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Moray

Fatal road accident on A96 near Huntly

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Police Scotland attended a two-vehicle road traffic accident which occurred on the A96 Inverness – Aberdeen road at about 7.20 this morning (Sunday 30 June) at Windyraw, Huntly.

The accident involved a dark grey Volvo XC60 and a silver Dacia Duster.

The 20 year old female driver of the Dacia tragically died from her injuries at the scene, while the three men from the Volvo – aged 48, 22 and 22 – were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Sgt Andy Ramsay of the Roads Policing Dept said: “Our thoughts at this difficult time are with the friends and family of those involved.”

The investigation into the cause of the accident is under way, and the Police is urging anyone who has not yet spoken with Police and has seen the collision or either vehicle prior to the accident, or has any dashcam footage, to contact Police on 101 and quote incident 1259 (30/06/2019).

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Moray

Moray Council to become carbon neutral by 2030

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Demonstrators demanding action on climate emergency

Councillors Louise Laing and David Bremner put forward a notice of motion at yesterday’s (Thursday 27 June) full council meeting to recommend a climate change group be formed, joining other local authorities including Glasgow City Council and Edinburgh City Council, in their pledge.

In colourful scenes in front of the Council’s Headquarters in Elgin High Street, demonstrators from across Moray presented the Council with a petition supporting the motion and demanding action.

“Individuals alone could not make the changes needed without the cooperation of local and national governments”, petitioner John Lardner said, “nor could governments at all levels make changes without support and cooperation from the people. However, once a climate and ecological emergency is recognised on all levels, everyone can do their bit.”

Speyside High student Hannah Weir and petitioner John Lardner were among demonstrators demanding action

Moray Council is already progressing energy-efficiency projects, including its LED street light replacement programme, which is ahead of schedule and currently £132,000 under budget. It’s also expected to deliver annual electricity savings in the region of £350,000.

Additionally, eco-friendly measures are being included in school refurbishment and new-build projects, including external cladding for insulation, upgraded hot water and heating systems, and upgraded roofing.

Convener of Moray Council, Cllr Shona Morrison, is pleased with progress but says there is more than can be done: “We’re already taking steps to lower our carbon footprint; just this month we launched an electric bus serving rural communities in Moray, while cutting emissions by up to 70 per cent, and Speyside’s low carbon hub is another great example of how we’re offering alternative, greener travel.

“We must look beyond this though, take on views from the community, and continue to be proactive in introducing new and innovative ways to meet our target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.”

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Moray

Membership offer for new Sports Centre

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Moray Sports Centre; image by Rotorworx

Membership to the new multi-million-pound Moray Sports Centre is now available, with those getting in early securing reduced fees.

The first phase of the Moray Sports Centre in Elgin will open its doors at the start of next month, currently aiming for Monday, 1 July, with the first 400 new members signing up being treated to a discount.

Located in the south of Elgin, the charity-run complex will offer a multi-purpose hall with separate gym, indoor cycling room, and numerous studios which will house fitness and mindfulness classes and a yoga suite.

The Centre is also collaborating with the popular franchise Cobbs which will be showcasing its healthy eating range in the café and restaurant capable of seating 140 people.

The finishing touches are now being put in place at the Linkwood Road site with equipment being installed every day.

Chief Executive Kathryn Evans said all the Centre needs now is members: “This is a very exciting time, and throughout the whole process from concept to the first phase of the Moray Sports Centre now almost being complete our thoughts have always been about the members. They have always been at the forefront of every step and what is very important to us is that the Centre is inclusive and welcoming to all.

“We want the Centre to be the heart of the community, a real hub where people can come and use the versatile spaces, enjoy time in the café and of course partake in the sport and fitness activities that we will have on offer.

“As we edge closer to that opening date of July 1, our vision is everyday becoming more of a reality and we are thinking more and more about who will be coming through that door, hence why we decided to offer a reduction to the first 400 sign ups.”

Kathryn added: “Our members will get a first-class service and will benefit from being able to book our many classes in advance. We have a varied offering to suit all abilities which includes PIYO, dance classes, bodyweights, Zumba and more. The more demand we get, the more we can add and we also want to hear from the public about what type of activities they would like, and we will do our best to make it happen.”

Kathryn explained that one key member benefit is having access to a fitness instructor: “We have employed enough fitness instructors so the members will feel as though they are getting a personal trainer experience, with tailored fitness programs being just one of the member benefits.”

The Moray Sports centre is being financed by the Moray Sports Foundation charity and secured a £250,000 grant from sportscotland.

Other monies have been raised by sponsorship and fundraising.

“The development of the Moray Sports Centre has been a real community effort,” added Kathryn. “As well as the substantial grant from sportscotland, and of course the Moray Sports Foundation, we have had other significant donations from private benefactors. There have also been local groups who have hosted their own events to raise what they can. We really believe that this new Centre will have a huge impact on the community for years to come.”

The project will take shape over a number of phases, and it is thought once the Centre is fully operational it will create over 100 jobs.

When the Centre gym opens on July 1 a team of 40 people be in place to look after the members’ needs.

It has already attracted attention from big sporting events and in August will host the World Karate Commission’s (WKC) Scottish Championship where over 300 competitors, coaches and spectators from across the city will descend on the centre.

The first 400 people joining the Moray Sports Centre before June 30 can get monthly membership for £33 or an annual subscription for £363.

Deals for corporate members are also available.

For more information and to view the new timetable visit www.moraysportscentre.co.uk

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Moray

Keep an eye out for children at risk

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Chair of Moray Council’s Children & Young People’s Services Committee, Cllr Sonya Warren

Everyone in Moray is being encouraged to keep their eyes open for children at risk during the school holidays.

As Moray schools prepare to ring the end of term bell on 28 June for the holidays, a national child protection organisation is urging everyone to be extra observant to help protect potentially vulnerable children while school’s out for summer.

Child Protection Committees Scotland, a nationwide grouping of child protection professionals, hopes that members of the public will keep their eyes open and play a part to keep children safe from harm during the long break in the school routine.

Chair of Moray Council’s Children & Young People’s Services Committee, Cllr Sonya Warren, who is a member of Moray’s Child Protection Committee, said the summer holidays don’t present a fun-filled, relaxing time for everyone: “Most children in Moray look forward to having lots of fun and free time during the school holidays, but for some families the summer break can bring extra stress and pressure. In some cases, children might not be looked after or supervised properly, and some might even experience serious neglect.”

CPCScotland stresses that everyone in every community across the country is responsible for child welfare. By taking a more watchful, active “eyes open” approach, CPCScotland suggests that all members of the public can play a part to protect our children. As well as being vigilant, Cllr Warren stresses that’s also essential to take action if you’re concerned about a child during the school holidays: “We’re simply asking people in Moray to keep their eyes open for tell-tale signs that all is not well. Signs that at child might be at risk could include being alone and unsupervised, being out and about at all times of day or night or even going into “party” flats. A vulnerable child might be very dirty or persistently hungry, or have parents who are drunk in charge of them. If you’re at all worried, it’s important to take action.”

If you have seen something and have concerns about a child or children CPCScotland are clear that it’s much better to say something than do nothing. Cllr Warren says that your intervention could help a child at risk: “You can ask the child if they’re okay or even offer the family some support. Or, if the situation is serious and you’re very worried, contact our social work department, or the police.”

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Moray

Police appeal continues after sexual assault in Elgin

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Police officers are continuing to appeal for information as enquiries continue into a report of a sexual assault at Doocot Park in Elgin last week.

The incident occurred at around 1am last Friday, 21 June, close to North Street, and involved a 33-year-old woman. She was uninjured but understandably left shaken by what happened.

Enquiries have continued throughout the weekend at the scene, with additional patrols carried out in the area for public reassurance. Officers leading the investigation are following a positive line of enquiry and continue to appeal to anyone with information to get in touch.

Detective Inspector David Howieson said: “I would like to thank all those who have assisted with our investigation so far and would also continue to ask anyone with information which hasn’t been provided to Police yet to get in touch. Do you remember seeing or hearing anything unusual in the area around the time in question? Did you see a man going into or leaving Doocot Park?

“I would also continue to urge anyone with dash-cam footage of the area and surrounding streets captured between 11pm on Thursday night and 1.30am on Friday morning to get in touch as soon as possible. A man we would like to speak to is aged in his twenties, of a slim build, around 5ft 7 – 6ft in height and was wearing a black hooded top. He was last seen walking into Doocot Park.”

DI Howieson added: “Incidents of this nature are extremely rare so I can understand the concern local residents have. Please be assured that every effort is being made to identify the person responsible.”

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Moray

Festivalgoers to help rewild the Highlands

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Trees for Life volunteers at Dundreggan Conservation Estate near Loch Ness © Stephen Couling, Trees for Life

Music lovers attending this year’s Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival – the Highland’s longest running and biggest music festival – are being encouraged to help rewild the Scottish Highlands by having their own trees planted by conservation charity Trees for Life.

With growing concerns about the threats of climate change and loss of nature, the organisers of ‘Bella’ 2019 are calling on attendees to mitigate the carbon impact of travelling to the event near Inverness through donations to fund native trees.

Every tree will help Trees for Life restore the globally important Caledonian Forest together with its precious wildlife such as red squirrels and pine martens.

The trees donated will be planted at Trees for Life’s acclaimed Dundreggan Conservation Estate – a 10,000-acre forest regeneration site and biodiversity hotspot in Glenmoriston near Loch Ness.

“We’re delighted Bella is helping to bring back one of the world’s most magical forest habitats. As well as trees, rewilding is about people, culture and place – so it’s wonderful to connect nature, music and the wild spirit of the Highlands like this,” said Steve Micklewright, Trees for Life’s Chief Executive.

Claire Clark from Bella said: “The wild Caledonian Forest once covered much of the Highlands, but today only one per cent remains – which we think is a really big problem. So we’re asking Bella-goers to help. Every £6 donation will allow Trees for Life to plant a native tree – a lasting legacy, and a great, green way to give back to nature when visiting Bella 2019.”

So far Trees for Life’s volunteers have established 1.7 million native trees, and the charity is also successfully reintroducing red squirrels to suitable woodlands across the Highlands.

The award-winning charity will have a dedicated presence at Bella from 1-3 August, so that attendees can discover more about rewilding the Highlands. See http://tartanheartfestival.co.uk for details about the event.

Everyone who dedicates trees through the Bella initiative will have their names included in a tally of tree planters at www.treesforlife.org.uk/bella, and will be invited to a celebration day at Dundreggan in September – with music, activities and opportunities to plant their own tree or to see it being planted.

People can support Trees for Life by becoming members, volunteering, and by funding their own dedicated trees and groves. See www.treesforlife.org.uk.