By Clare Carswell
Glaswegian Susan Egelstaff was crowned queen of the court on home soil after she won the women’s singles title at the Bank of Scotland International Badminton Championships at Kelvin Hall.
The 27-year-old Scot beat the 2005 and 2006 winner, Ella Diehl of Russia, in two games, 21-18, 21-10, on 22 November, to take her first international title.
‘Ella’s a world-class player with a higher rank than me, so I had to play the best I could,’ the Commonwealth bronze medallist said.
Representing Scotland in the women’s doubles final was Edinburgh-born, Glasgow-based Emma Mason. She partnered Mariana Agathangelou of England, who won the title last year with another Scot, Jillie Cooper.
In the first match of the day, Mason and Agathangelou were beaten in two swift games, 21-16, 21-16, by Valeria Sorokina and Nina Vislova of Russia, who are ranked number 14 in the world.
Cooper and new partner, Samantha Ward of England, were defeated in the semi-finals by their fellow Britons.
The day held a silver lining for Mason, who received the Robert McCoig Memorial Award from Badminton Scotland patron HRH Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, for the most meritorious performance.
Mason, who snapped her Achilles 18 months ago said: ‘For any Scottish player it’s a great honour, especially coming back from such a long injury. It’s good to know others appreciate how hard it was to come back.’
Scotland’s best chance of glory in the men’s finals disappeared in the third round, when Sourabh Verma of India defeated the ninth seed, Glasgow’s Kieran Merrilees.
A Scot to watch for the future is Glasgow’s Kirsty Gilmour, who at 16-years-old reached the third round of the women’s singles and displayed great flair in her win against Audrey Bonneville of Canada.
Glasgow welcomed more than 250 badminton players from 30 nations to the five-day event, which began with qualifiers on 18 November.
During the championship week, more than 3,000 Scottish schoolchildren received specialist badminton coaching as Kelvin Hall’s indoor running track was converted into the venue for the Bank of Scotland Play Badminton Carnival.
The Deputy Championship Director, Colin M Atkinson, said: ‘The carnival is hugely important. It’s one of the main reasons the championships are such a success and gives the children the opportunity to play at a major sporting arena.’
Glasgow could have thousands of lifesavers in its schools if a ground-breaking partnership between the city’s education services and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) takes off.
Secondary school pupils are being taught simple life-saving skills and are taking those lessons into primary schools as part of an innovative peer tutoring scheme.
The programme, which is backed by the Scottish Ambulance Service, St Andrew’s First Aid and the Glasgow/BHF Heartstart initiative, was showcased at Garrowhill Primary in the East End, with seniors from Bannerman High School acting as mentors.
Pupils will learn, then pass on, emergency life support skills which cover cardiopulmonary resuscitation and how to deal with bleeding and choking.
Under the guidance of Paramedic John Gallacher, colleague Anne Harrison, who is Community Resuscitation Development Officer, and John Breen, Bannerman High Employability Officer, two dozen pupils were taken through three emergency scenarios and asked to put what they had learned into practice.
The lessons, which dealt with conscious, unconscious and cardiac arrest casualties, are built around simple but effective routines.
Jonathan Findlay, Glasgow City Council’s Executive Member for Education, said: ‘Our aim is to have S4 pupils and P6 trained up in life-saving techniques – that is nearly 11,000 young Glasgow people who will be able to help out if faced with a life-threatening emergency.’
Garrowhill Headteacher Richard Buchan said: ‘
We’re always looking for ways to make learning real and meaningful and, rather than doing a worksheet, the children are hands-on and using a life-saving skill.
‘I also think the peer tutoring is a really good link to have. They are really good role models for our children and are raising aspirations as well in terms of what our pupils can hope to achieve when they go to S5. Hopefully, they’ll become buddies themselves and pass on their knowledge and skills to younger pupils.’
John Breen said: ‘We have six primary schools that feed into Bannerman, and I would like to see all P6s trained. It will take a lot of time but once it starts it’ll be far easier to roll out across all the schools.’
River City stars Libby McArthur and Deirdrie Davis have lined up behind aid agency SCIAF’s festive Real Gifts campaign to deliver gifts to transform the lives of people in poverty.
The actresses – who play sisters Gina Rossi and Eileen Donachie in the television soap – hope SCIAF’s Christmas message will make a real difference to thousands of lives.
The Real Gifts can be the chickens, goats or seeds steering a family towards self suffiency. Or the Real Gift could provide safe, clean water and a first step on the ladder to education for children. Gifts can also be vital tools and medicines. Real Gifts can be ordered online at www.sciaf.org.uk/realgifts
River City actress Eileen McCallum will be visiting Sunny Govan Radio on Friday 27 November, to help raise awareness of muscular dystrophy and the campaign to battle it.
Eileen, who takes to the airwaves on 103.5 FM at 9.45am, has two grandsons, Milo, 10, and Daniel, 6, who have the muscle wasting condition. She is a long-term supporter of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and is in Glasgow to promote the Spirit of Christmas Carol Concert at Paisley Abbey on 5 December, which she will host.
‘The event is a lovely start to Christmas and will feature some wonderful performances,’ Eileen said. ‘It’s important for us all to come together to raise awareness of the condition and raise vital funds for the charity.’
The campaign funds research to find effective treatments and cures, provides free practical and emotional support, campaigns to raise awareness and bring about change and awards grants towards the cost of specialist equipment.
In Glasgow, the campaign funds a regional care adviser at Yorkhill Hospital, who provides support to families affected by the condition and a research project at the University of Glasgow.
The concert will feature music from the senior concert band of Jordanhill School, performances from the Sirens of Titan choir and the children of Stagecoach Theatre School.
TV Presenter Heather Suttie, Wendy Alexander MSP and Annabel Goldie MSP will give readings
Glasgow Rocks have added firepower to their line-up with the arrival of Michael Crowell.
The six-feet-seven-inch forward is likely to join Sterling Davis’s squad for the 29 November encounter with Worcester Wolves at Kelvin Hall.
The arrival of the US/German player is timely, as Davis will sit out a one-match ban while his team take on the West Midlands outfit.
Crowell, who graduated from Division 1 Idaho University has played in Spain and Germany. He spent last season with Weissenhorn of the Basketball-Bundesliga.
Player/coach Davis said: ‘Michael will give us a little more depth offensively, especially with his ability to knock down the three-point shot in bunches.
‘He’s got a good size to him, especially for his position, which is always a plus for any coach because it causes such huge match-up problems when time to defend, but also works to our advantage defensively to be able to have a bigger defender on the perimeter.’
He added: ‘It’s hard to believe that a guy with his talent is still out there and has been throughout the course of the summer. I think he will definitely be an asset to what we are trying to accomplish here.’
Glasgow is looking beyond the recession and equipping young workers with new skills to build a stronger economy, the 12th annual State of the City Economy Conference heard.
Lauding the Commonwealth Apprenticeship Initiative and renewing the city’s commitment to it, Council Leader Steven Purcell said the city was preparing for an economic upturn by building the pool of skilled labour.
More than 1000 qualified school leavers who applied to the scheme launched in March 2008, are in apprenticeships or on a National Progression Award that will lead to an apprenticeship.
The scheme is aimed at equipping the city with the talent to turn the 2014 Commonwealth Games blueprint into reality.
‘I don’t know how long this recession will last, but I do know that at some point we will come out of it and when that happens, we must ensure that Glasgow comes out of it stronger than when we went in,’ Mr Purcell said.
In a bullish address to delegates at the Radisson Hotel on Argyle Street, the Council Leader cited 1,300 new jobs in the nearby financial district, retail expansion in the St Enoch’s Centre and a planned expansion for Buchanan Galleries as evidence of Glasgow’s resilience.
Hotel occupancy rates have risen to 81% over the past two years, he added, with additional room space to come.
The volume of private sector planning permissions granted in 2008-09, suggests that developers continue to have faith in the city’s potential, he said.
Adelaide’s is the venue for a fundraising concert in aid of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture.
The landmark building, which sits on the corner of Bath Street and Pitt Street in the city centre, will host a pre-Christmas choral concert, with music and song from Bach to Broadway, on Saturday 28 November at 7:30pm.
Glasgow singing group Brats & Callets are the performers directed by Graham Taylor, founder and director of music for the City of Glasgow Chorus, with Colin Taylor on piano.
Entry is free, no booking is required, with programmes by donation at the door from 7pm.
There was a gentle chiding for central and local government as Parkhead Housing Association (PHA) officially broke ground on their latest housing development, a £4m, 25-home project in Duke Street.
Addressing a gathering that included Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy, Frank McAveety MSP and Leader of Glasgow City Council Steven Purcell, PHA Chairman John Ferguson went a little off message in his welcoming speech to tell elected officials that while their work was appreciated by his community, more must be done to build homes and match the association’s ambitions.
He added: ‘We have 1,000 people on our waiting list. As far as Parkhead is concerned, if we can get the finance together, the ground together then we will build more houses.’
The newbuild in Duke Street, which is being developed by McTaggart Construction, will stand on the site of a bingo hall. Jim Murphy ruefully recalled that, as a youngster, he once applied for a job there but was happy to be back in an elevated capacity.
The project, which is funded by Glasgow City Council and a development loan from Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), will provide homes for let and help secure construction jobs in the present downturn, said PHA Chief Executive Jim Strang.
‘This is one project, and we have three other big ones on the drawing board and if the funding is made available, Scottish Government funding, these will become a reality. We have the private funding in place for every one of these.’
RBS regards Parkhead as ‘a very good deal’, he said. ‘We’ve got the (private) money. If central government give us the money, we’ll do the rest.’
Jim added: ‘Whiterose area phases 2 and 3 are the next big ones, mostly family-sized houses, and there’ll be 55 of them.’
Other projects in the pipeline include the redevelopment of the Quarrybrae Primary School site for 48 to 62 low rise homes, while 16 homes over two closes in a C-Listed tenement in Helenvale Street are to be renovated.
‘At the moment we’re building for rent,’ Jim explained. ‘That’s the business we’re in. We know the economy of the area, we know the needs of our community and for the foreseeable future that’s our game plan.
‘If the opportunity arose for low-cost shared ownership we’re happy to do that.’
There was a touch of spice for panto season recently, as the cast of Aladdin paid a visit to Slumdog Bar & Kitchen in Sauchiehall Street.
The pantomime cast – Keith Jack (Aladdin), Gerard Kelly (Wishee Washee), Karen Dunbar (Widow Twankey) and Gavin Mitchell (Abanazar) – took a break from rehearsals at the King’s Theatre to meet staff and enjoy a hot spot of lunch.
The panto, which runs from 4 December until 17 January, sees Gerard strengthen his long ties with the theatre, while Edinburgh-born Keith, runner-up on BBC talent show Any Dream Will Do, adds Aladdin to an impressive and varied repertoire that includes Only The Brave and Peter Pan.
More than 30 people hit the streets of Priesthill in an effort to clean up the area and tackle the nuisance of illegally dumped rubbish.
The community group, aided by police officers, staff from Sanctuary Housing, Glasgow Community and Safety Services, members of Priesthill Youth Club, and Orlit Tenants Group donned rubber gloves, masks and goggles to reclaim the area.
Organiser and Priesthill resident, Donna Foote said: ‘We live in a very environmentally rich area where many birds and wildlife settle next to our burns and woodlands, so it’s essential we do our best to keep this area clean and free from litter.
‘We’re delighted so many made it along to help us with the clean-up, and the young people in Priesthill intend to keep up the good work by participating in a garden clean-up scheme.’