Glaswegians in the 2009 Honours

Aileen McGlynn and Ellen HuntA Southside sportswoman is among those who have been acknowledged for their contribution to society in the New Year’s Honours List.

Blind paralympian cyclist Aileen McGlynn of Crookston was awarded an OBE – Order of the British Empire.

Aileen told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘It is an amazing end to the year. Once I received my MBE in 2005, which in itself was a great honour, I didn’t expect to get anything more.’

Aileen cycles tandem with her cycling pilot guide, Ellen Hunter of Cornwall who also received the OBE.  Both meet up in Manchester to train at the velodrome before big events. Said Aileen: ‘The sooner the velodrome in Glasgow is open, the better!’

She won two gold medals at last year’s Paralympic Games in Beijing and even smashed the world record for the 1 km timed trial which she and Ellen had set in Athens in 2004.

Another honour goes to East Ender, Sandra Forsythe, Glasgow Housing Association’s Tenant Chair. She said she was ‘humbled’ by her MBE and added: ‘The recognition was a complete surprise. I am still in shock. However, it’s good to know that those who give up their spare time voluntarily are being honoured. I’ll be accepting the MBE on behalf of all tenant volunteers in Glasgow.’

Sandra was elected Chair of GHA Board in January 2005 and has just been re-elected as chair for another year and as a board member for another three years. The outer East area covering Greater Easterhouse, Shettleston, Tollcross, Baillieston and Carmyle nominated Sandra for the Board but she represents the whole of the city. She has been involved in Glasgow’s housing since 1991.

Raymond Francis Hemmett of North Kelvinside was made an MBE. He is a senior conservator of paintings with Historic Scotland. A conservator for 35 years, he said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted.  It is good for conservators in general because they do not normally get recognised. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes and while the work of the curators is important, the conservators play a part.’ One of his most exciting projects was the re-decoration of the King’s Dining Room in Edinburgh Castle.

Alexander (Sandy) McGeoch was appointed MBE for his services to the Young Engineers and Science Clubs Scotland (YESC). Originally from Banff in Aberdeenshire he moved to Glasgow and the Maryhill Park area and now lives in Milngavie. He told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘It made me feel extremely good that the industry has recognised me.’ Sandy has worked with primary and secondary schools and further education facilities across Scotland since 1993 and has built up the number of clubs from 23 to just short of 300. YESC provides hands-on experience of science and engineering projects such as ‘Rampaging Chariots’ which gives students the chance to build their very own working robot.

Sandy said: ‘The robot building gives the kids skills in mechanics and construction but it is fun too. Making sure the kids learn through having fun is important or else it would simply been seen as an extension to the classroom.’

The Herald and Evening Times Group’s Managing Director , Tom Thomson, received an OBE for his services to music. He was chairman of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. ‘This honour recognises the outstanding success of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Scotland’s position on the musical world stage as acknowledged by Glasgow’s recent award as a UNESCO City of Music,’ he said.

Ian George Taylor, district manager of Jobcentre Plus in Glasgow received an OBE.  Harry Benson, world renowned, Glasgow photographer was awarded a CBE.

Olympic cyclist, Chris Hoy, received a knighthood. He also has the accolade of having Glasgow’s multi-million pound Velodrome to be built for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, named after him.

Chinese New Year on Burns Night

Chinese New Year and the 250th anniversary of poet Robert Burns’ birthday coincide on Sunday 25 January this year.

The Scottish Government will use the date as the launchpad for the Year of Homecoming to persuade exiles and diaspora to return to Scotland to celebrate.

Glasgow’s Chinese communities will settle for a modest, but rousing, New Year event on Monday February 2 in the Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow.

There will be entertainment by various Chinese groups and artists hosted by the Chinese Community Development Partnership (CCDP)

At the CCDP’s annual general meeting at the end of last year, Chinese Consulate- General Shi Yufeng was guest of honour. He congratulated the Partnership of 16 organisations for what they had done for the community. This included a spectacular Chinese New Year Celebration in the Royal Concert Hall in 2008.

Annie Mead, Chairperson of CCDP presented the 7th annual report. She said that an assessment of their plan to have a One Stop Chinese Community Centre, revealed the idea did not meet funding criteria. Despite the disappointment, useful data was obtained which will inform future plans and developments. The Youth project had had a very successful year and would continue to be supported by CCDP but because funding had failed to materialize for the work, it would be up to the young people who had benefited from the previous efforts, to organise themselves into an effective and dynamic group.

‘We firmly believe that as one door closes, another opens,’ said the Chairperson. She gave credit for the considerable achievements of the Partnership over the previous year, to the dedicated, hard-working and efficient staff and the Directors who had given their time, support and advice to the work as well as all the volunteers and their invaluable contributions. She added that she was proud to report that Development Officer, Joyce Tai, had completed her studies at Glasgow University and had graduated as a fully qualified community development workers.

Bailie Gordon Matheson, who chaired the annual general meeting, paid tribute to the CCD for trying to ‘do more, with less.’


Pollok Credit Union and Post Office

January 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Features, Glasgow South, Local News

The first ever post office in the UK to be run by a credit union opened for business in Pollok last month.

The merging of Pollok Post Office with Pollok Credit Union has come as a welcome relief to the area not only in securing the future of 14 local jobs but also in ensuring the longevity of a first class lifeline service.

By as early as February the offices will relocate to the Silverburn Shopping Centre in the Winter Gardens where a unit beside Barrhead Travel has already been acquired.

Currently the offices occupy a facility in phase III of Silverburn – part of the older Pollok Shopping Centre.

The new facility will continue to offer the same level of service but footfall is expected to increase dramatically because of the new location.

Four mail counters and two credit counters will be established and the staff will be trained to operate both.

Ian Davidson, South West MP and MSP Johann Lamont joined in the official launch on Monday December 8.

Jim Garrity, manager of the credit union said: ‘This partnership will secure two vital services within the local community. Post office services and credit union services will be delivered from one unit. It is especially appropriate in the current financial crisis that both should be working together closely.’

Pollok Credit Union has an outlet at The Wedge nearby and in Shawlands where much of the office work will still be done.

Ian Smith, Royal Mail’s Senior External Relations Manager said: ‘This will help secure the future of the post office in Pollok with the coming together of two trusted brands.’

Johann said: ‘This is very welcome for the area and is another example of the pioneering people in Pollok. It is a great initiative.’

Chancellor Opens Gorbals Skills Academy

January 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Features, Glasgow South, Local News

Glasgow’s new Construction Skills Academy was opened by the Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The Chancellor took time out from dealing with the worst economic downturn in a generation to tour the facility and meet some of the young people who are preparing for careers in the building trade. The Academy is based at the former St John’s Primary School in Gorbals.

Short courses started running in August 2008 and 266 training places will be provided during the academy’s first year. Once fully operational, up to 400 individuals a year can be trained. Among those targeted will be people who are not in employment, education or training, including the 16-24 year old age group, many of whom have left school and gone into short-term employment or have not yet entered the employment market.

Mr Darling said: ‘This academy is really important, especially at a time like this when things are slowing down. Now, it’s all the more important to make sure we have the right skills and training. In Glasgow, there are tremendous opportunities in the construction industry as we work towards the Commonwealth Games in six years’ time.’

During his tour of the academy, Alistair Darling met Jennifer Breaden, 18, from Cardonald. Jennifer achieved five highers while she was a pupil at Lourdes Secondary and is working towards an SVQ level 3 in plumbing. Jennifer is the only female plumber taking the course. She told the Chancellor that she was following the same career path as her dad, also a plumber, and that she intends to set up her own business once she has learned the trade.

As well as offering training in skills such as joinery and plumbing, the academy has an outdoor area where students can learn how to handle heavy plant such as JCBs. There are distinctive Nissen huts in the yard where training can continue in poor weather conditions.

ID Cards Protest at Brand Street

Guy Fawkes says \'Down With This Sort of Thing\'Protesters gathered outside the UK Borders Agency office in Brand Street, Govan to protest against the introduction of ID cards for non-EU citizens wishing to apply for student or marriage visas.

The demonstration was organised by action group Glasgow Anarchists who fear the cards will make it easy to steal a person identity and will be the iceberg in the creation of a national identity card scheme

On Tuesday November 25 the biometric ID cards came into force across the UK. They will contain a photograph linked to a fingerprint and personal details of the holder.

Action groups including NO2ID, No Borders Scotland and UNITY showed their support at the demonstration. Each card will cost £30.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: ‘The first ID cards are being issued to people making applications to remain in the UK as a student or based on marriage. This will be followed in 2009, by identity cards for British workers in sensitive roles and locations and extended to young people in 2010.’

They added: ‘This national identity scheme will help protect against identity fraud, illegal working and immigration, crime and terrorism, and those trying to abuse positions of trust. It will make it easier for people to prove they are who they say they are.’

But two students who were at the demonstration are not convinced.

Steph Spoto of California is at Edinburgh University and will have to apply for a card to remain in the country. She said: ‘This is just awful, I hate the idea. I love Scotland and want to be able to continue working here. I am mainly concerned by the database which will hold the information – we really have no idea who will have access to it.’

Stephen Dietrich, who is studying Human Ecology at Strathclyde University and volunteers at UNITY, a support base for asylum seekers,  said: ‘This is identity theft made easy. I am not convinced about the security of the database.’

A spokesperson for Glasgow Anarchists said: ‘We are very suspicious of the ID cards. If your card is lost or stolen, essentially, you will have lost your identity.’

Similar demonstrations were held across the UK at six Border Agency offices, Glasgow, Sheffield, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff and Croydon.

Stow College – Glasgow to New York

Experts from Stow College recently told delegates at a New York conference that the teaching of science, technology, engineering and maths needs a radical overhaul to encourage more young people to study them.

Senior staff at the Glasgow learning establishment were invited to return to the American conference run by the Association of Community College Trustees for the second year in succession to share their secrets of success.

Stow College is bucking the international trend for falling student numbers in science, technology, engineering and maths – the STEM subjects. The city centre college has had a 36% rise in applications for science and engineering courses alone, this year. It has introduced new pathways into STEM subjects and careers with courses tailored to suit school age pupils through to mature students. Stow is also the first place in the West of Scotland to introduce a new ‘Skills for Work in Energy’ course to attract school pupils to careers in renewable energies. It recently introduced a new exit route from its phenomenally successful ‘Access to Medicine’ course into Dentistry at the University of Glasgow.

Said Alex McLean, Vice Principal of Stow College and one of the team to take New York by storm: ‘It is vital we address the problem of falling numbers of students in the STEM subjects. Our national and international economies demand skilled workers in these areas to meet current needs throughout the developed world. We are working closely with partners in Scotland to address this problem and to meet Scottish Government priorities. We also plan to work with international partners to address the issue in a global context.’

Dr Peter Hughes is the Chief Executive of Scottish Engineering, a key partner of Stow College. He said: ‘A key element of a successful Scottish engineering sector is the supply of well-qualified, motivated, young people. Many companies have difficulties recruiting such personnel because of the downturn in pupils studying the key subjects of science, technology and mathematics. Initiatives to reverse the trend can play a vital part in developing key skills for the future. Scottish Engineering is pleased to support Stow College in developing effective pathways into science, engineering and mathematics.’

Starter Pack Girls Bare All – for Charity

December 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Glasgow South, Local News

Starter Packs Bare AllThe girls at Starter Packs in Govan are showing their cheeky side in a calendar which they hope will raise £6,000 for the charity.

The ‘Govan Gals’ have bared all, almost, for the photographs which were taken in the kitchen of a house in Linthouse.

As the LOCAL NEWS hits the street, the calendar was expected to be on sale in the Starter Packs’ office in Burleigh Street at £9.99p each.

The idea came about a month ago when some of the girls were having a drink. ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time,’ said Sarah Findlay. ‘In the cold light of day we have gone through with it and are pleased with the end result.’

Sarah, project leader at Starter Packs, features in the calendar as Autumn Nights. She said: ‘The calendar has a 50’s retro theme, strategically positioned period items save our blushes. There are no skinny malinkies – the calendar proves real women exist.’

Starter Packs has been running in Govan for 20 years and provides essential items in a welcome pack for homeless families and single people taking up a permanent tenancy in the Greater Glasgow area. 

Sarah said: ‘Everyone who features in the calendar is either staff or a volunteer with Starter Packs or they are people who have used our service.’

To find out more, or to get your hands on a copy, drop into Starter Packs, 41 Burleigh Street, Govan or telephone 0141 440 1008.

Elder Park Primary Earmarked for Demolition

December 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Glasgow South, Local News

It survived two world wars including an assault from the German Luftwaffe but now Elder Park Primary School is to be demolished by new owners Quarriers.

The children’s charity bought the 1899 Victorian red sandstone building for £265,000 from Glasgow City Council last year and intends to flatten it to construct an epilepsy centre. The plans have incensed locals who have formed SOS Linthouse, Save Our School. They hope to make the charity re-think its plans to demolish the building on St Kenneth Drive in Linthouse.

Govan was recently declared a conservation area but ironically the school is twelve feet over the boundary line.

Sarah Findlay of SOS said: ‘This is winnable and we intend to fight for this.’

Around 30 people comfortably gathered in the school for a meeting last month while heavy rains and high winds battered the water tight building.

And the group’s spirits have been boosted with the involvement of MSP Nicola Sturgeon who is now in the process of facilitating a meeting between Quarriers and SOS. There is hope this might be convened before the end of the year.

Sarah said: ‘No-one for Quarries has turned up at any of our meetings and all we have had is a letter. Children at the school have proposed the school could have an art centre on the ground floor and housing above – which would be great for the area.’

A spokesperson for Quarriers said: ‘Two years ago when Quarriers first began searching for a site in Govan to build a new National Epilepsy Centre, the criteria was that is should be situated close to the Institute of Neurology at the Southern General Hospital. When Quarriers agreed to purchase the site in September 2007 it was made clear to all concerned that the school would be demolished in order for the National Epilepsy Centre to be built. The new centre will be of national importance and will mean that people who suffer from Epilepsy in Scotland will be able to benefit from the most modern and up to date services.’

Boys’ Brigade 125th Anniversary

More than 750 people crowded into Glasgow Cathedral to mark the 125th anniversary of the Boys’ Brigade (BB) in October with boys from, naturally, the 1st Glasgow Company taking many of the duties during the service. This included laying a wreath on the plaque in the Cathedral to Sir William Smith, the BB founder. The Boys’ Brigade is the oldest existing uniformed youth organisation in the world.

Despite heavy rain which forced the displays and activities before and after the service to be held in the nave of the church, the Anchor Boys, the Junior Section and the Company Section all gave of their best. The 231st Glasgow Company’s pipe band also entertained.

The Right Revd David Lunan, Moderator of the Church of Scotland gave the address. 

And celebrations will continue till April when a Tattoo will be staged in Braehead Arena to showcase the talents of BB members from across Scotland.

A Seniors Dinner was held at the end of last month in Rutherglen Town Hall. 

From its origins in Glasgow in 1883 the BB has spread to over 64 countries around the globe and it has been an inspiration and influence to countless of other youth organisations.

This session of 2007-2008 is, in fact, the 125th session of the 1st Glasgow Company In May 2008 the Company held its 125th Annual Inspection which was a great success. The Company is still very active and continues to serve young people in the same area of the city.

The Glasgow Battalion has six districts covering six geographic areas. Within these districts there are 76 smaller companies. A total of 3074 boys and 801 staff are managed by the Scottish headquarters which are based in Ibrox.

Centenary for Shawlands United Reform Church

December 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Churches, Glasgow South, Local News

As the United Reform Church in Shawlands prepares to celebrate 100 years of worship in the same building, an invitation is extended to anyone with connections to the Southside church to get in touch.

Formerly a Churches of Christ congregation, the first service was held on Moss-side Road in 1909 so arrangements have been made to hold several anniversary services next year.

John McGeary, church elder of twenty years said: ‘Many of our past members have moved out of the district but it is hoped we can contact those who either attended or were married in the church to invite them to our special services.’

Alongside the 60- 80 members who regularly worship at the church in Moss Side Road, groups such as mothers and toddlers, painting classes, musical classes and martial arts, regularly use the premises. All are invited to join in the centenary events.

Some of the highlights planned for the coming year include a reunion service on April 25 for members no longer in the area.  Throughout June, July and August the church will be open every Wednesday for private visits and prayer. A Flower Festival on September 19 and 20 will coincide with Doors Open Day which the church will be participating in.

John continued: ‘It is our dearest wish that those who attend a special service will recall many happy memories of their time in the church as a member or attending a wedding or a baptism service or simply as a visitor who joined us for Sunday morning worship.’

To contact John phone 0141 632 4660.


* The United Reform Church is a Christian Church in the tradition of the Reformation and is the union of four established churches; The Congregational Church of England and Wales, The Presbyterian Church of England, The Re-Formed Association of Churches of Christ and The Congregational Union of Scotland.

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