leg and shoulder massages to cyclists at this year’s Chapelton Bike Ride.

Taking place on Sunday, September 3, the bike ride is held in aid of North East Sensory Services (NESS) and is returning to the village of Chapelton for the second year in a row. Last year, over 250 cyclists took part in the inaugural Chapelton Bike Ride, raising over £6,500 for NESS.

NESS, which has offices in Aberdeen, Elgin and Dundee, supports over 6,000 people in the North-east who have sight or hearing loss. The charity helps those with a sensory impairment to overcome the practical and emotional effects of serious sight and/or hearing loss, as well as guiding them to achieve more independence. 

Starting and finishing in Chapelton, the event’s 12-mile and 42-mile bike rides, as well as the newly launched 5K walk, will take participants around the picturesque Aberdeenshire countryside surrounding the area.

On completion of the bike rides, weary cyclists will then be treated to a variety of treatments from The Lounge that will help their muscles to recover faster. They will also receive a gift bag containing discount vouchers and other goodies.

Owners of The Lounge, Kelly Daun and Norman Hatton, both reside locally and were keen to get involved with such a large community event. The salon hadn’t opened at the time of the first Chapelton Bike Ride, so they felt it was important to give their support to cyclists fundraising for NESS.

Kelly said:

“Since the salon opened, we’ve been warmly welcomed by Chapelton residents and other local businesses. The Chapelton Bike Ride is a great way for us to give something back to our community, as well as providing a nice incentive to cyclists who are raising money for a very worthy cause.

“We hope that by offering complimentary massages, we can encourage even more cyclists to participate in the bike ride and raise funds for NESS. All of us at The Lounge are honoured to be involved in an event that benefits the entire community and we’re all looking forward to the day.”

Neil Skene, fundraising coordinator for NESS, said:

“We’re very thankful to the team at The Lounge for volunteering their services on the day of the Chapelton Bike Ride. We are aiming to make this year’s bike ride a fun day out for all the family and have already improved the range of activities on offer, so the complimentary massages will only add to this experience.

“All funds raised by cyclists, walkers and spectators will enable us to continue supporting our service users to overcome the practical and emotional effects of sight or hearing loss, so we are extremely grateful to all of those taking part.

“NESS staff will be there on the day to cheer on participants and take part in the sponsored 5K walk. It looks set to be a great day of sport and fun, so I urge people to get involved and enjoy the wide range of live music, food and drink stands, and family activities that will be on offer.”

The Chapelton Bike Ride, formerly the Great Stonehaven Bike Ride, is taking place on Sunday, September 3, and is raising funds for North East Sensory Services (NESS), a charity that supports over 6,000 sensory impaired people in the North-east.

North-east Sensory Services (NESS) promotes the needs of people with a sight or hearing loss.  NESS supports people with serious sight or hearing loss to overcome practical and emotional challenges and achieve independence.  Formerly Grampian Society for the Blind (GSB), North East Sensory Services (NESS) works with over 6,000 people with a sensory impairment in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dundee, Elgin and Moray.

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Jul 252017
 

With thanks to Leanne Carter, Account Manager, Tricker PR.

With over 40,000 different types of plants in bloom this summer, Pitmedden Garden is more than used to hosting colourful spectacles.

But nothing could prepare the historic country house for the vivid display of lycra and sequins worn by ABBAMANIA – the world’s longest-running ABBA tribute concert.

As classic hits like Waterloo and Dancing Queen ring out from the stage and the scent of honeysuckle and jasmine wafts through the air, the captivating show on Saturday, July 29 will be a true assault on the senses.

The elegant renaissance garden in Aberdeenshire, which is now managed by the National Trust for Scotland, will be one of the more unusual venues that ABBAMANIA has graced.

However, it’s a stage that the band members have been looking forward to all summer – and one which they believe the original line-up of Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngsta would have loved.

Scots singer Sharon Fehlberg – who has the alter ego of Anni-Frid – says,

“We have performed there once before and it is an absolutely fantastic venue. We were lucky enough to have beautiful weather, so fingers crossed the sun will shine for us again.

“People still love the music of ABBA after all these years because they created timeless pop songs. You just don’t get music like that now.

“The film and stage show Mamma Mia has introduced a new generation to their music, but we have always seen people of different ages in our audience, from five-year-olds to grandparents.

“We love playing in the north because audiences get so into it. The audience reaction is always the same – no matter what the age, they want to have fun and enjoy listening to great music. That kind of enthusiasm lights up the whole place, and as a performer that feeling is amazing.”

ABBAMANIA features the Eurovision winners’ most memorable hits from Winner Takes It All to Take A Chance. The group, which also includes Ewa Scott, Adam Robertson and Steven Galet, focuses on recreating ABBA gigs as audiences would have seen them in the 1970s.

That means that, unlike other tribute acts, there are not scores of backing dancers and complex dance routines. The ABBAMANIA show brings the energy of the performance, but focuses on vocals, musicianship and musical arrangements.

It’s an approach that has resulted in the act, which has been going since 1999, touring all over the UK, Europe and the Philippines, and a trip to the States is also on the cards for 2018.

Sharon Fehlberg of ABBAMANIA – the world’s longest running ABBA tribute act.

Sharon (36) joined ABBAMANIA four-and-a-half years ago after fending off competition from dozens of other hopefuls at an open audition.

She was writing dance music in the studio at the time, but never regrets her decision to don catsuits and capes every weekend.

Some might say that she was destined for a career in showbusiness. Her father is a musician and her mother – Lorraine – was lead singer in the 1970s pop group Middle of the Road, best known for their hit Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep.

She was just three-years-old when she entered a recording studio for the first time, and spent much of her childhood on the road touring with her mum when she was not at school.

Sharon says,

“Music is in my bones and I knew the very first time that I put a microphone in my hand that I wanted to sing. I never thought of doing anything else.

“However, the music business is very, very tough. My mum was quite well known but that meant nothing: I’ve had a lot of doors slammed in my face and a lot of disappointments over the years.

“But eventually your time comes and I was over the moon to join ABBAMANIA. It’s like a dream come true and I have loved every minute of it. I’ve always been a fan of their music, probably because I grew up around that European poppy harmony sound.

“My favourite ABBA song, ever since I was a little girl, is Dancing Queen. It is such a feel-good song and I never get bored singing it. Audiences love it, and it’s amazing to look out and see people enjoying themselves, singing along and dancing.”

ABBAMANIA at Pitmedden Gardens is one of a range of special events being held by the National Trust for Scotland, the country’s largest conservation charity, at its properties over the summer months.

Pitmedden Gardens is an outstanding example of a Scottish renaissance garden and the parterres at its heart are a masterpiece of intricate patterns and colour. It also has six miles of clipped boxed hedging.

The original garden was built in 1675, and it was recreated by the National Trust for Scotland in the 1950s based on designs found at the Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh.

Fancy dress is, of course, optional at the ABBAMANIA show, but all are advised to dress warmly. Audience members are encouraged to take a picnic and a rug – or low seating – and some marquee seating is also available.

Tickets are priced £12.50 for adults and £6.50 for children, and are available at www.nts.org.uk. Gates open at 6pm with the show getting underway at 7pm.

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, visit http://www.nts.org.uk/Join/Benefits/.

You can make a difference and help protect everything in our care. Donate online at https://www.nts.org.uk/Donations/

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Jul 252017
 

Well known television presenter, broadcaster and radio DJ, Grant Stott.

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

CLAN Cancer Support has introduced a new glittering fundraising event to the north-east calendar. The 2017 CLAN Crystal Ball will have a sparkling crystal theme and will be hosted by well-known television and radio host Grant Stott, who recently joined BBC Radio Scotland.

Taking the place of the CLAN Christmas Cracker, the charity is urging businesses, supporters and locals to get behind the upcoming event, which will be held on Saturday, October 28 at Ardoe House Hotel and Spa.

The CLAN Crystal Ball promises to be an evening not to be missed and will include a drinks reception, followed by a three-course dinner, entertainment and dancing to pop and soul band ‘Burlesque’.

Dr Colette Backwell, CLAN chief executive, said:

“The Crystal Ball promises to be something very special and will, I’m sure become a firm favourite with CLAN supporters.

“Our CLAN Ball’s give guests the opportunity to enjoy a fantastic night of entertainment whilst also playing a very important role in raising awareness of CLAN’s crucial cancer support services, and also contributing to the donations which allow us to continue to develop these services in the heart of communities, from Stonehaven in the south to Orkney and Shetland in the north.

“We are committed to providing this support in local areas and continuing to make a difference to as many people as possible who are affected by a cancer diagnosis. We hope that we can rely on the generosity of people and businesses across the region at the CLAN Crystal Ball and I look forward to welcoming Grant Stott and our guests on the night.”

Tables of 10 are available for £1,000 with individual tickets costing £100 each. Various sponsorship opportunities are also available for both businesses and individuals looking to support the event.

For more information, please contact Steph Dowling by calling 01224 651026 or email steph.dowling@clanhouse.org

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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