Oct 132017

Sheena Mann with her father, Alex Mann who passed away Feb 21 2017.

By Sheena Mann.

‘The Alex Mann Memorial Event’ will take place on 20 October 2017 in aid of Diabetes UK, to raise awareness of type 2 diabetes.

I am organising the event because my father passed away in February of this year from complications arising from type 2 diabetes.
He was only diagnosed five years before his death, but like most people he unknowingly had it for many years before this.

The complications associated with diabetes are many and symptoms are few if any until the disease reaches a dangerous level. Many people are unaware of how dangerous and deadly a disease this actually is and many are unaware of even having it.

People who are affected or are at risk need to be educated, along with doctors and nurses they need to know what to look out for, they need to know what can happen and the speed in which things can happen when it becomes too late to treat.

Diabetes can lead to heart attacks, strokes, peripheral vascular disease, blindness, kidney failure, weight loss, amputations to name but a few. My father needed an amputation of his lower leg to save his life but he was too ill and frail for such a major operation, he passed away four weeks after being admitted to hospital.

We had his 81st birthday in hospital on the 16th of February and he passed away on the 21st.

The Diabetic Association was set up in 1934 by novelist HG Wells and Dr RD Lawrence – both of whom had diabetes. It became the British Diabetic Association (BDA) in 1954 and Diabetes UK at the turn of the millennium.

Radical from the beginning, the charity aimed to ensure that everyone in the UK could gain access to insulin, whatever their financial situation. Its mission statement was:

“to promote the study, the diffusion of knowledge, and the proper treatment of diabetes in this country.”

The Association campaigned for the creation of the National Health Service and argued that people with diabetes should take an active role in managing their condition. In 1939 the first diabetes voluntary self-support group was set up. There are now over 400 local voluntary groups, providing support and information to people with diabetes across the UK.www.diabetes.org.uk 

The event called ‘The Alex Mann Memorial Event’ will take place at Nigg Bay Golf Course, St Fitticks Road, Aberdeen from 6.30pm, entry is free.

We will have various retailers present including; Usbourne Books, Forever Living Products, Creepy Robot Collectables, Beauty and Jewellery, a reflexologist doing facials, Lily’s Dough pizza van, also Glitter Tattooist Cat on the Moon, a photo booth by Niall Bain Photography and more.

There will also be sideshow games including a tombola with prizes from North Link Ferries, His Majesty’s Theatre, Flash Photography and many more.

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Jul 212017

By Duncan Harley

The British Heart Foundation Scotland will be a major beneficiary from funds raised at ‘Blast from the Past’ – a Classic Car Show featuring rare and unique vehicles from across the North-east – on Saturday 22 July 2017.

“We are delighted that Margaret and Ian McWilliam along with their daughters Jade and Iona have accepted our invitation to join us at the event” says co-organiser Alan Leonard.

“The McWilliams, a local family from Kintore, give up a lot of their time in support of the BHF as their lives have been directly impacted by the effects of heart disease.”

Co-organiser Alan Leonard and main sponsor Alan Wallace of Aberdeen’s AW Autotech chose the Inverurie venue for this inaugural event due to the suitability of the site.

“The area we are using is all in tarmac” says Alan “and we also have the exclusive use of the entire in-door shopping mall and display area.”

“More importantly” he says “From our first contact with Thainstone management they have offered us all of the professional support we could possibly wish for in order to ensure that the event will be a success.”

Alongside the classic cars, the day features family fun complete with kids rides, bouncy castles, music and competitions.

For the young and not so young the show features live action including an Auto-Test competition, parade laps of exhibitors cars and a giant Scalextric Track guaranteed to take the breath away from both adults and kids.

Alongside the more than 200 Classic Car display entries, the show will feature motor-cycles, commercial vehicles plus many rare and unique vehicles. Stars of the show include a 1936 Auburn ‘Boattail’ Speedster and a rare 1961 Daimler Dart.

‘A Blast from the Past’ runs from 10am – 4pm this coming Saturday.
Admission £5 – children under 12 free.
Free parking on site.
More information at http://www.nes-blastfromthepast.co.uk/car-show/

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Mar 022017

Stewart Stevenson MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast has pledged to work with the Arrhythmia Alliance and its sister organisation, AF Association, to demand the creation of a national screening programme for people over 65 at risk of AF. Currently, one in three of all people with AF have not even been diagnosed and are at an increased risk of suffering an AF-related stroke.

Stewart Stevenson at the Arrhythmia Alliance event in the Scottish Parliament.

At a Know Your Pulse event held in Holyrood hosted by the Arrhythmia Alliance and AF Association, Stewart Stevenson MSP supported our call upon the Scottish Parliament to debate the need for an AF screening programme for people over 65 in Scotland.
This event raised awareness of the importance of a simple manual pulse check in helping to detect AF, Parliamentarians who attended had a pulse check and an ECG hand-held recording.

Trudie Lobban MBE, Founder & CEO, Arrhythmia Alliance, who hosted the event, said:

“Manual pulse rhythm checks are a simple, cost-effective way to identify people with irregular heart rhythms, such as AF, which is why we are calling for a debate in the Scottish parliament on the value of screening for AF.

“A manual pulse check, is so simple to do, takes less than a minute and does not cost the NHS – but the benefits in preventing AF-related strokes and unnecessary deaths are enormous. Everyone needs to be aware of their pulse and how to manually check for an irregular rhythm.”

Stewart Stevenson MSP added:

“I was shocked to hear about the numbers of people walking around today completely unaware that they have AF and who could be at risk of a debilitating or life-threatening AF-related stroke.

“I fully endorse the work of the Arrhythmia Alliance and AF Association and their call for a national debate on AF screening in Scotland. The pulse check I had taken showed just how simple and easy it is to identify someone who may have AF.”

AF is the most common heart rhythm abnormality, and is associated with a third of ischaemic strokes, which are typically more severe and debilitating for the patient. Data from stroke registries show that both unknown and untreated or under treated AF is responsible for most of these strokes.

The tragedy is that most could be prevented if efforts were directed towards detection of AF before stroke occurs, through screening or case finding, and the provision of oral anticoagulant medications to prevent clots being formed in the heart, dislodging to be carried to an artery of the brain, blocking the circulation and causing an AF-related stroke.

For more information about the Arrhythmia Alliance and AF Association, please go to: www.heartrhythmalliance.org

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Oct 212016

With thanks to Ian McLaren, PR account manager, Innes Associates.

convergedpic To mark European Restart A Heart Day an Aberdeen business has installed at its premises a potentially life-saving piece of kit which can be used by the local community
North-east IT company Converged Communication Solutions has purchased a defibrillator for its premises at the Spires Business Park on Mugiemoss Road.

Local companies and residents will be able to access the equipment in an emergency during office hours.

The firm’s defibrillator is being added to the public access register which is currently being compiled by the Scottish Ambulance Service register.

This means that should anyone in close proximity suffer a cardiac arrest and require assistance, a 999 operator can direct someone to the defibrillator.

Converged, which specialises in providing Internet connections, telephone systems and IT support services, offered CPR training to its entire workforce, with around half of its 30 employees taking part.

The ‘shock box’ was fitted to coincide with European Restart A Heart Day, which is organised by the European Resuscitation Council and takes place annually on October, 16.  The initiative aims to increase survival rates from out of hospital cardiac arrests by improving CPR knowledge and providing people with the confidence to use it. To mark the day, hundreds of CPR training events were held throughout Britain on Tuesday, 18 October.

Defibrillators give someone suffering a cardiac arrest more time while an ambulance gets to a patient’s location. It is estimated that every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces a person’s chance of survival by 10 per cent.

Public access defibrillators are designed for anyone to use on someone in cardiac arrest. The devices talk users through the steps required, including CPR and patient analysis, and will only deliver a shock to the patient if it detects that one is required. This means that there is no chance of malicious or accidental usage.

Neil Christie, managing director at Converged, said:

“Each year, an estimated 3,500 people of all ages in Scotland suffer an out of hospital cardiac arrest. The first few minutes after one has occurred is crucial to survival and defibrillation can help.  Increasing the ease of access to public access defibrillators is important in helping to improve the chances of survival.

“As a responsible employer with a growing workforce, we felt we should install a defibrillator onsite in case the need arose. The device can also be used by local businesses and nearby residents.

“European Restart A Heart Day is a great initiative to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest and how to deliver CPR and defibrillation. Public access defibrillators, such as ours, are straightforward to use and guide users through the steps required. I will be encouraging the entire Converged workforce to familiarise themselves with the device and its location to mark European Restart A Heart Day.”

Converged Communication Solutions is an independent, Aberdeen-based IT support, telephony and Internet service provider. Established in 2005, the company has grown from a two-man operation into a fully integrated communications company with around 30 staff, which includes a strong technical support team. The firm provides businesses across the north-east with a single and accountable service for their telephony, Internet and networking requirements.

Converged is an official partner on CityFibre’s Aberdeen project which has brought a Gigabit speed fibre network to the city. More information about Converged Communication Solutions is available at www.converged.co.uk or by telephoning 01224 656380.

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Oct 202016

Aberdeen-based artist Brian Keeley tells Aberdeen Voice about his new exhibition. With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.


The piece records one year of artist, Brian Keeley’s new post-transplant life

Brian Keeley required a heart transplant. He spent months in hospital, and was able to come through the other side.
The NHS teams that helped keep him alive were the subject of a series of portraits he painted. His observations powerfully record his experience, his carers, and blend art and technology from a unique perspective.

Now he brings us new work. In his own words, this is what will be on show starting 3 November at Aberdeen University.

“The piece I am creating will incorporate imagery created from MRI scans.  I am working in collaboration with staff at the University of Aberdeen’s Biomedical Imaging Centre to produce the images which will form the basis of my work.  

“It will be a ‘self-portrait’ showing my body from the inside, as opposed to the recognisable likenesses we see when artists generally portray the ‘outside’ surface.

“The title ‘Renaissance’ refers to my personal sense of rebirth following my heart transplant in November 2013. That experience now informs my work in a very direct way.  The long recovery and ongoing physical constraints it placed upon me has meant that I no longer work in a teaching capacity.

“It has, however, afforded me the opportunity to prioritise my energies towards revitalising my own creative practice.

“I am interested in the way that the technology of today allows us to see my new heart, which I share with its previous owner.

brian-keely-image“The piece also records one year of my new post-transplant life, which I will represent by all of the empty packets from medication I have used in the last year. Without this medication I cannot survive, and so it acts as a protective ‘shield’ against organ rejection.

“The full-body image references the familiar image of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.

“Da Vinci was an an artist with a fascination for the medical and anatomical functions of the human body – at a time when the very idea of heart transplantation – and of creating images from inside the body – would have been unthinkable.”

(Artist’s external website   https://briankeeley.wordpress.com)

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Jul 212016

With thanks to Ian McLaren, PR account manager, Innes Associates.

Lonach Hall defibrillator - Jennifer Stewart, Lonach Society, and Paul Hicks, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Jennifer Stewart  with Paul Hicks of Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, and members of the Lonach Highlanders and local firefighters.

The organisers of the annual Lonach Highland Gathering and Games, the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, have launched a fundraising campaign to install lifesaving equipment in upper Strathdon.

The society has launched an appeal to raise nearly £7,000 to fund the purchase of four public access defibrillators that will be installed at venues in the Aberdeenshire valley.

It follows the installation of a defibrillator, funded by the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, at the Lonach Hall.

Defibrillators give someone suffering a cardiac arrest more time while ambulances get to a patient’s location. It is estimated that every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces a person’s chance of survival by 10 per cent. In remote, rural locations such as Strathdon, where the nearest major hospital is over 40 miles away in Aberdeen, access to defibrillation could prove vital.

Retained firefighters from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Strathdon fire station, which is made up mainly of Lonach Highland and Friendly Society members, were on hand at the unveiling of the Lonach Hall defibrillator.

The Strathdon fire station, like Scotland’s other 355 fire stations, acts as a base for local people to learn vital CPR skills that can potentially save someone’s life. The training is provided in partnership with British Heart Foundation Scotland, which has donated Call Push Rescue training kits to the stations. Anyone interested in this free CPR training should contact their local fire station.

To provide the rural community with the potentially lifesaving defibrillators, the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society is seeking support from local businesses, organisations and local benefactors to help fund the purchase. The four bright green ‘shock boxes’ will be placed in prominent public locations throughout the rural Aberdeenshire community.

Public access defibrillators are designed for anyone to use on someone in cardiac arrest. The devices talk users through the steps required, including CPR and patient analysis, and will only deliver a shock to the patient if it detects that one is required. This means that there is no chance of malicious or accidental usage.

The sites earmarked to host one of the devices are Glenbuchat Hall, Corgarff Hall and locations in Glenkindie and Kildrummy.

Lonach Hall was chosen to host Strathdon’s first defibrillator due to its role as an important community facility. The well-used venue has been a fixture of the Bellabeg area since 1845 and hosts a range of functions, including weddings, concerts, meetings, dances and corporate events. It is also the venue for the annual Lonach Highland Ball which is organised by the society and is held the week following the annual Lonach Highland Gathering.

Jennifer Stewart, secretary and chief executive of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, said:

“The society was founded to preserve highland culture and promote community cohesion and charitable giving, all of which still run through its core today. Supporting the local community is imperative to the society and our annual gathering continues to make a significant contribution to the local economy. We always strive to increase the scope of that contribution and this fundraising initiative is part of that.

“Strathdon is a beautiful, rural location, but one that can take some time for emergency services to get to. Defibrillators can prove crucial to increasing the chances of a patient’s survival in the minutes before an ambulance arrives. With a predominately older population, installing these pieces of lifesaving kit in the local area makes a lot of sense, particularly as no such provision currently exists.

“Applications for grant funding have been made, but any contribution from businesses, organisations or individuals would be warmly received. Our aim is to raise enough funding to have the additional four defibrillators installed by the end of 2016.”

This year sees the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society’s showpiece event reach a major milestone. The 175th Lonach Highland Gathering and Games will take place in Bellabeg on Saturday, 27 August. To mark the anniversary, the Lonach Highlanders will be joined at the games and on their march round the local area prior to the games commencing by the Atholl Highlanders, Europe’s only private army.

Established in 1823, by Sir Charles Forbes, 1st Baronet of Newe and Edinglassie, the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society is a charitable organisation based in Strathdon, Aberdeenshire. The society organises the annual Lonach Gathering at Bellabeg Park, Strathdon, which is held on the fourth Saturday of August. The main attraction at the gathering is the march of the Lonach Highlanders, a unique body of non-military men.

Further information on the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, the Lonach Highlanders and the annual Lonach Highland Gathering can be found at www.lonach.org.

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Oct 242013

UTG long - Credit: Mike ShepherdBy Bob Smith.

Widdie’s noo back,wi mair bliddy cack
The fifty million is back on the table
Bit only ye see, if wi him ye agree
Aat there’s only ae horse in the stable

John Halliday’s plan, seems nae aneuch gran
The gairdens they still wull be sunken
Is it his fear, aat fowk they drink beer
In the airches wi an attitude drunken?

The plans need transformin, afore the mannie is warmin
Tae ony ideas the chiel wid see fit
If it’s nae tae street livel, t’is the wark o the devil
Onything else Sir Ian sees as shit

The P&J it dis cry, compromise wi shud try
Nae chunce o ess cumin tae pass
Sir Ian his a goal, tae fill in the bowl
An smore the gairdens en masse

Widdie’s “olive brunch”, fin it cums tae the crunch
Is nithing the sort if ye think
An ultimatum mair like, an een wi shud spike
Tho the eyn gemme is noo at its brink

So fa’ll raise the bar, in ess oot an oot war?
Wull fifty million bi seen as a bribe?
An concrete wull flow, on the girss doon alow
On champagne Sir Ian wull imbibe

Can the gairdens survive, fowks hopes kept alive
Or micht it dee in a nest o vipers?
Wull siller win the day, in aa ess affray
Help’t oot bi some ither snipers?

© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2013

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Mar 092012

By Bob Smith.

Noo the mannie a’m thinkin o
Is nae a chiel fae Roman stock
Nae an emperor nor a general
Mair a gairden pinchin bloke

The fowk in the Acsef’ “Senate”
“Hail Seizer” they micht roar
“The plebeians o oor gweed city
Wi them ye’ve settled a score”

Julius Caesar wore a laurel wreath
T’wis ti hide his baldy heid
Oor “Seizer” micht weer a money belt
Ti hide proceeds o corporate greed

Like an assassin in Roman times
Oor “Seizer” he wields the dagger
Syne stiks it in the city’s hairt
An the bonnie gairdens stagger

Anither Caesar kent as Nero
He fiddled fyle Rome burned
Wull oor “Seizer” play bagpipes
As the UTG grun’s owerturn’t?

Oor “Seizer” shud read history
The Roman Empire it did faa
Helpit by “ower the tap” spendin
On thingies nae needed ava

Aa ye fowk o Aiberdeen toon
Faa voted fer the “Web” design
A hope iss ye dinna live ti regret
Somewye awa doon the line

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2012

Nov 042011

By Rt.Hon. George Maloney II  ( CEO Open Spaces UnLtd. )

On Saturday the 22nd of October a company called Open Spaces UnLtd went to the City Gardens design exhibition to unveil their ‘revolutionary’ proposal.

The group felt that the exhibition of only the 6 official options left a gaping hole in the public debate and led citizens to believe that the diggers were on their way: that all that was left to do was to pick one of the pretty pictures on the walls in the academy.

We held our exhibition outside on Belmont Street. We spoke to many hundreds of people that day and tallied up over 300 votes in 5 hours. We suspected that there couldn’t have been a lot more than that entered the exhibition during the day.

We feel that the omission of our proposal and others like it from the exhibition has had a profoundly negative effect on the public’s perception of the project.

Our client feedback forms from the day showed that a huge majority of those who attended felt that our proposal and others like it ought to have been included in the design exhibition.

We would like to thank all of those who voted for Option 7 and we look forward to seeing you all at our next public event.

Oct 282011

A new music event in Aberdeen aims to rock up support for Aberdeen Royal Infirmary after saving the life of the father of a local musician. With thanks to Eoin Smith.

Jimstock, a one-day music festival held in Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom on the 5th of November, is the brainchild of well-known local musician Jamie Rodden, 27.
With the help of a cast of Aberdeen’s most popular bands and singers, he aims to rake in cash for the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary departments that helped his dad Jim Rodden, 55, recover from heart surgery earlier this year.

Jamie states:

“Dad ended up staying in Wards 19, 20 and 21, and struck up a real relationship with the staff there. They got him through a very difficult time. The proceeds from the event will go to those wards as a thank you gesture.”

What medics initially thought was a muscle injury turned out to be the start of a terrifying period for the family. Jim, himself a stalwart of the local music scene, who runs the Cellar 35 Open Mic night, said:

“I was complaining of pain for weeks, but the doctor had put it down to muscular pain. One night it got so awful; my chest was thumping, and at one point I felt as though I was nailed to the floor. I thought to myself, ‘This is it.’ I thought I was going to die.”

Jim was admitted to hospital after his heart attack in May and underwent gruelling triple bypass surgery. A further operation was needed when Jim suffered another attack six weeks later.

The dad-of-three said:

 “I met a tremendous group of people at the hospital who made my time there much easier.  I’m still friends with many of them.”

The local community has rallied round in support of Jimstock, with Aberdeen City Council and Grampian Police lending their support alongside other Aberdeen organisations.

Local music blog – Hercules Moments is covering Jimstock, while Cinergi – the Aberdeen University Film-Making Society – plans to produce a documentary of the event, which will be screened in the Belmont Cinema in early 2012.

But the crux of Jimstock is the live music. Jamie and his own band Shy James will be taking to the stage alongside Jim and a host of other top local talent including Stanley, country rocker Amy Sawers, The Lorelei and The Tijuana Sun.

Jamie added:

“We have a special guest headliner for the show – a band who are making a great name for themselves at the moment – but I won’t reveal who they are until the Monday before the event. The support I’ve had so far has been fantastic, and I am truly grateful to everyone involved.”

Tickets for Jimstock cost £15 and are available from One Up,Belmont Street,Aberdeen.

More information can be found at www.facebook.com/jimstock2011