‘They’ve just blown up my childhood!’ That was the emotional, spontaneous, reaction from Finlay McKay, one of the hundreds of people watching Red Road flats being demolished on Sunday 10 June in Glasgow.
Firefighter Finlay was born and brought up on the 25th floor of the Petershill Drive triple block. ‘Staying there was fantastic. I loved it. I’ve still got the pals I had then and living there made me the person I am today. But now, seeing the building come down so very, very quickly….I’m shocked.’ The 42-year-old had brought his daughter Cara (9) and her friends Connor (6) and Taylor (8) to see the GHA’s latest move in its massive re-generation plans. Since GHA was formed in 2003, Scotland’s largest social landlord has invested more than £1.1 billion in refurbishing, modernising and improving homes across the city.
Said Finlay: ‘I left in 1991. My Mum and Dad are dead, now. I’ve moved to my own house in Swinton and tell stories of growing up in the Red Road flats, but that’s the last physical link with ‘who you are’ – gone for me. I thought the building would come down in stages, so I’m shocked it happened so suddenly.’
The controlled explosion used around 275 kilos of explosive to bring down the triple block in seconds. The lower ten storeys of the steel-framed building will be demolished later using long reach machinery. The entire site will take months to clear. Steel will be re-cycled and the rubble crushed to make foundations for roads and buildings.
Around 2000 people were temporarily evacuated from their homes in the area, including residents of a care home, to allow the operation to be completed safely.
Said GHA Executive Director of Development and Regeneration, Alex McGuire: ‘The Red Road flats were popular in their day and are known around the world, but their time has come to an end. We’re pleased the demolition of the first of them went according to plan.’ The remaining seven multi-storey blocks will be demolished by 2017.
William Sinclair, Managing Director of demolition contractors Safedem, said: ‘The Red Road flats have presented a unique series of challenges ranging from the size of the buildings to the steel frame structure.We’re delighted to be involved in another successful demolition for GHA – our 17thwith them since 2005.’
MSP Patricia Ferguson also spent her childhood in a flat in a Red Road block. ‘My family left a room and kitchen in Maryhill to come to a fantastic flat on the 21st floor of a different block from the one demolished today,’ she said after watching the event. ‘The thing to remember is – that tenement with the room and kitchen – is still standing. It has been re-furbished and continues to provide good homes for people. But there is no doubt, the Red Road flats have come to the end of their time and it is right that they come down now.’
A BBC Newsnight film on living in the Red Road flats is due to be screened on Monday 11 June at 22.30.
Ruth Davidson has been voted leader of the Scottish Conservative Party. The former BBC journalist won by 2983 votes over Murdo Fraser’s 2417. The MSP has campaigned across Scotland among Party members. She said on being elected: ‘A political party is not a leader. A political party is its membership and I want to bring our members at all levels much closer together to take our party forward in unity.’ She also said that communication of the Party’s vision has to be better. Within minutes of the announcement she had been congratulated by Prime Minister David Cameron. She said: ‘I’ve been cheeky enough to ask for some things already,’ but she didn’t say what she’d asked for.
The 32-year-old takes over from Annabel Goldie and was only elected to the Scottish Parliament in May.
First Minister Alex Salmond was among the first to congratulate her on becoming Leader. He said: ‘ I wish her well. My own view is that Annabel Goldie was a highly successful leader for the Conservatives in Scotland, and maximised the Tory vote here. That merely underlines the scale of the task for Ruth Davidson in motivating her party – as does the number of Scottish Tory members who actually voted in this contest, and the fact that her main opponent proposed winding up the party.
‘Hopefully, under Ruth’s leadership, the Tories will change their attitude to Scotland and start to work in the country’s best interests.’
The organisers of the World Pipe Band Championships for 2011 are to be congratulated. They made a lot of people very happy on Saturday 13 August when around 8000 pipers and drummers in 230 bands entered into fierce competition. The spectacle was enjoyed by an estimated 30,000 onlookers. Despite monsoon rains for days beforehand, the Glasgow Green was well prepared to take the crowds without too much mud underfoot.
Said one international visitor: ‘This has been an amazing day. I have never seen pipe bands before. It has been very exciting.’
Graded into different levels of ability, the band Grade 1 winners were Field Marshal Montgomery from Lisburn, Northern Ireland, making them top band in the world and leaving them feeling on top of the world.
Said Lisburn Mayor, Councillor Brian Heading: ‘I am delighted that this world famous band has once again brought this supreme title back to Lisburn. With 21 Ulster and 19 All Ireland Championships and now 7 World Champion titles, they are officially the most successful pipe band in history.
‘Quite simply, they are in a league of their own. To perform and compete at this level takes countless hours of practice. Their success is richly deserved.’
The Band’s Drum Major, Alicia Dickson also won the adult Drum Major event.
Interviewed by Jackie Bird for the BBC live coverage that went world-wide, the band’s Pipe Major, Richard Parkes MBE said: ‘We had a strong band on the day and I couldn’t have asked for more. We really wanted to win and everyone has worked hard all winter.’
Second place went to Simon Fraser University of Canada and Scottish Power was third. Fourth place in Grade 1 went to Inveraray & District. Fifth place went to St Laurence O’Toole from Eire and sixth place went to Boghall & Bathgate.
Glasgow Lord Provost, Councillor Bob Winter, was Chieftain of the Games, for possibly his last time as there are council elections next May. He said: ‘Nothing brings Glasgow Green to life like the World Pipe Band Championships. We all appreciate the dedication, mastery and team work required to play to the highest standards to be in the Worlds. The city is very proud to continue to be host at least till 2012.’
The event brings an estimated £10 million into the local economy.
Apart from the pipe bands and the associated competitions for pipe majors and for drummers and pipers, there were Highland Games which attract heavy weight athletes ‘putting the shot’ and ‘tossing the caber”. Highland dancing competitions fielded competitors from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as Scotland.
The day ended with all the pipe bands in a march past to salute the Chieftain and his VIP guests.
Planning for next year’s competition is already under way by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council, EventsScotland, Scottish Enterprise and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau.
The life-saving charity – The Glasgow Humane Society – has launched a £100,000 appeal on its 221st birthday. It needs a new patrol boat and support vehicle as well as equipment to help save the lives of people they rescue from the River Clyde.
Launching the appeal on Tuesday 16 August, Glasgow’s Lord Provost Bob Winter said:’The Glasgow Humane Society is an important and well-loved society to which thousands owe their lives. We owe a big debt of gratitude to their officers and the volunteer lifeguards who patrol the River Clyde and our city’s waterways seven days a week to make them safer for us all.
In the last ten years the Society has saved 201 people and prevented 611 from drowning. So it is with a great sense of pride and purpose that we launch the Riverman Appeal. I hope the people of Glasgow and the business community will respond generously to raise the £100,000 to replace and upgrade the Society’s life-saving equipment.’
Supporting the Lord Provost at the launch was actress Blythe Duff of STV’s Taggart and actor Tom Urie of BBC’s River City drama. Both programmes feature the city and the River.
Donations to the Riverman Appeal can be made by text to 70070 quoting RIVE16 and the amount you wish to donate (for example RIVE16£5) or by paypal through the charity’s website www.glasgowhumanesociety.com or by cheque or postal order to the Glasgow Humane Society, Glasgow Green, Glasgow G40 1BA
Society Chairman John Park said: ‘This is our first-ever appeal to raise money. The Society still has a big role to play in making the city’s river and waterways safer and in preventing water accidents. We are an ever-present, voluntary resource to the statutory emergency services and always on hand for the hundreds of sports and boat users on the Clyde each week and the many thousands who use the waterway walkways.’
Set up in 1790 with a £200 legacy from local merchant James Coulter the aim was ‘prevention of accidents, rescue and recovery’ of people on the waterways. Drownings in the Clyde were much more common than today.
Affectionately known as “the Riverman” the Society’s officers and volunteer lifeguards have saved thousands of lives.
Since 1889 it has had only three senior officers – George Geddes 2nd (1889 – 1932) Benjamin Parsonage (1928 – 1979) and his son George Parsonage (1979 – till present day). They have passed down their knowledge of the Clyde and the city’s waterways.
Benjamin Parsonage and the Society is highlighted in a special display on the ground floor of the newly opened Riverside Museum. It features “The Bennie”, a river rescue rowing boat designed by Benjamin that will not capsize when rescuing or recovering someone from the water.
George Parsonage, the current Society officer, started at 14 years of age saving lives on the Clyde with father Benjamin. He has saved over 1500 people and recovered over 500 bodies. His rescue work on the Clyde and other waterways has been nationally and internationally recognised.
He is assisted by Antony Coia, who has been in post for five years, and a team of more than 30 volunteer lifeguards.
Apart from rescuing people and recovering bodies the Society personnel also help when floods strike. They have used their knowledge and experience in floods in the city’s East End and in Bearsden and Paisley’s Ferguslie Park.
A registered charity, the Society works closely with all the statutory agencies and local authorities
Over 100 young carers from Glasgow joined in the celebrations at the third annual Scottish Young Carers Festival held at the Broomlee Outdoor Centre in West Linton last weekend.
Organised by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and funded by the Scottish Government, almost 500 young carers from across the country – who look after a sick or disabled family member – enjoyed drama, comedy and animation workshops run by BBC Scotland.
- There was also dancing at a silent disco and a talent show judged by former Miss Scotland Katharine Brown, all of which gave them a break from their commitments at home.
One young carer who attended the Festival was Sarah, 15. Sarah cares for her mum who has MS. She said: ‘I love coming to the Festival as everyone here is in the same boat and you don’t feel different. I can’t speak to my friends about being a young carer, but everyone here understands me. The silent disco was awesome! I think the Festival should be on for a week next year.’
The young carers also had a chance to speak Health Minister Shona Robison and Children’s Minister Adam Ingram about their lives and the support they need.
Louise Morgan, Young Carers Services Development Manager at The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, said: ‘We are pleased that hundreds of young carers enjoyed the Festival this year and are grateful to the Scottish Government for funding it.
‘We are also pleased that the young carers had a chance to speak to MSPs who all agreed that young carers’ services need to continue and expand.’
Neil Oliver’s fantastic thought-provoking series A History of Scotland is now available on DVD.
The journey through time which helped shape modern Scotland had audiences on the edge of their seats and won critical acclaim.
The BBC Scotland and Open University series which spans nearly 500 years in just over 10 hours is now available on DVD box-set.
LOCAL NEWS GLASGOW has five copies of A History of Scotland DVD to give away.
For a chance to win your own copy, just write and tell us who presents the series.
Send your answers by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put ‘A HISTORY OF SCOTLAND COMPETITION’ in the header field and remember your name, address and a daytime telephone number. You can also enter by snail mail, please write with your answer to, A HISTORY OF SCOTLAND COMPETITION – Local News Glasgow, YAM Publications, 73 Robertson Street, Glasgow, Glasgow G2 8QD. Don’t forget all your contact details.
This competition closes at 9am on Monday, March 29.
Everyone has found things tough during the recession, including the media. Here we analyse two different perspectives on delivering news.
As you, our readers are the key to the future of this publication; we would love to hear your views on what you expect from The BBC, your local and national broadcasters, papers and online news platforms.
Today Atholl Duncan, Head of BBC News and Current Affairs, promised an ongoing commitment to the people of Glasgow.
Following a workshop on the future of broadcasting we spoke exclusively to Mr Duncan.
He said; ‘The BBC invested £180m in the most advanced broadcasting centre in Europe, right here in the heart of Glasgow.’
‘It employs 1200 directly and hundreds of others indirectly. There is a huge economic benefit to the city in terms of having the BBC here.
‘It’s only natural as we are based here - a lot of our content will have a Glasgow slant or a Glasgow angle.
‘But our job is wider than that. We have to serve the whole of Scotland – it’s important that we deliver for everyone from Shetland to Shettleston.’
However, not everyone is convinced that the corporation is going in the right direction in terms of delivering local news.
Heather McMillan, Project Manager at Sunny Govan Radio, argues that the BBC should open up and co-operate with local news specialists.
She said: ‘To be honest the BBC Scotland put out much of the same news as STV. There are stories which get missed or cut short at the expense of their daily obsession with Rangers and Celtic.
‘How often do the news cover stories in Possilpark and in Castlemilk? – Not often and not enough.
‘When it comes to the climate change conference in Copenhagen coverage, where are the voices from the people of Glasgow?
‘Sunny Govan – and other local news providers in broadcast, online and in print like Local News Glasgow – are well placed to help the BBC.
‘I have approached the BBC in the past and while they are very helpful and friendly we’ve never had a contract or done any work in co-operation with them.
‘You could say that the BBC has been a bit of a dinosaur in terms of meeting local needs.’