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Updated: 4 min 38 sec ago

Thirteen ill after 'chemical incident' at Scottish Gas HQ

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 20:09

Thirteen people are ill after a suspected chemical incident at a Scottish Gas building in Edinburgh.

Police Scotland said the incident happened at 5.15pm on Friday at the building on Waterfront Avenue.

Thirteen people have received treatment at the scene for minor illness, and three of those people have been taken to hospital for further observation.

Officers are urging people to avoid the area while the emergency response is ongoing, and Waterfront Broadway, Waterfront Avenue and Caroline Park Avenue are currently closed.

A spokesman said: ""We received a report of a possible chemical incident within a Scottish Gas building in Waterfront Avenue, Edinburgh.

"This happened around 5.15pm on Friday 21 September.

"We are working alongside our partners in the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to establish the cause of this incident."

Categories: Local News

Veteran who spent decades fundraising on streets nears £1m

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 18:08

A 98-year-old war veteran who has spent two decades fundraising on Edinburgh's streets has almost reached a million pounds.

After spending years on the Royal Mile, Tom Gilzean is now a fixture on Princes Street, where you can find him in his signature tartan trousers with his two charity cans every day, no matter the weather.

The money he has raised over the years has benefited several good causes, including veterans and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

Tom said it all started when he met a sick little girl, and asked the children's hospital what he could do to help.

He said that it is through the generosity of the people who pass him in the streets that he has almost reached the £1m mark.

"I'm delighted, very delighted," he said. "It's taken me a long time to collect the money, but as long as I'm alive, I'll sit on Princes Street and collect when I can."

Over the years Tom has been recognised for his incredible dedication to charity.

He was awarded the British Empire Medal by the Queen in 2013, and was the eighth person to be honoured with the Edinburgh Award.

He followed in the footsteps of Sir Chris Hoy, JK Rowling and Ian Rankin - bit was the first recipient to be honoured for charity work.

"I love Edinburgh, people are very good to me, they look after me in every way," he said.

"When I was up the Royal Mile I got cups of tea - I even got a free lunch!"

'I'm going on for my second million, I never give up.' Tom Gilzean

After many years of being in the public eye, Tom has become quite the celebrity amongst the people of Edinburgh.

He said: "I just tried my best - I love all of the people because they've helped me so much to get the money.

"Where would I get a million pounds if I didn't come out on the streets and collect for charity?"

Tom thinks he will get to the million-pound mark in the next few weeks, and is expecting Edinburgh's Lord Provost to put the last penny in the tin.

At 98, and having dedicated so many years to his cause, some people might think that Tom would now retire from charity work and spend his time relaxing - but that is not the case.

"I'm going on for my second million, I never give up," he said.

"If I give up, I'm dead. No - I'll go on for a second million.

"I might not make it, but I'll try very hard."

Categories: Local News

Crossbow and axe found as police raids target gangsters

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 16:19

A crossbow, an axe and a dagger were among weapons seized during a series of police raids in West Lothian.

Around 50 officers were involved in Thursday's operation targeting organised crime in the area.

Searches were carried out at addresses in Uphall, Winchburgh, Philpstoun and Bridgend.

Officers also recovered a hunting knife, air weapon gas canisters and cannabis growing equipment.

A 30-year-old man has been arrested and is expected to appear at Livingston Sheriff Court on October 1.

Detective Inspector Paul Batten said: "After intelligence was received relating to illicit items, including weapons and drugs, being within a number of West Lothian homes, swift enforcement action was carried out resulting in these recoveries and the arrest, so far, of one man.

"Our inquiries are continuing and the public can rest assured that all resources at our disposal will be utilised as we continue to target those linked to organised crime in West Lothian.

"If you have information relating to ongoing criminality within your community you can report this to us via 101 or make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

Categories: Local News

Three-vehicle crash causes major tailbacks on city bypass

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 10:29

A three-vehicle collision has occurred on the Edinburgh city bypass.

The incident happened at around 10am on Friday morning on the A720 at the Wester Hailes junction.

Police were called to the crash at 9.24am and the vehicles involved were moved onto the hard shoulder.

The occupants of the vehicles sustained no injuries.

Large tailbacks were reported eastbound on the Edinburgh bypass, with vehicles queuing as far back as Hermiston Gait according to Traffic Scotland.

Categories: Local News

Fife named UK's most enterprising region in awards

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 07:05

Fife has been named the UK's most enterprising region in awards recognising business innovation.

The Enterprising Britain Awards are part of a government drive to increase entrepreneurial activity in the UK.

As well as winning most enterprising region, Fife Council came out top in the Promoting Entrepreneurial Spirit category for supporting young people to develop skills and get into education, training or employment.

Council co-leaders, David Alexander and David Ross, said: "We are delighted that Fife is rightfully getting recognition for creating an excellent environment to support our business community to develop and grow, which, in turn, are creating quality opportunities for our local communities.

"Fife Council and its business partners continue to work tirelessly to create fairer economic growth, where everyone benefits, provide good employment opportunities and secure investment in the region."

The council will be recognised at a reception at the House of Commons on October 30.

UK Government Minister, Lord Duncan, said: "Businesses in Fife have proved they can compete with - and beat - the best in Britain.

"I'm delighted that Fife has been named the Most Enterprising Place in Britain."

Categories: Local News

Scots teacher: 'Multi-faith school in Israel builds bridges'

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 07:05

A Scottish teacher who leads a multi-faith school in Israel has described it as a "bright light in a very difficult land".

Margaret MacDonald spoke out about Tabeetha School in Jaffa to mark UN International Day of Peace on Thursday.

The Church of Scotland institution has a mix of 339 Christian, Jewish and Muslim children from across the world.

Ms MacDonald, of Bo'ness in West Lothian, said: "The school is a special place and the Church of Scotland's presence in this country is very important.

"It is a bright light in a very difficult land.

"It is a land of fear where there is mistrust and lack of understanding among the Jewish and Arab communities.

"The Church of Scotland brings both groups together."

'It is a bright light in a very difficult land.' Margaret MacDonald, leader of multi-faith school in Israel

She added government-run schools in Israel generally cater to individual communities, which leaves little opportunity to learn about anyone different from themselves.

Tabeetha, founded in 1863, is one of the few places in Israel where children and young people of different languages, faiths, cultures and histories are educated together in English.

It has 34 teachers from around the world and has formed a new twinning partnership with Braes High School in Polmont, near Falkirk.

To mark UN International Day of Peace, which commemorates the ideals of peace, a joint no-uniform day is being held at both schools.

Pupils at Tabeetha will wear white, green or yellow and youngsters at Braes will sport blue, red, green and yellow - the schools' house colours.

Ms MacDonald said: "We pride ourselves in developing an intellectual, spiritual and social awareness in all our pupils, regardless of race, ability, gender or religion.

"There are children from all over the world rubbing shoulders every day and at the moment there are some 40 different languages and dialects spoken.

"Arabs learn about Jews and vice-versa which gives them confidence to go out into the world of work, able and willing to work with people of all religions and none."

Categories: Local News

Edinburgh 'leading Scottish building boom', study shows

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 07:04

Edinburgh is leading a Scottish building boom, according to Royal Mail data.

The City of Edinburgh has applied for the most new development plans in Scotland in the last three years, it said.

Royal Mail's "Not Yet Built" database is notified of any new building developments, both business and residential.

Annual construction output in Scotland has nearly doubled in the last five years, according to the company.

A spokesman said: "The City of Edinburgh district is very much at the epicentre of this growth, with 9014 new development plans applied for in the last three years.

"Infrastructure, including water, roads and railways, is the main driver for building in the last five years within Scotland."

Glasgow ranked second for new development applications (6215) followed by South Lanarkshire (4684).

Edinburgh City Council chief executive, Andrew Kerr, said this week he believed the capital could overtake Glasgow as Scotland's largest city by 2032.

Categories: Local News

Giant lanterns return to Edinburgh Zoo with a mythical magic

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 07:00

Giant lanterns are once again set to light up the night at Edinburgh Zoo - this time with a special mythical magic.

The zoo held the spectacular Giant Lanterns of China event for the first time last year, filling their grounds with a dazzling trail of glowing silk and steel animals.

This winter the event returns but with an exciting new theme of "myths and legends", featuring hundreds of magical and mythical creatures from unicorns and faeries to kelpies and Nessie the Loch Ness Monster.

For 50 nights from November 16, visitors will be able to wander by 450 gigantic lanterns inspired by mythical creatures from Scottish and Chinese folklore.

STV were given a sneak preview of some of the lanterns which will be on display, as the first few mythical creatures arrive in Scotland.

Following the huge success of the inaugural event, which attracted more than 83,000 visitors, this year's gigantic, handmade steel and silk sculptures will take visitors on a completely new nocturnal trail around the zoo.

The entire event is inspired by the Scottish tradition of storytelling, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland's worldwide animal conservation work and the cultural heritage of Sichuan - where the zoo's resident giant pandas were born.

More than 50 Chinese craftspeople from Sichuan will spend over 25,000 hours expertly producing the bespoke installations.

Barbara Smith, chief executive at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said: "This year's Giant Lanterns of China event is set to be bigger and even more spectacular than ever. We're bringing to life a new myths and legends theme in an awe-inspiring nocturnal trail around the zoo, which features everything from Scotland's very own Nessie to a colossal phoenix from China.

"Visitors will come face-to-face with famous fairy tales, folklore and fables from the Far East and Western cultures. Each night, we will illuminate the critical conservation work of RZSS by telling the stories of endangered animals that face extinction and the real risk of them becoming legends for future generations."

Tickets for The Giant Lanterns of China are priced from £9.50 for children and £18 for adults and advanced online booking discounts are available. Tickets are available at

Categories: Local News

Man charged over death following 'attack' in woods

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 22:20

A man has been charged over the death of a man following an alleged attack in woods behind a Lidl.

Emergency services were called to Gorgie/Dalry Community Park in Edinburgh at 2am on Thursday.

A 48-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 50-year-old man has now been charged and is due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Friday.

A spokesman for Police Scotland said: "A man has been charged with murder following the death of a 48-year-old man found in a wooded area at the Gorgie/Dalry Community Park, behind the Lidl supermarket, during the early hours of Thursday, September 20.

"The 50-year-old is scheduled to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Friday 21st September."

Categories: Local News

Second wind for champion bagpiper who lost fingers 

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 16:27

A champion bagpiper who lost his fingers and leg after suffering a serious illness has been given a second chance to play.

Bagpipes were part of everyday life for Andrew Shilliday, who studied piping at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland before teaching bagpipes in Wester Ross, Ullapool and Gairloch.

The Northern Irishman - a former member of 15-time world champion pipe band Shotts and Dykehead - was diagnosed with the devastating illness systematic sclerosis in 2012.

The disease - which developed from serious fibrosis in his lungs - caused him to lose most of his fingers and part of his legs.

Despite having to learn to walk again and the loss of his fingers making playing an instrument difficult, his love for the pipes never subsided.

He learned how to play the drums and recently developed an electronic 'chanter', with differently placed finger holes to allow him to play music.

Now his former bandmate, John Elliot, who runs G1 Reeds in Kirkcaldy, has created a specially adapted pipe chanter.

The pair spent hours in the workshop to make sure the pipe chanter would be comfortable and suitable for Andrew.

They tested it out properly at a concert in Kirkcaldy on Wednesday night - Andrew's first bagpiping performance for years.

Andrew said: "For the first time in four years I was actually able to play again. I was just really happy to play again, even simple tunes.

"I feel like I'm getting better every day and I'm quite hopeful I could maybe even get back to competitions some day as well."

Categories: Local News

Killer jailed for life over murder of man after fundraiser

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 14:14

A killer has been jailed for life after "viciously" murdering a man making his way home from a fundraising event in Edinburgh.

Nico Allan, 24, attacked Mark Squires in a lane off Longstone Road and left the victim with "innumerable" facial fractures.

The 44-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest and despite efforts to save him, his condition later deteriorated in hospital.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that Mr Squires, a carer for his mother, had been attending a charity event he had arranged for a sick friend.

He and another friend were awaiting a taxi home when Allan launched an unprovoked attack on him during the early hours of October 22, 2017.

He repeatedly punched and kicked him, stamped on his head and struck him with a glass bottle.

Lord Tyre ordered that first offender Allan should serve a minimum term of 12 years' imprisonment before he becomes eligible to seek release.

He told Allan at the High Court in Edinburgh: "You committed an extremely violent attack which was both unnecessary and unprovoked."

'It remains a mystery to me how you, a man with no record of previous offending, committed an act of such vicious and reckless violence.' Lord Tyre

The judge added: "It remains a mystery to me how you, a man with no record of previous offending, committed an act of such vicious and reckless violence."

Speaking following the sentencing, Nicola Patrick, procurator fiscal for homicide and major crime, said: "This was an unprovoked attack carried out with a shocking level of violence.

"It is clear Nico Allan had no thought or concern for the consequences of his actions and Mark Squires has lost his life as a result."

Categories: Local News

Child seriously injured after being hit by tree at school

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 11:50

A child has been seriously injured after being hit by a tree in a school playground.

The incident happened at Trinity Primary School in Edinburgh at 1pm on Wednesday.

The primary two pupil was in the playground at lunchtime when a branch came off a tree and struck him.

STV News understands the boy suffered "multiple" serious injuries.

His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

A cordon was put in place while investigations were carried out.

It comes after Storm Ali caused destruction across Scotland on Wednesday, with gusts of more than 90mph recorded. | default
Categories: Local News

Cat injured after being shot three times with air rifle

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 11:15

A cat was left seriously injured after being shot three times with an air rifle in Falkirk.

The feline, called Ice, was taken to the vet by his owners after he returned home impaired on Saturday, September 8.

Ice required emergency surgery after a pellet was detected in his stomach.

The Scottish SPCA is now appealing for information.

Inspector Robyn Gray said: "Ice must have been in extreme pain but managed to make it home.

"Thankfully his owners acted very quickly and when they became concerned about his behaviour they immediately took him to the vet, which saved his life. | default

"This is the second cat shooting in the area that has been reported to us in recent months.

"The first incident happened in June and Oreo, the cat involved, lost an eye due to the thoughtless actions of the thug involved.

"We are urging local pet owners to be vigilant and would be interested to hear from anyone who may have information about the incident and encourage them to contact our animal helpline as soon as possible."

Anyone with information is being urged to contact the Scottish SPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

Categories: Local News

Man dies after being 'attacked' in woods behind Lidl

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 10:29

A man has died in woods after allegedly being attacked in woods behind a Lidl.

Emergency services were called to Gorgie/Dalry Community Park in Edinburgh at 2am on Thursday.

A 48-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have arrested a man, 50, in connection with the alleged incident.

Officers have cordoned off part of the woods as well as the Grassmarket while investigations are carried out.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "Police in Edinburgh are investigating after a man was found with serious injuries in the wooded area at the Gorgie/Dalry Community Park, behind the Lidl supermarket, at around 2am on Thursday.

"The Scottish Ambulance Service also attended and pronounced the 48-year-old dead at the scene.

"A 50-year-old man has been arrested in connection with this incident and enquiries are continuing."

Categories: Local News

Storm Ali: Travel chaos as trains cancelled across Scotland

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 15:54

Storm Ali is causing travel chaos, with trains cancelled across Scotland.

Almost all services from Glasgow Queen Street, Central and Edinburgh Waverley were suspended due to the storms.

Trains between Glasgow and Edinburgh were beginning to return to normal around 4pm on Wednesday.

Services through Ayr, Largs, Ardrossan, Gourock, Wemyss Bay, Lanark, Paisley and Barrhead/Kilmarnock were affected.

A ScotRail spokesman said major lines are blocked due to the debris caused by Storm Ali.

He said: "Storm Ali is having a severe impact on Scotland's railway infrastructure, particularly in the Central Belt.

"The storm has caused major line blockages - for example a number of trees have fallen onto the line - and overheard wires have been damaged.

"This has resulted in the suspension of a number of our routes.

"Network Rail engineers are working flat out to get things back to normal, and ScotRail is doing everything it can to keep people moving. But services will be severely impacted for the rest of the day.

"Ticket acceptance is in place with bus operators across many parts of the country, and we are working to get buses in place to replace trains on some routes." | default
Categories: Local News

Edinburgh's Hogmanay to celebrate ties with Europe

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 12:00

Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations will celebrate the ties between Scotland and the continent as the UK prepares to leave the EU in 2019.

Franz Ferdinand and Capercaillie are among the Scottish bands performing alongside European acts including French performance artists Compagnie Transe Express.

Youngsters will also play a key part in the festivities to mark Scotland's Year of Young People 2018 drawing to a close.

The three-day festival opens on December 30 with a traditional torchlight procession through the city.

This year's procession will be lead by pipe and drum bands and will culminate in a "stunning" visual moment in Holyrood Park, where the procession will form the outline of Scotland lit by torches.

On December 31, bands, DJs, street performers, dancers, acrobats, disco divas and fire eaters from Scotland and mainland Europe will be performing at the street party, which starts at 7.30pm.

Franz Ferdinand will headline the Concert in the Gardens at the foot of Castle Rock, supported by Metronomy and Free Love, while some of the country's top ceilidh bands will play at Ceilidh under the Castle.

Scots singer-songwriter Gerry Cinnamon will headline the Waverley stage, with Judge Jules headlining the DJ stage on Castle Street while Elephant Sessions will perform at South St David Street.

At midnight, German band Meute will provide the soundtrack to the fireworks display from Edinburgh Castle.

The McEwan Hall will be a Hogmanay venue for the first time, hosting three major concerts - Symphonic Ibiza on December 30 and Capercaillie and Carlos Nunez with special guests on January 1.

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of the Hogmanay, said: "Edinburgh's Hogmanay is all about inviting the world to come on in and celebrate the end of one year and the start of a new, and as we move from 2018 to 2019 there's no better time to celebrate Scotland's cultural ties with Europe.

He added: "We're confident that Edinburgh's Hogmanay offers something for everyone."

"It's appropriate that this year we have chosen to say loudly and proudly to our European friends - 'we love you!"' Martin Green

The celebrations are set to continue past the Bells and into the New Year with more than more than 1,000 people are expected to take place in the Loony Dook in the Firth of Forth to raise money for their chosen charities on January 1st.

In addition, the Message from the Skies event asks six leading writers to each write a love letter to Europe. Running alongside the Edinburgh International Book Festival, it runs from January 1 to 25.

Martin Green, Edinburgh's Hogmanay executive producer, said: "It's an honour to have another opportunity to lead the creative team on the world's greatest street party.

"It's appropriate that this year we have chosen to say loudly and proudly to our European friends - 'we love you!"'

Categories: Local News

Image released after teenager attacked outside nightclub

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 10:53

Images of a man police want to speak with in connection with an assault in Edinburgh have been released.

An 18-year-old needed surgery on a serious facial injury when he was punched by another man after leaving Atik nightclub in West Tollcross on Saturday, September 1.

The teenager was on a traffic island at the top of Earl Gray Street when the assault took place at around 3.20am.

Officers investigating the incident have issued a picture of a man they believe can assist with their enquiries and have asked anyone who recognises him to contact them.

They have also asked that anyone who was leaving Atik nightclub at that time or may have witnessed the incident to get in touch.

Detective Constable Leigh Inglis, from Edinburgh's Violence Reduction Unit, said: "This attack resulted in the victim sustaining very painful injuries to his face and subsequent surgery.

"In addition to urging other patrons who were leaving Atik nightclub at that time to contact us if they witnessed this incident, we are also keen to hear from anyone who can help identify the male in these images.

"Similarly, if you have any other information relevant to this investigation then please get in touch.

"Those with information can contact the VRU via 101."

Categories: Local News

Edinburgh public asked to shape future of capital city

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 21:43

Edinburgh locals have been asked to shape the future of the capital city.

Residents are being asked about radical plans, which include pedestrianising streets in communities across the city.

Another suggestion from the local authority is to impose lower emission zones, either in pollution hotspots like St Johns Road, or in Edinburgh as a whole.

The local authority said it wants to make the capital a healthier place to live and work, following the example of cities like New York and Paris, which closed down major streets to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Transport convener Lesley Mcinnes said: "As a council we are serious about tackling poor air quality, reducing congestion and making it as easy as possible to get around Edinburgh, especially by walking, cycling and public transport."

The plan has been welcomed by campaigners, Friends of the Earth Scotland.

Campaigner Emilia Hanna said: "These proposals won't just help clean our air quality, but they'll make Edinburgh an even more wonderful place to spend time in.

"We urge everyone who wants to make Edinburgh cleaner, safer and easier to travel around to make their voice heard on these plans."

Categories: Local News

Appeal for witnesses after 'extremely serious' flat fire

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 18:05

A fire which was deliberately started in a flat could have been "extremely serious", police say.

Emergency services were called to the property on Haig Crescent, Bathgate at around 5.30am on Monday, which was found to be ablaze with its windows smashed.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service quickly extinguished the flames and no one were hurt.

Police Scotland believe the fire was deliberate and officers are now appealing for witnesses.

Detective constable Lynn Myles said: "This fire had the potential to become extremely serious and it was only due to the prompt action of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service that a minimal amount of damage was caused.

"It is essential that we trace those involved in this incident as soon as possible.

"I would ask anyone who was in the Haig Crescent area of Bathgate in the early hours of Monday and saw anything suspicious, to get in touch with us at their earliest convenience."

Categories: Local News

Hotel plans for historic Royal High go to public inquiry

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 13:43

A public inquiry into the future of Edinburgh's old Royal High School building has begun.

The historic 19th century building - designed by Scottish architect Thomas Hamilton - on Calton Hill is one of the capital's best known locations, but has lain empty for decades.

Developers Duddingston House Properties and Urbanist Hotels are appealing against Edinburgh council's rejection of two planning applications to create a luxury hotel on the site.

Those were turned down despite the firm having an agreement with the council to come up with ideas for bringing the abandoned building back into use.

The developers say the hotel development would create 250 new jobs and boost the economy by £35m.

A rival plan from St Mary's Music School was granted planning permission but it currently has no rights over the council-owned building itself.

The inquiry is expected to last around six weeks before a report will be prepared for Scottish Government ministers.

They will then make a decision on whether to give the hotel plans approval. | default
Categories: Local News