Dec 232016

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

Members of the public are being urged to snap up the final tickets for a draw which will see one lucky person take delivery of a new Mini, while raising funds for leading north-east cancer charity CLAN Cancer Support.

The car, which was kindly part-sponsored by Domino Pizza, is on show in the Bon Accord & St Nicholas shopping centre in Aberdeen prior to finding a new owner in the charity’s Christmas Eve raffle draw.

The draw is also being supported by the area’s Rotary clubs who have helped conduct an annual car raffle since 2000.

People will be able to put themselves in the running to win the Mini by buying a ticket at CLAN’s base on Westburn Road in Aberdeen, or in the Bon Accord mall.

Dr Colette Backwell, chief executive of CLAN, said:

“Tickets for the Mini raffle have been sold throughout 2016 at everything from coffee mornings to agricultural shows and the Rotary stand in the Bon Accord Centre. As well as raising vital funds for CLAN, the raffle also helps to raise awareness of CLAN’s services throughout north-east Scotland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland.

“We would like to thank Domino Pizza for kindly sponsoring the car this year, the Rotary Clubs for their continued support and everyone who has purchased a ticket to date – it really means a lot to us.

“Tickets for the raffle can also be bought from CLAN House, Bon Accord or from our range of charity shops across the north-east so we really are hoping that people will show their support to the prize draw. You never know, you might just be the lucky one!”

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, Buckie, Inverurie, Fraserburgh, Lossiemouth, Peterhead, Stonehaven, Turriff, Kirkwall and Lerwick.

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

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Dec 162016

With thanks to Stuart Mitchell.

Audio dramas from Dr Who publishers Big Finish are among the many donations received.

The campaign to raise money for Aberdeen’s Phoenix Club has received some very special prizes from some great celebrity supporters.
Comedian Jason Manford has sent a signed DVD. From the world of publishing Lee Child has sent a signed first edition of his latest novel, US bestselling author (and creator of the TV Show Bones) Kathy Reichs is sending a set of books, and award winning Michael Morpugo is sending a signed book.

We are also getting some audio dramas from Dr Who publishers Big Finish.

Direct donations have come from bestselling authors Kim Newman and Paul Cornell.

We have also received something very special from two of Scotland’s best-selling and most critically acclaimed writers, Denise Mina and AL Kennedy. As well as kindly sending signed books, they have each invited suggestions for the name of a character in forthcoming works; Denise Mina in her next book and AL Kennedy in a forthcoming short story (though that might be a couple of years before publication). The only condition is that it is a sensible and realistic name.

Stuart Mitchell from local company SM Marketing, who is running this campaign said:

“These are incredible gifts from some amazing people which should help to get the fundraising total up, these are a very generous and rare prizes, allowing you to see your name in print by your favourite author, we couldn’t ask for better support.

“Anyone who donates £10+ to the campaign, puts their name in when they donate at and then email me at and tell me which draw you would like to be entered into. I will add you to the draw to name the character after yourself or a loved one.

“If you donate £20 you will be entered into the draw twice and so on. These are very generous and rare prizes, allowing you to see your name, or that of a loved one, in print by your favourite author is very special. It’s great to have these bestselling authors support us in this way. These will bring the campaign to a national audience.

We are still looking from support from local businesses and I know times are tough in Aberdeen but if any businesses can do anything to help please get in touch.”

Best-selling, Costa Award Winning author AL Kennedy says:

“I’m very happy to be giving two signed books to help raise funds for the Phoenix Club. I am also offering the chance for you to have your name used in a short story in a forthcoming collection. My stories are usually miserable… but I do promise not to kill you. Unless you want me to.”

For further information, or if you can help in anyway please go to: to donate or contact for further information on how you can help.

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Jun 242016

James Dickson2With thanks to Aberdeen Magical Society Media Team.

An Aberdeen-based magician has scooped two prestigious prizes in a hard-fought magic competition. James Dickson was awarded the Ulster Cup for Close-Up Magic and the President’s Plate by a panel of his peers at the Aberdeen Magical Society.

James, a prolific magical inventor whose tricks are used by magicians around the world, triumphed with a creative act which culminated with a signed coin appearing inside a sealed tin of peas.

He says,

“Magic is an art form that has helped me find my place in the world. Competitions are an opportunity for me to create and collate ideas, and it means a lot to me when other people like one of my performances.”

The Ulster Cup is presented to the magician who displays the best technical skill and entertainment value in Aberdeen Magical Society’s annual close-up magic competition. The President’s Plate is awarded by the society’s current president to his favourite act of the competition.

Although James has won the President’s Plate on two previous occasions, this is the first time he has lifted the Ulster Cup as he wowed the judges with his creative magic and comedic timing. He says,

“Magic is an art form at its heart and all art is an expression of the individual. The more I perform and study magic the more I end up learning about myself.

“When I create a trick I do not sit down and think what I can do that is unique or individual to me; instead I explore ideas that I find interesting and it can lead to some unusual places.

“Even if it means investing two years of work to find a solution to a problem I am willing to go that far – and what’s more, I have. This open approach to magic and commitment has allowed my work to be picked up by others who can see the value of my efforts.

“I have no idea where magic might take me but if the experiences, travel, friendships, discoveries and fulfilment that I have experienced so far are anything to go by, I am looking forward with excitement.”

James, who cites his early influences as TV stars Paul Daniels, David Copperfield and David Blaine, has always been fascinated by the challenge presented by magic, likening it to the finest ‘whodunit’ mystery. But it was joining Aberdeen Magical Society that he feels really allowed him to hone his craft.

He explains,

“Before I joined Aberdeen Magical Society I was happy self-studying magic, but upon joining I discovered why being part of a magic club is so important for a magician.

“Aberdeen Magical Society has a library of magic that covers many topics, and has rare and out-of-print materials that can help conjurors advance in their magic. Moreover, the wealth of knowledge amongst the members is staggering and the advice I have received over the years has helped me tremendously.

“The society is established enough to attract many of the greatest magicians in the world to come and lecture, and at every meeting there is magic to see and opportunities to perform tricks that you are working on. And to top it all – it’s fun! I have made great friends and it’s fantastic that every couple of weeks I can hang around with people who share the same passion in life.

“I would recommend anyone with an interest in performing or studying magic – who can keep a secret – to join.”

Aberdeen Magical Society was founded in 1926, and is one of the most active magical societies in the country. With a membership ranging from full time professionals to amateur hobbyists, all those with a genuine interest in magic are welcome to join. Providing a warm and welcoming environment for magicians in the north east of Scotland, Aberdeen Magical Society is dedicated to developing the art of magic. In 2016, the society celebrates its 90th anniversary.

For more information, visit or like Aberdeen Magical Society on Facebook at

Jun 172016

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

Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association launches new tourism awards at Dunnottar Castle

Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association tourism awards launch, at Dunnottar, July 2014.

The Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA) are heading into the finishing straight, and those who want to enter the prestigious scheme are being urged to get a sprint on to beat the fast-approaching deadline.
Entries close later this month on June 30, and ACSTA organisers are sounding a final call to businesses and individuals across the region to ensure they are part of the annual showcase of top tourism talent.

The awards – now in their fourth year – celebrate the very best of the area’s tourism offering, from restaurants and pubs to hotels and guest houses.

There are also accolades for top events and visitor attractions, and a brand new category for best sports event.

Individuals who make a real difference to the experience of tourists – whether they are visiting for business or leisure – will also be recognised with sections for hospitality heroes, rising stars and local ambassadors.

ACSTA chairman Peter Sangster says the competition is heating up, but organisers want to see even more entries to ensure those who are making a significant impression on the tourism sector get credit where it is deserved.

He adds,

“The awards are not just for large operators and hotels that are part of a national or multi-national chains – this is about recognising those who go the extra mile to provide excellent service regardless of their size.

“We sometimes hear that operators have not entered because they are small in comparison to other entrants. That’s irrelevant, as what we are interested in hearing about is what they do improve the tourism offering, not how many covers they seat or what their turnover is.

“Over the past three years we have had a wide variety of winners, from charities and community groups to national chains. There is a huge benefit to taking part as even being shortlisted shows customers that a very high quality experience is being offered.

“The awards are completely free to enter, so there is absolutely nothing to lose. With the addition of the new category this year for sporting events, there is now even wider scope for operators to showcase what they provide. I would urge anyone who has not already entered not to delay and make sure their nomination is with us before the June 30 deadline.”

Entrants in each category will be shortlisted, and those who are finalists will go before an interview panel or have an undercover visit from the judging panel. ACSTA is a regional heat for the national tourism Oscars – the Scottish Thistle Awards – and winners will go on to represent the north east in that event in 2017.

The full list of awards categories is:

  1. Most Hospitable Hotel
  2. Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House
  3. Best Accommodation Provider (previously Best Holiday Accommodation)
  4. Best Informal Eating Experience
  5. Best Restaurant Experience
  6. Friendliest Pub/Bar
  7. Best Cultural Event or Festival
  8. Best Sporting Event
  9. Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience
  10. Working Together for Tourism
  11. Best Visitor Attraction
  12. Tourism and Hospitality Hero
  13. Innovation in Tourism Award
  14. Regional Rising Star (age -30)
  15. Regional Ambassador (age 31+)

Entry into the awards is free and can be made at The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony and gala dinner at Ardoe House Hotel in Aberdeen on November 25, 2016.

Feb 292016

Lesley Mitchell (centre right) defies the odds to drive off the top prize in a UK wide draw organised by hotel group Village Hotels.

With thanks to Esther Green, Tricker PR.

Lesley Mitchell has never won a prize in a competition before. So when her name was selected to win a Mini Cooper in a UK wide draw that attracted tens of thousands of entries she simply could not believe it – and little wonder. Statistics show she had a greater chance of scoring a hole in one at golf or being injured by a firework than winning the brand new motor.

Lesley’s ticket was selected from more than 100,000 entries to the Village Hotel Club’s promotion to win a dream car.

The chance of winning a striking Mini One 1.2 Petrol attracted a massive swell of interest from revellers at each of the hotel group’s 28 hotels across the UK, from Aberdeen to Bournemouth,  Edinburgh to Cardiff, and Glasgow to Blackpool.

When Village Hotels called Lesley by phone to break the fantastic news that she had won the car – worth £14,000 – she thought it was a workmate playing a prank. She and her colleagues had entered the draw while enjoying their office Christmas lunch at the Village Hotel in Westhill, Aberdeenshire, but none of them expected to be among the prize winners.

“When I got the call saying I had won I just automatically assumed it was some kind of hoax,” explains Lesley.

“We all entered the draw but never in a million years did I expect to win – I thought this can’t be right.

“It was a total shock as I have never won anything before, but after several conversations and emails from Lynn Fraser at the Village Hotel Group I realised it was true, it was a lovely surprise. To have won dinner, or a weekend break, would have been really nice but to win the Mini is the icing on the cake.”

The Mini prize looks set to bring maximum benefits for Lesley, who lives in Insch, Aberdeenshire, and is company secretary and office administrator for a chemical business in Bucksburn.

“Many years ago, in my youth, I had a Mini and this will be a lovely run-around,” Lesley continued.

“I’m calling this my ‘Mini Me’ and it will be my weekend car.

“I moved house last year and had the perfect Christmas in my new home, and then to find out I had won a car was just lovely. “

Lynn Fraser from Village Hotels said:

“It was wonderful to break the news to Lesley that her ticket had been picked at random as the winner of our nationwide draw which attracted over 100,000 entries from customers at our hotels the length and breadth of Britain.

“It’s not every day you hear that you have won a prize, let alone won a Mini, so it’s hardly surprising that Lesley was rather taken aback by her good news and that it took some time to sink in.

“It’s a wonderful car and everyone at Village Hotels hopes Lesley really enjoys her new driving experience.”

Village Hotels has 28 hotels located in towns and cities across the UK, boasting modern and friendly accommodation and excellent facilities. For more information, visit



Jul 112014

Paul Lawrie with winner David McIvorfeatWith thanks to Tricker PR.

Local hero, Paul Lawrie met 16 year old David McIvor from Aberdeen, whose artwork he selected from hundreds of entries to win the 2014 Aberdeen Asset Management ‘design a board’ competition.

David’s depiction of ‘Scotland – The Home of Golf” has been made into an on-course board at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, taking place on Lawrie’s front door step at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in what is the 1999 Open Champions home Open.

The board is placed in a prime spot on the first tee and will be seen by some of the world’s best golfers as they take to the course this week.

Featuring 23 of the world’s top 60 players and 10 major winners including Lawrie and the legendary Sir Nick Faldo, the procession of talent on show makes for the best field ever assembled in the tournament’s history that is sure to be watched by a global TV audience.

In addition to having his artwork turned into a course board the tournament, David and his family have been invited to the Aberdeen Asset Management Pavilion for afternoon tea during the event. One thousand pounds worth of junior golf equipment will also be donated to Jamie’s school, Albyn School in Aberdeen.

David said:

“It was amazing to meet Paul Lawrie and to see my design actually on the golf course. I’ve grown up watching Paul play so to finally meet him has been great, I hope he has a good week! I am volunteering during the week here so it will be great to take a break in the Aberdeen Asset Management Pavilion.”

Lawrie said:

“It was a pleasure to meet David here at Royal Aberdeen, to see his artwork on the course is great and I really enjoyed picking the winning design. He is a talented young artist and I’m sure a talented golfer too.”

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Feb 212014

With thanks to Dave Macdermid.

Dons bikeAs the Dons prepare to contest the League Cup Final against Inverness Caley Thistle at Celtic Park, supporters who were around at the time of Aberdeen’s last success in that competition will recall the somewhat bizarre prize awarded to the sponsor’s man of the match on the day, midfielder Stephen Glass – the famous, or should that be infamous Coca-Cola mountain bike.

Now, almost 19 years later, the most photographed bike in the history of AFC is going to be raffled, with the proceeds going to the Pittodrie youth development.

Stephen, now residing in the US and coaching the under-14 and under-16 teams at the North Carolina Alliance Academy, explains:

“I still get asked about the bike and what happened to it. It’s actually at my in-laws and Jack, my father-in-law, keeps it in pristine condition. Having come through the Pittodrie youth system myself, I wanted to put something back into the club, particularly as I’m now involved in that area, and donating the bike seemed the obvious choice, particularly with the impending cup final.

“I will be eternally grateful for the grounding the coaches and staff at Pittodrie provided, so hopefully there is an interest to help them continue their work developing more players for the future.”

Stephen’s father-in-law and former Pittodrie season ticket holder Jack McCombie has kept the bike at his house in Montrose since 1995.

“I’ve been round the block on it maybe two or three times and it’s been cleaned regularly so it’s looking good. It’s an important piece of the Club’s history and I’m sure interest in the raffle will be significant.”

AFC Head of Youth Development Neil Simpson is confident that supporters will be eager to get their hands on such an iconic vehicle.

“It’s a fantastic gesture by Stephen and Jack and really appreciated. The picture of Stephen being given the bike in the soaking rain at Hampden is one of the most memorable images of that day and it’s a real opportunity for someone to own something that was very much part of that occasion! Everyone who buys a ticket will also be helping to invest in the future of AFC and that can only be a positive.”

The raffle for the unique bicycle, which is being undertaken in conjunction with the AFC Heritage Trust, will be limited to 5000 tickets at £5 each. They can be purchased via , clicking ‘donate’ on the home page, after which a unique number will be allocated to each ‘ticket’ purchased. Alternatively, numbers can be purchased at Aberdeen Football Club.

Tickets for the raffle can be purchased up until 23.59 on Thursday 13th March 2014, with the draw taking place at Pittodrie Stadium at 12 noon on Friday 14th March 2014. Details of the winner will be published on the Club website that afternoon.

For info – Dave Macdermid –; 01224 650406; 07710 580148.

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Mar 222012

With thanks to Val Sutherland.

Cash In Your Pocket, together with Homestart and the Belmont Cinema, are holding a Free Family Information & Advice Day on Friday 30th March, 9.45-2.30pm, at the Picture House, Belmont Street, Aberdeen.

The day will focus on providing help to families on matters around their finances.

This event is open to everyone with family responsibilities: parents, grandparents, carers and children – there will be something for everyone.

As well as access to advice and information from a wide range of partner organisations taking part on matters such as heating your home, savings options, benefits and keeping healthy…. and more, there will be fun for the family with free bingo, prize draws, soup packs and refreshments, free facepainting, balloons and healthy snacks for children, with the added bonus of cartoons being screened throughout the event.

We would encourage everyone to come along, to join in the fun and pick up tips on how to make the most of your money.

Val Sutherland
Cash In Your Pocket Partnership

Tel: 01224 200221
E- mail:

Nov 172011

Bucksburn in Bloom was born because we wanted to brighten up our neighbourhood with floral displays and to try and make it a brighter place to live. Drew Levy,  President of Bucksburn in Bloom writes.

For a good many years I as an individual had entered into Aberdeen in Bloom and after 6 years of effort in 2011 our garden was awarded 1st prize.
However back in 2007 we were asked what we could do with our street.

To start with I suggested we could get some brackets on the lamp-posts and have two hanging baskets on each lamp-post, then as well as making our own planters we also looked into asking the council if we could have 4 planters as well.

Since 2007 we have added different things to our area and it was one of these improvements, at the entrance to our  our street,  after seeing an article for “Britain’s Best Flowerbed Photo Competition” in a Beautiful Scotland & the RHS News Letter, that we decided to enter into the competition.

At around this same time we were making improvements with floral displays to Bucksburn and also choosing a name and so: Bucksburn in Bloom was born.

Back to the photo competition, we decided to send in the photos of our flowerbed and the entry letter to go with it. We did not expect to win anything, and when you consider that the competition was across the whole of the UK and we are just a new group, you can imagine our surprise when a couple of months later we had been awarded 2nd Prize in our class.

There was more to come, as a result of the prize we were given a 7mtr x 4mtr flowerbed at the North of England’s largest show – The RHS Tatton Park Flower Show in 2009, similar to the Chelsea Flower Show in London .

Once the shock and surprise had eased off we set about designing the flowerbed with all the plants and landscaping. We submitted our design which was a floral oilrig, themed “Scotland’s Homecoming”. In July we packed up all the plants and accessories and we were off to Manchester to take part in our first RHS show.

We had three days to build the flowerbed and on the Wednesday it was judged. We were awarded an RHS Merit, the first they have ever given and we were very proud of it especially as we were up against 26 local council’s in the same category. On the Wednesday after judging the show was opened to 90,000 visitors until the Sunday. We were not just representing Bucksburn but Aberdeen and the North of Scotland and as such we were proud to be dressed in our national costume- the full kilt outfit.

Another great surprise was when we were asked to come back next year in 2010. When asked what our theme would be, we decided that we were going to look into doing a flowerbed around the Highland Coo (cow) complete with its long horns.

Well, in 2010 our entry was accepted and in July  we collected “Gracie” – the coo from the Loch Katrine Centre & headed off to Tatton Park flower show.
We drove all through the night to get there for the Friday morning.

We had incorporated not just the coo, but a block of local Kemnay granite into our bed , which our Lord Provost Mr Peter Stephen had chosen the design of a thistle to be carved into its 4 sides.

Much to our delight and all our hard work this flowerbed was awarded an RHS Bronze Medal!

Sadly, we could not go this year (2011) due to my very bad health, but we have used this time to our advantage. The Tatton Park Show Manager phoned me to say that I had to get well for next year as Bucksburn in Bloom is part of the Tatton Park Family now and we have our place for 2012. We have designed our next flowerbed in the form of a flower canoe and paddles entitled “2012 Paddling to Success “.

If anyone would like to visit our web site you will see not only the first and second flower beds, but also our work around Bucksburn and  you will also see our design for the 2012 show when it goes onto the site in a few weeks time.

We bring all our plants back to Bucksburn & plant them around the area. The granite pillar used in the “coo” flowerbed was presented to the Lord Provost who accepted it on behalf of the people of Aberdeen. It has been placed in the floral courtyard at the Winter Gardens in Duthie Park for all to see.

Our flowerbed and Bucksburn in Bloom were featured live on TV at the time on Gardeners World Live

We feel the floral work that we are doing is going some way in not only  helping the area look nicer but in hopefully bringing people together and I can think of no better way than community gardening. You are out in the fresh air, you are improving your environment and everyone young and old can always learn about gardening.

At 59 and with my years of gardening experience I am still learning all the time and it is good that as you grow older you can pass on your skills to the younger up and coming gardeners.

Our entries to the show are all paid for by sponsors and donations, which allows us to represent Bucksburn and Aberdeen at the RHS Tatton Park show. Our flowerbed and Bucksburn in Bloom were featured live on TV at the time on Gardeners World Live.

We always need sponsorship & donations to help us represent the area. Anyone wishing to make a donation or sponsor our flowerbed entries or even wishing to become a volunteer or just wanting to look us up on our web site,  the details are as follows:

On a final note; one of next biggest projects and working alongside Bucksburn and Newhills Community Council is to try and turn an old school playing field into Scotland’s and Aberdeen’s first solar powered, totally green Community Park for the people & visitors to Bucksburn.  We will be needing volunteers to help with the project for the 5 years it will take to build it.

Whether you are young or old always enjoy your gardening.

Sep 302011

You’ve Been Trumped – the documentary film branded ‘a failure’ by Donald Trump has just won its third major documentary award – and first in Scotland – clinching the Scottish Screen Archive Prize for Best Feature Documentary at the Edindocs Festival in Edinburgh. Suzanne Kelly reports.

The award means the film will be archived as an important piece of Scotland’s history and stored at The National Library of Scotland ‘forever’.

This latest award follows two other major festival awards for the film.

In June You’ve Been Trumped won the Green Prize – the top environmental award for UK documentaries – at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival.  And in August, the film scooped the Special Jury Prize at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival in Michigan.

You’ve Been Trumped was rejected for funding by Creative Scotland and passed over for this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival

However, it has proven to be a hit at some of the world’s most prestigious documentary festivals and will shortly be screened in Australia, Taiwan, Bermuda and at several major film festivals in the United States.

You’ve Been Trumped tells the story of Donald Trump’s attempts to build what he claims will be ‘the greatest golf course in the world’ on a supposedly protected environmental site in Aberdeenshire.   The plan involves building 1500 houses and a luxury hotel on what scientists have described as ‘the crown jewels of Scotland’s Natural Heritage.’

You’ve Been Trumped has just begun a Sheffield Doc/Fest winners’ tour – playing at major independent cinemas across the UK and is also part of the Take One Action Film Festival which takes in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness.    The film is also due to return to cinemas in Aberdeen and Dundee next month.  Meanwhile, You’ve Been Trumped will be travelling to the Vancouver International Film Festival later this month and will unspool for its official New York premiere in early October.

Director Anthony Baxter said:

“It’s a great honour for You’ve Been Trumped to be recognised as an important historical document and reassuring to know that future generations will be able to learn lessons from the environmental destruction that’s been unfolding on the Menie Estate for precious little economic benefit.”

Scottish folk singer-songwriter Karine Polwart (“exceptionally subtle and melodic” Q Magazine) is currently penning a new song inspired by events captured in the film, which will be unveiled when You’ve Been Trumped is screened at the FilmHouse in Edinburgh on 2nd October as part of the Take One Action Film Festival.


  • You’ve Been Trumped (UK, running time 95 minutes) was made by Angus based independent production company Montrose Pictures Ltd.
  • The film score features music from world the world renowned Sigur Rus and the band’s front man Jonsi.
  • Many of You’ve Been Trumped’s future screenings can be viewed here – with more dates to be added.
  • Latest news on the film can be seen here.
  • For further information call Montrose Pictures: +44(0)1674 677 233 or email: