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  • 27 June 2016

    Forres welcomes thousands for European Pipe Band Championships

    Forres gave a piping welcome for around 120 Pipe Bands and 50 Drum Majors who competed in the European Pipe Band Championships, held in Forres on Saturday 25 June to a crowd of thousands who came to the park to enjoy the day.

     Winners in grade 1 were St Laurence O’Toole from Eire; second Field Marshal Montgomery from Northern Ireland and third Inveraray and District.   

    Grade 2 winners were the Pipes and Drums of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

    Grade 4A was Lanark and District

    Grade 4B was Johnstone

    Grade 3A was the Lewis Pipe Band.

    Grade 3B was local band 2622 (Highland) Squadron RAF.

     Full results are on the RSBPA website –www.rspba.org.

     Elgin Pipe Band won the Grade 4B Drumming.

     Sixty Highland dancers also competed.

     Organised by Forres Events Ltd, the event was a great family day out with over 100 trade stalls including a craft tent and Food and Drink Marquee and Food and Drink Village featured some of the finest produce of Moray and the surrounding area.

    Dr Donnie Munro who thoroughly enjoyed his day as Chieftain said:  “Visitors enjoyed themselves very much and I congratulate the founders for the legacy that they have left and offer my congratulations to the people of Forres for their support of the event – they deserve to have a real sense of pride in what they have achieved with this event.”

     The World’s Tattie scone championship was won by Nichola Smith from Elgin with her Heart of Courage scone with fruits of Moray as her special ingredient.  Second was Ali Jamieson from Forres with prawn cocktail and third was Julie Hill from Kinloss with her wee Scottish breakfast featuring haggis, black pudding, lorne sausage and bacon. Winner of the new David Urquhart trophy for the best original scone was Adrienne Milne (13) of Elgin Academy with cheese and chilli. The trophy is in memory of the late David Urquhart who was a Director of Forres Events Ltd, the company that runs Piping At Forres.

     One of the two Tattie Scone judges, David Gow of Harry Gow bakers said: “It’s been a great day, a good standard of cooking and some very innovative ideas.   I was particularly impressed by the scone produced by Adrienne Milne who won the junior category.”

     Other competitors were Angus Robertson MP with his Red Hot Mexican scone with chilli and cheese; Richard Lochhead MSP with BLT scone with bacon and leeks; Douglas Ross MSP with In a Pickle with pickled onion, Ian Urquhart with ‘Family rules’ with smoked salmon and Major General Seymour Monro, Director of the Highland Military Tattoo with Tattoo Bombshell with chilli chorizo.

     The Federation of Small Business best stall was awarded to Hellygog from Logie Steading near Forres who won a certificate and £150 cash prize.

     Alan James, Chairman of Forres Events Ltd, the not-for-profit organisation who run the event around the championships said: “We have had a fantastic day here in Forres. I am amazed and delighted at the standard of the bands, drummers and Drum Majors, young and old who have come here to today in the north of Scotland to compete and entertain all the visitors to the Grant Park. All around, the Park has been busy with all the trade stands appearing to have had a good day and lots of smiling, happy  faces. It’s been a spectacular event and I would like to thank all of those who have supported us over this extraordinary year, particularly our sponsors, stallholders and volunteers without whom we could not stage the event.  I also wish to thank all the competitors, their supporters and all the visitors who came to Forres, and of course the people of Forres for supporting  this event.   This is my first year as Chairman after the terrible loss of Ian Widdowson earlier this year when we were still mourning  the loss of our friend and colleague David Urquhart and I am sure that we have done them both proud.”

     Ian Embelton, Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association said:  “Yet again we have a fantastic event here at Forres.  It’s just a great atmosphere and the bands love coming here and they love being here.The event has grown year on year with bands increasing and this is testament to the organisers here and to the people of Forres and the wider community who provide such wonderful support to the event.      In 16 years and 90 events I have not seen anything like the support we get from the community here.”

     Angus Robertson MP said: “"Once again Piping at Forres has delivered an amazing spectacle as thousands of pipers and drummers descended on Forres for the European Pipe Band Championships.

     "This has rapidly become a must see event in the north of Scotland's summer calendar, attracting visitors and locals alike in their droves to the town.

     "It's great for Forres, great for culture and great for our local economy! A brilliant family event."

     Richard Lochhead MSP said:  “This event goes from strength to strength and is a major boost for the local economy. Forres was looking stunning in the sun and the thousands of visitors were clearly impressed by how well everything was organised and the hosting committee and sponsors deserve huge credit for such a successful event. Indeed, its success is a huge tribute to the late David Urquhart and Ian Widdowson both of whom were instrumental in securing the championships for Forres."

     Rhona Corscadden, EventScotland Senior Event Manager, said: “Occasions like Piping at Forres, which is supported by EventScotland’s International Funding Programme, demonstrate the nation’s love for our unique culture and heritage, and I am delighted to be among the thousands in attendance in the stunning setting of Grant Park today.

     “This event has been a terrific celebration of the pipes, with over 120 bands, including current and former world champions, creating a magnificent spectacle and superb day out for all the family, reinforcing Scotland’s reputation as the perfect stage for events worldwide.”  

    Category: International Events

  • 27 June 2016

    HOMELESS WORLD CUP ANNOUNCES OPENING FIXTURES FOR GLASGOW 2016

    THE Homeless World Cup Foundation today (27 June 2016) announces the opening games of the 2016 Homeless World Cup, which kicks-off on Sunday 10 July 2016.

    Scotland’s men will face Hong Kong in the opening fixture (1300 BST), followed by Scotland women against Norway, immediately afterwards (1325 BST).

    The games take place in the heart of Glasgow, on George Square, which will be turned into a spectacular stadium venue for the duration of the tournament.

    Scotland’s games will form part of a celebration which Glasgow is sure to get behind as the seven day football festival kicks-off.

    Ahead of the first match, a short, colourful ceremony will take place to open the 2016 tournament.

    And before that, the 512 players from across 52 countries will parade through the city from their base at Glasgow Caledonian University. Along with coaches and key support staff, they’ll make their way through the city and down into George Square, via Renfield Street and The Tron with the aid of the Williamwood and Johnstone Pipe Bands.

    Other notable fixtures on opening day include a mouth-watering fixture featuring men’s holders Mexico against Argentina (1625 BST), whilst the same nations feature against each other in the women’s tournament (1800 BST).

    Of the other home nations in the women’s tournament, Wales face the Netherlands (1645 BST) and England take on Greece (1740 BST), on the first day. The men’s competition sees England open up against Russia (1355 BST), whilst Wales are scheduled to open up against Canada (1400 BST). 

    100,000 spectators are expected to visit the Homeless World Cup during the week-long festival, with organisers stating it will be, “the most inspiring place on the planet”. Entry is free & no tickets are required, albeit it is expected at key times (particularly when Scotland play) it will be very busy.

    The Homeless World Cup arrives in Glasgow as part of a three way partnership between the Homeless World Cup Foundation, the Scottish Government (delivered via EventScotland), and Glasgow City Council (delivered via Glasgow Life).

    Every game (416) from the Homeless World Cup will be live on homelessworldcup.org and YouTube. Selected international outlets will stream games via EverSport. Coverage will be produced by host broadcaster, QTV Sports. Broadcaster Rory Hamilton will lead match commentary.

    In Scotland, STV is the home broadcaster, and will show extensive live coverage on STV Glasgow, STV Edinburgh and the main STV channel.

    This includes the opening ceremony along with Scotland men and women’s opening games. Thereafter there will be live games every night at 1700 BST, and a magazine programme hosted by Peter Martin at 1830 BST. The Finals of both men’s and women’s tournaments will also be shown live, on 16 July from 1900 BST. Two highlights programmes are scheduled for the main STV channel on 14 July and 17 July.

    A comprehensive list of all opening group fixtures are available on www.homelessworldcup.org.

    Mel Young, president and co-founder of the Homeless World Cup comments:

    “Today is a key milestone in the journey towards Glasgow 2016, when the tournament really starts to come alive. We’re sure the people of Glasgow will give Scotland rousing support during the tournament, and that the same Scottish spirit, will be extended to all our visitors.”

    Aileen Campbell MSP, Minister for Public Health and Sport, said:

    With the announcement of these opening fixtures the excitement is really starting to build. The Scottish Government is proud to support the Homeless World Cup. I believe it’s one of the best examples of the power of sport to bring people together and change lives for the better.”

    Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor Archie Graham OBE, said:

    “Scotland may not be at Euro 2016 but the Tartan Army will still be able to see our men and women in action this summer at the Homeless World Cup. Excitement is building with today’s announcement of the official fixture list giving fans details of all matches.

    “There will be no more inspiring place to visit than George Square when the action finally gets underway early next month. It will be a fantastic celebration of football in one of our most iconic locations and I have no doubt that it will be a big hit with people of all ages.”

    Renowned sports journalist and one half of STV’s City Channel’s Peter & Roughie, Peter Martin said:

    “I’m looking forward to bringing all the action from the Homeless World Cup to viewers from across Scotland on STV Edinburgh and STV Glasgow and also the STV Player. With two highlights programmes planned for STV’s main channel, it’s fantastic that such an inspirational event is being given such prominence so that people can support the Scotland teams no matter where in the country they are.”

    Former Scotland striker Gordon Smith, who will co-present coverage of the Homeless World Cup with Peter Martin adds:

    "I'm looking forward to co-presenting coverage of the Homeless World Cup on STV. It promises to be an inspirational tournament with some incredible stories, kicking off with Scotland's games against Hong Kong and Norway. Hopefully thousands of people will come down to George Square over the course of the week to be part of what's sure to be a brilliant event."

    Team Scotland men’s player William McGeouch (55) from Glasgow comments:

    "Now it's starting to feel real. We cannot wait to walk out in front of a packed stadium on George Square to kick-off the Homeless World Cup. For all of us it's been a journey of hard work, and now we're excited to get things started against Hong Kong."

    Team Scotland women’s player Krissi Rodgers (25), also from Glasgow says:

    "Norway will present a really tough test, but we're feeling ready for the challenge. For all of us involved in Street Soccer Scotland's programmes this is a real journey. We've got fantastic team spirit, and we hope that, along with the support of the nation we will go far into the tournament."

     Key opening timings are:

    12.15pm          Teams will being their parade from Glasgow Caledonian University, along and down via Renfield Street, through past The Tron and then into George Square

    12.30pm                      Opening ceremony will begin as the players arrive and take their seats in one section of the stands

    12.40pm          The 64 captains will enter the main stadium and parade their 52 flags, one by one. Scotland will arrive last

    12.50pm          The Homeless World Cup men’s and women’s trophies will be presented to the crowd following live music from an artist to be announced 

    1.00pm                        Kick-off – Scotland v Hong Kong (men) followed by Scotland v Norway (women) 

    Category: International Events

  • 24 June 2016

    Highland golf events drive economic success

    Around 70,000 golf fans are set to flock to some of the north of Scotland’s most iconic courses in the coming weeks, providing a significant impact to the local visitor economy.   

    VisitScotland is investing a total of £1.4 million into events at Aviemore, Lossiemouth and Inverness which kick off a summer of nine professional golf events across the country.

    The SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge, the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open Qualifier and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart all take place over the next three weekends, with each event receiving funding support from the EventScotland team within VisitScotland’s events directorate as part of the golf legacy programme from The 2014 Ryder Cup

    The SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge, which has been supported by VisitScotland since 2006, takes place this weekend (23 – 26 June) and is designed to leave a legacy by providing the opportunity for the next wave of Scottish touring professionals to advance to the next stage in their careers.

    The event, which is free to attend, takes place at Spey Valley Golf Club in Aviemore and will feature a host of family activities as well as a chance to see the best up-and-coming players in the world.

    The Hydro Challenge is followed by the the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open Qualifier in Lossiemouth, Moray the following weekend (2 – 3 July).

    The free-to-attend event is part of the PGA of Scotland’s Tartan Tour Series with a £50,000 prize fund and five qualifying spots for the Scottish Open the following weekend up for grabs.

    In 2015, local amateur Calum Hill was one of the five qualifiers to earn a place in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open where he played a practice round with eventual champion Rickie Fowler.

    The final event sees return of the biggest golf event to take place annually in Scotland, the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart, Inverness (7-10 July). 

    The tournament, which occupies an envied position on the golf calendar, the week before The Open, boasts one of the strongest fields of any European Tour event with names such as Phil Mickelson, Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson and Scotland's world number 24 Russell Knox, born in nearby Inverness, all set to tee off at Castle Stuart.

    Castle Stuart will also be showcased to a massive North American television audience thanks to a broadcast deal with NBC and The Golf Channel.  

    The event is the only regular European Tour event to be shown live on US network television with this year being the fourth consecutive year that the tournament has been broadcast in the US.

    As part of the agreement, VisitScotland’s ‘Spirit of Scotland’ cinematic adverts will also be screened throughout NBC’s coverage.    

    Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director said:

    “These high profile sporting events have an immense impact on tourism in the Highlands and surrounding areas, attracting golf fans from across Scotland and beyond. 

    “Events are a vitally important part of the local visitor economy with the ripple effect of event tourism felt in shops, hotels, restaurants and a wide variety of other businesses across the region.

    “Golf tourism is worth £220m to the country annually and hosting fantastic events like the ones here in the north of Scotland in the coming weeks only enhance further our country’s reputation as the Home of Golf.”

    HIGHLAND AND MORAY GOLF EVENTS SUMMER 2016

    Date: 23 – 26 June 2016

    Event: SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge

    Location: Spey Valley Golf Club, Aviemore

     Date:  2 – 3 July 2016

    Event: Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open Pre-Qualifier   

    Location: The Moray Golf Club, Lossiemouth

     Date: 7 – 10 July 2016

    Event: Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open

    Location: Castle Stuart, Inverness

    Category: International Events

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