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).

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Jun 272014

With thanks to Gavin Mowat, Constituency Assistant to Christian Allard MSP.

Alex Salmond MSP with Stephen King (food bank manager) at the opening of Aberdeenshire North food bank in Inverurie, March 2014crop

Alex Salmond MSP with Stephen King (food bank manager) at the opening of Aberdeenshire North food bank in Inverurie, March 2014.

Alex Salmond and Christian Allard are backing the third Neighbourhood Food Collection organised by Tesco in stores across the North East.

From Thursday 3rd July to Saturday 5th July, all Tesco stores will invite shoppers to donate an item or two (or more!) from their weekly groceries to help those in their communities who are struggling to afford to eat.

Since launching their first Neighbourhood Food Collection in December 2012, Tesco will have helped to provide some 10.2 million meals to help Trussell Trust foodbanks across the UK.

As well as hosting the collection, Tesco will also “top-up” all food donations by 30%.

On March 24th 2014 Alex Salmond officially opened the Aberdeenshire North Foodbank in Inverurie. Volunteers from the Aberdeenshire North centre will be participating in next week’s collections at Tesco stores in Inverurie, Huntly and Ellon and are looking for people to help them hand out shopping lists to customers and to pack and sort donations.

Mr Salmond said:

“Aberdeenshire is one of the most affluent parts of our country, but even here there are people who can fall through the cracks and suddenly find themselves in challenging circumstances.

“Though the rise in foodbanks is a disgrace in a country as prosperous as Scotland, the work of local volunteers is heartening – demonstrating the best in community spirit.

“I’d encourage those able to give of their time next week to lend a hand with food collections at their nearest Tesco store and for shoppers to donate what they can to help those in need.”

Christian Allard MSP for North East Scotland will visit the Tesco store in Ellon next Friday (4th July) where he will meet with and assist volunteers in asking shoppers to donate some food.

Commenting, Mr Allard said:

“I look forward joining local volunteers next Friday in Ellon and helping out with this important task. I will be encouraging people to be as generous as they can with their donations.

“Foodbanks are incredibly important in assisting families but they should not be necessary, especially in prosperous areas like the North East. In this part of Scotland there is considerable wealth and I am sure people visiting Tesco on Friday [4th July] will have kindness to match.

“I have seen the empty shelves in North East foodbanks that has been caused by a rise in demand. I know the volunteers and staff at these charities do a tremendous job and this is a fantastic opportunity to support their efforts.”

According to the Trussell Trust, the number of people who used foodbanks in Scotland between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2014 rose to 71,428 compared to 14,332 people in the same period from 2012 to 2013 – an increase of 400%. The charity cites benefit changes by Westminster, delays to welfare payments and low income as the main reasons behind people seeking support from local foodbanks.

Volunteers are invited to help at Tesco stores in Inverurie, Ellon and Huntly from 9am to 5pm from 3rd to 5th July and should contact or 07967 364600.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.



Jun 132014

By Bob Smith.obesity-tax-for-kids cut

A loon is noo wy’in in
15 steen is his wecht
At the age o eleeven
Wi obesity is haen a fecht
Some fowk they are ca’en fer
Ma an Da ti be teen in han
Chairged wi child neglect
An as parents shud be banned
Noo ere’s na doot ava
His wecht is ower the tap
Bit is it the loon’s fowks
Fa shud be takkin the rap?
Did they neglect ti tell him
Faist food cwid be ti blame?
Or did they pile his plate
Fan the loon he aet at hame?
Bit chairgin ‘em wi neglect
Aat’s takkin things ower far
Jist supply him wi a bicycle
Ban him fae usin bus an car
Noo a hiv ma ain theory
Aboot foo the loon’s aat size
Maybe ower muckle burgers
Tapp’t aff wi some French fries
It cwid o coorse aa bi doon
Ti a faulty faimily gene
Far the loon he his a likin
Fer jam tarts an clottit cream
A hope fer the laddie’s sake
He manages ti lose wecht
An his parents dinna hiv ti
Tak on lawyers in a fecht
The nanny state is on the mairch
Fit next wull they rail agin?
Maybe fat fowk ha’en sex
Cos they’re causin an affa din?
We cwid maybe aa bi dee’in
Wi losin poonds roon the middle
If mannies canna see their willie
Fin they gyaang ti hae a piddle

© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2014
Photo: Christian Cable/Creative Commons
Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

Jun 062014

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has praised volunteers at South Church Hall, who have helped support local families over the past year.

MP 2014 Joseph Storehouse1Dr Whiteford met with volunteers Linda and John Sorrie, and Evie Watt on Thursday, to discuss the work the food-bank is doing locally.

The South Church Hall facility operates on the basis of referrals from Home Start North East Aberdeenshire, and currently supports six local families. The need, however, is estimated to be much greater.

Volunteer Linda Sorrie said:

“I have no doubt whatsoever that many more people need a bit of help when it comes to buying shopping. However, many will be too proud to accept a food parcel.”

Dr Whiteford said afterwards:

“Linda, John and Evie deserve our admiration for the time and hard work they have put into this project. That a volunteer group can do so much good is testimony to the strength of the community in Fraserburgh, the generosity of the congregation at South Church, and the kindness of those who have donated food and money.

“The fact, however, is that in this day and age, we shouldn’t need food banks. Leaning on the generosity of volunteers should not and cannot be a substitute for a properly funded system of social protection, and we have reached this stage because of swingeing UK Government cuts, which have hit families on low incomes hardest.

“Constituents can be assured that I will continue to pursue the ConDem UK Government on their reckless austerity agenda that is hitting people on low incomes the hardest. However, the only way to banish coalition austerity for good is by bringing full control of tax and benefits to the Scottish Parliament.”

The Scottish Government has recently announced a £500,000 Emergency Food Fund, to compliment the £500,000 already committed to charity FareShare for distribution of surplus food from retailers. The new fund will be used to respond to increasing demand for food banks, as well as responding to the underlying causes of food poverty.

Grants are on offer to food aid organisations in Scotland, and interested bodies should apply by July 11, via the Scottish Government’s website at

The volunteers at Fraserburgh South accept donations of food and money. These can be donated through Home Start North East Aberdeenshire on 01346 518930, or dropped off at Fraserburgh South Church Hall, Seaforth Street, Fraserburgh. Anyone in need of assistance from the food bank should contact Home Start NEA for a referral.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Apr 072014

With thanks to Dave Macdermid.


AFC female staff with Emma Fisher (centre front). Newsline Media Limited.

Following the very successful ‘Football Fans In Training’ initiative, Aberdeen Football Club, in partnership with the SPFL Trust, has announced that it’s running a similar programme for female supporters.
The 12-week physical activity and healthy eating course, commencing on Monday 21st April, is designed to help women become fitter and lose weight, and to maintain these changes on a long term basis.

Each week will involve a level of physical training at Pittodrie. A classroom session will advise fans on how to eat more healthily, and introduce easy steps that can be taken to become fitter.

The sessions will be delivered by AFC’s Claire Garrett and Emma Fisher. Claire commented:

“We are really pleased to offer our loyal female supporters the opportunity to participate in this enjoyable programme which, to date, has only been available to males. However, it has been recognised that there is both a requirement and a demand for our female fans to be included in the initiative.”

Emma added:

“The sessions will be taken by female members of staff for female participants and will create a comfortable environment for people to discuss any issues relating to weight loss or body confidence. We would also encourage fans to bring a friend along and give FFIT Women at AFC a go!”

For further information or to register for the programme, contact Participants must be aged 35 and 65 and be at least a dress size 16.

Dec 062013

Duncan Harley looks at the Guns or Butter nature of 1940’s Scotland

Land army memorial - Credit: Duncan Harley

The Women’s Land Army memorial at Clochan near Buckie – Credit: Duncan Harley

With the outbreak of war in 1939, food production became the focus of various governmental initiatives. Rationing of basic foodstuffs, such as meat, butter and sugar was introduced and wild harvests, such as foxglove leaves, nettles and rosehip berries, were collected in season by volunteers, including schoolchildren, organised by the Department of Health and on an organised and quite massive national scale.

Government departments, such as the Herring Industry Board and the Potato Marketing Board, advised mothers to cook with locally sourced produce.

In a somewhat Orwellian style pronouncement the Food Controller for the North East of Scotland, Mr G. Mitchell, announced that:

“Scotland’s traditional fare, such as tatties, porridge and herring can play a significant part in winning the war.”

Dishes, such as potato carrot pancake and carrot pudding, were promoted as both foodstuffs and also as tonics. Carrot marmalade recipes were published in the local press and eggless oatmeal cookies vied for prominence alongside carrot and oatmeal soup in parish magazines. Both oatmeal and carrots were in good supply, eggs and sugar were, of course, extremely scarce.

Many Scottish golf courses were ploughed up to provide agricultural land and even coastal courses, unsuitable for the growing of crops, suffered the indignity of having  sheep and cattle let loose to graze the turf which, not long before, had been lovingly tended by the green keepers.

Following a record silage yield in a 1940 trial, Aberdeenshire’s Ellon Golf Club gave permission to a local farmer to spread manure on the course in order to increase the yield for 1941 and over 20 acres of the Aberdeen Hazlehead course also fell to the agricultural plough.

Other UK golf clubs resorted to humour to combat the enemy such this extract from the Richmond Golf Club Temporary Rules, 1941:

“ Players are asked to collect bomb and shrapnel splinters to save these causing damage to the mowing machines and  in competitions during gunfire, or while bombs are falling, players may take shelter without penalty for ceasing play.”

Families were encouraged to grow food where possible

Many golf courses, while willing to support the war effort, looked for ways round the issue of the destruction of fairways and greens and quite a few hit on the idea of producing silage for winter livestock feed.

The phrase “long grass on north east courses will help to win the war” became currency until the reality of shortage of tractors and indeed hands on scythes, struck home.

The aptly named Ministry of Fuel and Power had, in any case, urged farmers to conserve tractor fuel in order to ‘speed up the tanks’ which, by this stage in the conflict, were battling it out in the Western Desert somewhat ironically on top of the, then unknown and untapped, oil reserves which could easily have fed the North African Campaign’s war machine.

Families were encouraged to grow food where possible and the Dig for Victory campaign gained momentum as local councils freed up parkland and wasteland nationwide to form allotments.

All of these measures were, of course, seen as necessary due to the restrictions on imports imposed by the war.

In particular, the freeing up of supply ships for the import of raw war materials was viewed as vital and any reasonable means of reducing the level of unnecessary imports was sought. The classic dilemma of the Keynesian economy at war was simplified into a simple Guns or Butter equation and the ‘Kitchen Front’ was born.

The term ‘Kitchen Front’ was, of course, more applicable to the efforts of those, mainly women at that time, who actually worked in the household kitchens up and down the land. As they tried to make some sense of new ingredients such as powdered eggs and corned beef in order to feed their families, a multitude of agricultural workers slaved backstage to produce the raw materials for the nation’s diet.

The Women’s Land Army (WLA) had been a creation of The Board of Agriculture in the early days of WW1.

Plough - Credit: Duncan Harley and Janice RayneEstablished in 1915 when Britain was struggling for both agricultural and industrial labour the Land Army eventually peaked at an estimated total quarter of a million female agricultural labourers towards of that war.

In the Second World War the Land Army was re-established under the command of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (Minagfish for short) and given an honorary head, Lady Denman.

As an ex chairman of the Women’s Institute Sub-Committee of the Agricultural Organisation Society and founder of the Smokes for Wounded Soldiers and Sailors Society, or SSS as it was commonly known, she had some experience of both agriculture and the needs of a wartime economy.

At the start of WW2, Lady Denman at first asked for volunteers, but when those were slow in coming forward, the good lady was advised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food that conscription would be required in order to fulfil food production quotas.

The Ministry of Supply appointed local co-ordinators to take charge of local recruitment and training and one such official, a Mrs Cook of Ballater, advised that the daughters of gamekeepers and smallholders would make ideal recruits.

In charge of recruitment for the Alford and Deeside areas, Mrs Cook was to be quoted in the local press as advising that “farmers now realise how well these girls have done in tackling general farm work.” However she doubted whether the demand for such labour could be met given the often conflicting priorities of the war time economy.

By mid 1944 the Women’s Land Army had over 80,000 members nationwide whose work had of course been supplemented by Italian and German prisoners of war.

Officially disbanded on 21st October, 1949, the WLA remained largely ignored in the history books and in line with the Bevin Boys and the Arctic Convoy seamen the WLA received scant recognition for many decades until NFU former president Jim McLaren, whose mother Katherine had been a Land Girl, recognised that there was no permanent memorial to the WLA in the UK.

Jim then set up a committee to rectify the situation and within 3 years over £50k was raised.

And so it was, on the 9th October, 2012, that Prince Charles unveiled the Women’s Land Army Memorial at Clochan with the words:

 “It gives me enormous pride to be able to join you on this exposed hilltop to pay a small tribute of my own to all of those remarkable Land Girls who did so much when the country was under threat.”

Overlooking the fertile fields of the Moray coast and designed by Yorkshire artist Peter Naylor, the Women’s Land Army memorial at Clochan near Buckie is well worth a visit if you are in the area.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Oct 172013

Aberdeen forwardAberdeen Forward invite you to learn how to save money by reducing your food waste.

‘Tis the Season to Waste Not-Want Not.

Food waste minimisation sessions are being held at Torry St Fitticks Church in Aberdeen this Saturday morning, and on Tuesday afternoon.

We‘re looking for 30 households in Torry to participate! You could be one of those households!

If you are interested in taking part or finding out more, just stop by Torry St. Fittick’s Parish Church on the day

The sessions will take place on Saturday 19 October, from 10am-12 noon, and on Tuesday 22 October, from 12 noon-2pm.

For more information contact:

Karen Wood or Gillian Marr
Zero Waste Scotland Coordinators
Aberdeen Forward
2 Poynernook Road
Aberdeen AB11 5RW
Phone 01224-560360

Torry St. Fittick’s Parish Church
Walker Road,
AB11 8DL

Jun 072013

By Trish Healy.

I am tired and thinking about all the things yet to do at home.

I hope tomorrow the bus is on time……..

The stress starts as soon as I ask myself, “shall I take the bus or take the car?”

The bus may or may not turn up on time.  I have stood so many times cursing then calming down with a deep breath or three.

Although it is faster with the bus lanes it costs an arm and a leg every day. You cannot really buy return tickets as the bus often does not appear as is scheduled after visits and then the next bus is a different number altogether and won’t accept your ticket.

What if I get the driver that nearly throws you out of your seat with his dodgy driving, I remember the man behind me swearing at him after being thrown forward for the umpteenth time, or the cheeky young driver that tells me ‘there is a bell’ if I want to get off the bus? There are of course many polite, lovely and safe drivers too.

Well what about the car then?  Traffic build up, irate drivers, cost of petrol, environmentally unfriendly, no parking to be found and then when I do find a space about 20 minutes later it is at the maternity unit and I need to be at the other end of the hospital.

By now I am cursing and wish I had taken the bus!

The bus usually wins, only due to the amazing people I get to meet at the bus-stop and the stories they tell. Now, at the hospital, I have a short time before the wards will let me in so I have the choice of waiting outside the ward or in the hospital cafe that sells nothing suitable for a vegan. Well fruit, there is always fruit.

The café staff seems tired, looking forward to the end of their shift. I am not allowed to eat my homemade sandwich that suits my dietary requirements but they cannot make me one similar… stress.

It is a long day when visiting from 8.30am to 5pm on chemotherapy day. Once I am finally on the ward I get to my partners bedside and he is asleep. Ah well, I will sit and relax for a little while, don’t want to wake him. “Don’t sit on the bed…..”  Oops, forgot.

Feeling like a school kid now, never would think I had been a ward sister in my time.

I notice the busyness of the ward and note that the people who make you feel best are the domestic and auxiliary staff who just seem to have more time for you.  The trained staff fly about, undertaking medications and admissions, calling doctors and technicians, not at a lot changed since my days.

I have been there a while now and need to use the toilet but, depending on the ward, I have to go down 3 flights of stairs and walk along a long corridor before I get to them. Note to self… do not drink so much when visiting, even if it is a full day.

My thoughts are always with my partner and how he is coping, treatment burns. Unable to speak, I look back at the 8 hours. My head can be full of so many outcomes, I need to cry but there is nowhere to go where I feel safe. Although there is the small hospital chapel, it is nice there, I like the stillness, but I cannot cry and then visit my partner, it would not be fair. It is not about me after all, it is about him.

He smiles when he wakes up and sees me and my thoughts disappear, I smile and love him back.  The visit passes quickly and then we have to say our goodbyes. A nurse has told me I should have left 5 minutes ago.  Off I go to the lifts which sometimes work and sometimes do not, walk the long corridor to sit an hour’s wait at the bus stop because it has not arrived again.

I am tired and thinking about all the things yet to do at home.

I hope tomorrow the bus is on time……..

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
May 312013

By Bob Smith.

A makkin o tatties
Fresh fae the dreel
Wi a dollop o butter
It fair tastes richt weel

Duke o York or Kerr’s Pink
An wi earth they are barkit
They aa miles aheid
Than fae ony supermairket

Majestic or Golden Wonder
Micht gyang throwe the bree
Bit onything is far better
Than Maris Piper tae me

Fin they’re bein plunted
An in earth they are stuck
Myn the best fertiliser’s
A gweed pile o muck

So praise the humble tattie
It’s gweed an it’s cheap
An nourishes yer body
Like an affa fine neep

Jist myn fin yer buyin
Taste it dis maitter
Auld varieties are best
Nae eens fit cam later

Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2013

Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

May 312013

Can you be an animal lover and eat animals? Would it be better to say “I am a pet lover”? Trish Healy questions the nature of our relationship with animals and the food industry.

People are happy to love their pets and spend much time and attention including toys & treats upon them but would be horrified at the thought of killing, skinning, chopping, cooking and eating them.

The same people, however, would be happy have this done to a ‘farm’ animal.

I ask you, why is one beings life less important and of less value than the other? If a ‘pet’ is abused there is an outcry and yet, are we not abusing the animal we see as food?

The same lamb that is cooed over in the fields at springtime is thought not about when on our plates. We give our children cuddly toys, pigs, calves, lambs, and serve the same animal to them in the guise of a breaded dinosaur.

Just how much are we as the consumer aware of the horrors of the slaughterhouse? Do we connect that we pay the hand that takes the life? We don’t want to know that part, better hidden, no glass walls to see through.

What is humane about a life not given but taken?  How many meat eaters have watched any footage at all of a slaughterhouse? It’s not pretty, it’s not humane, its soul destroying but hey it tastes good…do we have the right to kill because of taste?

Free range – at least they have had a good life. Has anyone truly investigated this free range or do you take the labels word for it?

In 2011 an undercover investigation by Hillside Animal Sanctuary made public the horrific conditions on a Norfolk UK ‘Freedom Food Farm’, a scheme – backed by the RSPCA – which is meant to ­guarantee high animal welfare standards . The farm was suspended from the freedom food scheme but the animals where left in distress.

We are brainwashed by so many adverts that deviate from truth. How many are aware that the cow’s milk on the shelves is the milk a baby calf went without?

The male is the by-product of this industry and is too costly to maintain so off to slaughter this baby goes and we can have the milk for our coffee, ice cream, goodness there’s even milk in crisps.

Gummi Bears, a children’s favourite sweet contains gelatine which is made from the bones of mainly pigs and cows, unsuitable then for the vegetarian, vegan, and those religions that do not allow the consumption of certain animals.

Many items bought do not by law have to state certain ingredients; wine for example contains proteins, egg whites and isinglass, a derivative of sturgeon bladders, Safer to buy the vegan version if you wish to stay clear of any animal agents

We are a nation of fast food junkies who pay no heed to why these meals are so cheap as long as they stay this way.

Who wants to think of the battery caged hens, twisted in the packed cages, featherless and broken? They will be barely a year old before they go to feed the fast food outlets.

Who cares that they are hatched in their thousands, the males minced in the mincing machine and the females kept for the cages or the free range market, same beginning…same end. They are no longer living beings but commodities as are all animals raised for the food industry.

I ask when are we as a species going to ‘evolve’ from the ‘food chain’ and become compassionate to those beings we share this planet with.

In past years, women were laughed at for believing they were entitled to vote; that the black slave would be free; that women would preach in the ministry. So I ask you to nurture these thoughts I have put into words and ask yourself, “to eat without meat?” … why not?

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.