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I write with a feeling of trepidation and exasperation at the ferry situation. Trepidation because I hope to make my fifth visit this year to the island to see in the New Year but fear that the ferry will be cancelled while I am en route as happened during my journey in August. At least I have taken the hotelier’s advice and have taken out travel insurance to cover any financial loss.
But I am exasperated at the news this week that it will be years and many more millions of pounds of public money required to get a new ship on the service.
Recently, a private operator introduced a new ferry, for the Gills Bay to St Margaret’s Hope crossing to Orkney, costing only £14million. The MV Alfred can carry 430 passengers and 98 cars or 54 cars and 12 articulated lorries and is claimed to be the greenest ferry operating in Scotland. The MV Glen Sannox hopes to carry 127 cars or fewer cars and 16 heavy vehicles.
The money which has been spent to date could have bought two of these catamarans to shuttle back and forth in concert and still have many millions left to invest in the retraining of Ferguson Marine’s staff who are ‘incompetent’ – according to Scottish minister Derek Mackay.
It also seems to me more likely that the twin hull design of MV Alfred would be more resistant to side wind and swell and so would not roll as much when adjacent to the Brodick pier.
Is there no possibility of a private operator who can manage a decent service?
Ian A Brown
I should like to take the opportunity to thank the families and friends of Brodick Primary School for joining us at our Nativity Service in Brodick Church on Tuesday December 17.
The sum of £261.23 was raised on behalf of Canine Concern Scotland. This charity was chosen by our pupils to say thank you to Scooter, our therapet volunteer in school. Scooter visits us weekly and works with small groups of children allowing them to relax and boost their self-confidence in reading aloud. This, in turn, helps children gain confidence in their own ability and improve their enjoyment of reading.
We would also like to thank Mrs Iris Syme, who accompanies Scooter each week.
Re-engage wishes to thank Arran High School for their invitation to its annual Christmas party. We enjoyed delicious food and great entertainment, it was very well done and well received.
Thanks go to the headmaster, Mr Smith, organisers, the music teacher and the first year students who made it such a success.
Here’s wishing you all a very happy New Year.
Maureen Dockerty and Siobhan McGinlay,
Thank you Pirnmill Stores! The children of Pirnmill Primary School and Early Years Class were thrilled to receive fantastic advent calendars as a gift from Hazel and Susan. Your kindness overwhelmed everyone in the school. It was such a lovely surprise and we are sure that the calendars will be handed down to future generations. We will all remember and cherish this moment in time. Thank you.
Education assistant (support),
Pirnmill Primary School
On behalf of all of us at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us this year.
We have had an amazing year supporting people across Scotland – and none of it would have been possible without your help.
We have successfully campaigned to bring Thrombectomy back to Scotland and have been blown away with the support. More than 5,000 people have signed our petition to bring back the life-changing stroke operation. Thanks to everyone’s efforts we are now working with the Scottish government and the NHS to get this service back in Scottish hospitals. This is a massive step forward and one that has only been possible thanks to our wonderful supporters and inspirational stroke survivors campaigning for change.
I also want to say a special thanks to everyone who has volunteered their time to support us – whether it is through working in our shops, taking part in our fundraising events or helping care for people through our rehabilitation support service. In particular, I want to thank those who never underestimate the power of a cup of tea – our amazing volunteers attending and supporting our peer support groups.
We would not be able to support the people who need us without your generosity. None of the work that we do would be possible without the invaluable contribution of our staff, volunteers and participants who have taken part in our fundraising events and all the people who have donated money to us over the course of the year.
There is so much more still to do, and I hope we will have your continued support in 2020. Together we can and will make sure there is no life half lived in Scotland.
Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland