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This is a copy of a letter sent to Arran MSP Kenneth Gibson
The integrity of the ferry services to Arran are being seriously tested and found wanting. Agreed that the confluence of the second breakdown of the Isle of Arran and the injury to the Caledonian Isles is unfortunate to say the least, but there are few if any back up vessels to take over and the fleet is old and creaking.
I put this to you. The Scottish Government, of which you are a member, own CalMac and is responsible for commissioning new vessels for lifeline services to the islands. It is a nationalised concern and your Government is responsible for this failure to provide a service that is fit for the 21st century.
Kindness and care
Last Sunday afternoon I stupidly left my wallet in the Old Byre showroom in Machrie. I did not realise I had lost it until Monday afternoon when I stopped in Tarbert en route to Cairnbaan.
I then discovered that Lorna had contacted my Arran hotel saying that my wallet was at the Old Byre. The result of my phoning her was that she spent a lot of time and care in posting on my wallet to my new hotel.
This is another example of the great care and kindness that has been shown to us on the many visits we have made to Arran over the last 30 years. Many thanks to Lorna and all the residents of your wonderful Island
Schools pipe band entries
Most schools in Scotland have pipers and drummers within their pupil population. Your readers’ local schools on Arran are probably no exception. May I please ask your readers to seek out their pipers, and encourage them to represent their school as a piping quartet, if not as a full band, at the next Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships.
The championships are organised annually by the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust. The next championships will be held at Inveralmond Community High School, Livingston on Sunday March 10, 2019. More details are on our website: www.thechampionships.org.uk
Last March 145 schools from all over Scotland, and two from England, were represented at the championships, with a category available for all standards of playing.
Five years ago we introduced a new category: freestyle. The aim of this is to provide an opportunity for schools to showcase their other musical skills alongside those of their pipers.
The Trust (www.sspdt.org.uk) hopes that as many young pipers and drummers from your area – with other musicians too if entering the freestyle event – will participate in next year’s championships.
I would like to thank the kind people in Brodick who were so nice to my 21 year old grandson Alistair Devine who’s lovely and has autism. My daughter had rented a bungalow for a week. From the lady at Red Door, who sold tablet,to the local paper shop, everyone was lovely. If they could afford it they would love to stay on Arran. My daughter is a nursery teacher and that would be a dream. The weather was great. They went horse riding, visited Brodick Castle and Kings Cave.
I myself (gran) went to Thunderguy at Pirnmill to Dan and Effie Currie when I was young, I am now 76, and have passed on my love for Arran to my own family. Now all three grandsons including Alistair have climbed Goatfell. If maybe anyone of Alastair’s age, with autism, would like to get in touch, his family and Alastair would welcome that.
Big Pink party
Many readers will be thinking of loved-ones during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, having seen the devastating impact breast cancer can have on a person’s body, emotional wellbeing and sense of identity. I’m encouraging everyone to gather friends, family or colleagues for a Big Pink party, on Friday October 12, to support people living with and beyond breast cancer.
A Big Pink party is an event with unlimited possibilities. It could be a dress down day at work, a bake sale at your local club or a pink themed night in with friends. Anything goes, as long as it’s pink! Breast Cancer Care will provide you with a free fundraising kit with everything you need to plan your Big Pink.
However you do yours, all money raised will help the charity continue to be there for the 691,000 people living with breast cancer in the UK today. As little as £30 could give someone the specialist information and support when they need it most through the Breast Cancer Care Helpline. Breast Cancer Care is not government funded so every penny you raise makes a huge difference.
Get your free fundraising kit at breastcancercare.org.uk/ october
Samia al Qadhi
Chief executive, Breast Cancer Care