Now on display: The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry exhibition in Crieff

The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry is now on display in the Perthshire town of Crieff for three weeks.

The extraordinary artwork – which chronicles the impact of Scots who have migrated throughout the world – is being exhibited in Morrison’s Academy Games Hall in Ferntower Road. The exhibition opened to the public on Saturday, July 22 and will run until Saturday, August 12, 2017.

The tapestry left Scotland in 2014 with 150 panels to tour the world and has now doubled in size. The 305 colourful panels bring to life the many achievements of Scots across the globe, from the 10 who have held the office of UK prime minister to the Scots who introduced football to Argentina and Brazil.

The event is a Crieff Arts Festival project supported by Crieff BID and Morrison’s Academy and is part of the Crieff Remembers programme of events.

Provost Dennis Melloy officially opened the exhibition at a Civic Reception on Friday (July 21), and commented: “It’s a real privilege to be able to see this remarkable tapestry here in Perthshire, and to marvel at the extraordinary stories of our Scottish Diaspora. Downloading the free app offers visitors an exciting way to explore the inspiration behind each panel, and really brings our heritage to life.”

Crieff Remembers is an ambitious programme of events to mark 100 years since the 3rd Battle of Ypres: Passchendaele. Local artist June McEwan has helped plan many of the events, which include performances, talks and an exhibition of local history.

June added: “Crieff is the creative heart of Strathearn, with a thriving arts scene, craft shops and galleries contributing to the vibrant community. We are incredibly proud of our local heritage too and are delighted to welcome the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry here for our residents and visitors to enjoy.”

The tapestry was conceived by the team behind the magnificent Battle of Prestonpans 1745 Tapestry and was originally assembled and displayed in Scotland as a significant element of the nation’s 2014 Homecoming celebrations.

Communities with Scottish roots across the globe were contacted back in 2012 with an irresistible invitation: Please tell Scotland your story! Thousands internationally volunteered. No other visual arts project has ever attempted to boldly bring our Scottish Diaspora together in such a manner.

With compelling tales being submitted from communities far and wide, artist Andrew Crummy created initial panel designs for verification by those who would be stitching them. Millions of stitches later this tapestry tells 305 enthralling tales from 34 countries, spanning seven centuries. Together they reflect the breadth and depth of Scotland’s global legacy.

This outstanding exhibition was created by more than 70,000 hours of embroidery across the Scottish diaspora. Since 2014, the completed tapestry has toured throughout each of the contributing countries so that those who took part can share its magnificence, especially with their young people.

It has now come “home” as part of a much-anticipated summer tour of Scottish venues.

For more information visit

Miller Hendry sponsors Tug o’ War event at Crieff Highland Gathering

Miller Hendry has been roped in as the official Tug o’ War sponsor at next month’s Crieff Highland Gathering which takes place in the town’s Market Park on Sunday, August 20, 2017.

The leading legal and estate agency firm – which has a branch in the town’s Comrie Street – has enjoyed a close association with the Strathearn capital showpiece after generously supporting the popular event in 2016.

John Thom, Miller Hendry’s Chairman, said: “Miller Hendry is delighted to continue our association with Crieff Highland Gathering by sponsoring the Tug o’ War competition for the second year in a row. It is a fantastic event and everyone in the firm is very much looking forward to what will be an exciting contest.

“With support from the local business community Miller Hendry hopes the Gathering will grow each year and continue as an annual event for the benefit of the people of Crieff and Strathearn.”

Ian Stewart, Chairman of Crieff Highland Gathering, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Miller Hendry has agreed to support Crieff Highland Gathering by sponsoring the Tug o’ War. It’s the generosity of sponsors like Miller Hendry that allows us to stage this world-famous event which attracts more than 6,000 visitors from home and abroad.”

Attracting teams from Perthshire and beyond, the highly-contested Tug o’ War competition is one of the highlights of Crieff Highland Gathering.

Held in the main arena in front of thousands of spectators, the contest sees two teams of eight align themselves at the end of a rope approximately 11 centimetres (4.3in) in circumference. The rope is marked with a “centre line” and two markings four metres (13ft) either side of the centre line. The teams start with the rope’s centre line directly above a line marked on the ground and once the contest (the “pull”) has commenced, attempt to pull the other team so that the marking on the rope closest to their opponent crosses the centre line, or the opponents commit a foul (such as a team member sitting or falling down). Lowering an elbow below the knee during a “pull” – known as “locking” – is a foul, as is touching the ground for extended periods of time. The rope must go under the arms; actions such as pulling the rope over the shoulders may be considered a foul.

In the thick of it: why I’m cutting those politicians a tiny bit more slack

One of Volpa’s Account Managers, Gillian, shares her thoughts on the world of political PR and how a recent experience changed her opinion of the comms teams working behind the scenes.

I can’t be the only public relations professional left sniggering at some of the recent PR clangers of U.K. politicians.

The general election campaign brought some toe-curlers, including two stuttering radio broadcasts: Diane Abbott caught on the hop during a radio interview in which she didn’t have her figures straight over Labour’s proposed financing of increased policing; and Jeremy Corbyn stumbling over the costs of free childcare on Radio 4. These two were even more cringeworthy to me because – hello! – they were radio interviews. That means no cameras. Which in turn means that interviewees can look at notes and post-its and briefing papers galore without sounding like they’re unprepared.

Also during the election, Theresa May’s ‘strong and stable’ slogan grew tired, and unbelievable, after several U-turns on manifest policies. She also decided to bury the word ‘Conservative’ in all her branding and instead choose to push her own name, and personality. Which would have been fine had she demonstrated the personality and gravitas to go with it. Sadly, that was as lacking as Diane Abbott’s mental arithmetic.

Post-election, Theresa May walked into a media lion’s den when she visited the site of the Grenfell Tower fire in London. She made a B-line for police and emergency staff, ignoring local residents completely, a move which incited claims of a snobbery and us-and-them attitude.

And all of it left me, and others in my profession, aghast that some comms person someone didn’t see all the backlash coming and prepare for it.

But enough of the moans. I don’t work in politics, and it’s easy for me to poke fun from a distance. I say that because Volpa had its own taste of politics recently when it was tasked with hosting a senior politician at a client event. And doing so made me appreciate that political public relations is PR on a whole other level.

The politician shall remain nameless, but suffice to say the media presence was healthy. We had everything from local reporters to national TV crews, political columnists to tabloid hacks (one of whom chose to hide behind some bushes rather than be part of the main fray.)

We were given just 16 hours’ notice that said politician was visiting. Cue some frantic writing of speeches and briefing notes. and a long series of phone calls with the party media representative. Having planned and communicated meticulously, I was feeling confident that we had the job in hand. All that remained was for our team to host the politician and handle the press. But that’s when the questions started, and didn’t stop. They ranged from the predictable (“What will X’s route through the factory be?”) to the amusing.

“Will X wear a high-vis vest?” asked the media rep.

“Do you want X to wear a high-vis vest?” I asked back.

“That depends on whether management will be wearing one. The press are wearing them. If the owner wears one too, X will stand out. We can’t have that.”

“What would you suggest?”

“That both the manager and X don’t wear one. That means X stands out, but isn’t the only one standing out.”

Done. I pulled my client’s high-vis vest off.

There was also a detailed conversation about car manoeuvres, which side of the car X would exit on arrival, and in what direction the car would sweep around the car park. We needed a car parking space that was close, but far away enough so as not to detract from the welcome party.

Conversations were interrupted by the media rep sloping off to use his mobile and feeding X and X’s staff with facts and figures on the business. I was impressed to see that each and every fact that was drip-fed to X just minutes beforehand, was cleverly dropped into conversations and speeches on arrival. Smart cookies, these politicians.

The visit only lasted an hour. By the end of it – not even a day after the first phone call telling us of the visit – I was exhausted. I said as much to the media rep. “That’s every day for me,” was his reply.

It’s made me hold politicians and their PR people in much higher esteem than I used to. And while there was no excuse for those radio interview screw-ups by the Labour Party, I’m willing to cut them all just a tiny bit more slack.

Miller Hendry announces promotions in Perth and Dundee

Leading Tayside legal and estate agency firm Miller Hendry has made two promotions at its Perth and Dundee offices.

Mhairi Cage has been promoted to Associate in the Private Client department after six years with the firm having started with the firm as a trainee in 2010. Based in Miller Hendry’s Perth office, she studied law at the University of Glasgow, graduating with 1st Class Honours, before completing the Diploma in Legal Practice at the University of Dundee in 2009.

Mhairi deals with Wills, Powers of Attorney, Executries, Guardianships, Inheritance Tax Planning, Trusts and Charities.

Meanwhile, Lyndsey Foggarty has been promoted to Associate in the Commercial department in Dundee after six years with the firm also having started with the firm as a trainee in 2010.

She graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2007, with a 1st Class Honours degree, before joining the Scottish Law Commission as a legal research assistant. Lyndsey then returned to Dundee in 2008 to obtain her Diploma in Legal Practice, graduating in 2009.

Lyndsey specialises in Commercial Property, Business Purchase/Sale, Housing Association work, Farms, Forestry and Estate. Since 2015, she has also been the Module Organiser/Tutor for the Conveyancing Module of the Diploma in Legal Practice at Dundee University.

Chairman John Thom said: “I am delighted to congratulate Mhairi and Lyndsey on their well-deserved promotions. Both have excellent knowledge and expertise in their respective fields and their promotions underscore Miller Hendry’s commitment to developing talent and growing our services to ensure clients receive specialist legal advice of the highest quality.”

Cappuccino and networking at PBN’s next Business Breakfast at Blend Coffee Lounge

Perthshire Businesswomen’s Network is holding its next Business Breakfast at Blend Coffee Lounge in Perth on Monday, July 31 from 7.45-9.30am.

The drop-in event is a great opportunity to enjoy a cappuccino while chatting to fellow entrepreneurs and businesswomen in an informal and friendly setting.

Jane Rennie, PBN Chairwoman, said: “All businesswomen in Perthshire are very welcome to come along to our Business Breakfast events. It’s a great opportunity to connect with likeminded people and expand your network of contacts.

“The 15 minute ‘hot slot’ is still available on the 31st. Just drop me an email at if you would like to snap up this fantastic chance to promote your business.”

The event is free, but organisers would be grateful if you could follow the link on the website so they can gauge numbers.



Award-winning restaurateurs AliBob inspire at PBN’s ‘Striving For Excellence’ talks series

An award-winning husband and wife restaurant duo are serving up the secrets of their business success at Perthshire Businesswomen’s Network’s latest ‘Striving For Excellence’ inspirational talks series.

Ali and Bob Abercrombie have invited members and guests to their award-winning AliBob Café at Cairn O’Mohr Winery in Errol on Thursday, July 27 from 6-9pm.

Running their own food business was a long-held ambition for ardent foodies Ali and Bob (from nearby Inchture). That dream came true in 2014 when the owners of neighbouring Cairn O’ Mhor decided to enlist an independent business to run their café while they concentrated on their fruit winery business.

Inspired by their travels in Africa, Europe, South America and the Middle East, the couple are passionate about fresh, seasonal and local produce. Ingredients are sourced from local producers between Perth and Dundee whenever possible, with fresh bread baked every morning in Perth and coffee made from freshly ground beans which are roasted in Dundee. And the café’s cakes, scones and pastries are freshly baked by Ali every day.

Said Ali Abercrombie: “After almost ten years overseas, Bob and I figured it was time to come back home to Scotland and a timely opportunity to take over the cafe at the local Cairn O’Mohr winery led us to embarking on the true journey of our lives.

“We love to feed people. We love to make people happy with food and drink and what finer place to do that than the original and only winery in Scotland. Cairn O’Mohr have been sharing their love of wine for almost 30 years so we are certainly in our infancy compared to their majestic presence in this world. But our partnership is a thing of beauty and we both understand what it means to make sure that the experience and enjoyment of our customers, when they choose to come and visit us, is paramount.”

Added Jane Rennie, PBN Chairwoman: “We are delighted that Ali and Bob Abercrombie have taken time out of their busy working week to participate in PBN’s ‘Striving for Excellence’ talks series.

“It’s a great opportunity for members and guests to learn from this inspirational couple. We look forward to hearing about the lessons they have learned on their business journey. I am sure it will be a very enjoyable session for the PBN audience, and provide a fresh outlook on how to address some of the challenges our members face.”

Tickets costing £16 (PBN members) and £20 for non-members are available on Eventbrite via the PBN website

Ticket price includes travel to and from Errol and a delicious buffet.

For more information about Perthshire Businesswomen’s Network (PBN) or for comment, please contact Alison Lowson on 0758 409 3354 or by email


Don’t ignore private parking fines. They ARE enforceable warns Tayside solicitor!

Tayside motorists who ignore fines from private parking firms, believing them to be unenforceable, do not have the law on their side.

That’s the view of Aileen Scott, Associate Solicitor at Miller Hendry, who warned local drivers to be on their guard when parking on private land.

Her advice comes in the wake of two landmark cases which saw judges both north and south of the border rule that private parking fines are legally enforceable.

Carly Mackie received Britain’s biggest parking penalty of £24,500 earlier this year. The 28-year-old wrongly believed she was entitled to park her Mini in front of her family’s garage near their Dundee home, and that the tickets were unenforceable.

But private firm Vehicle Control Services took Ms Mackie to court when for ignoring more than 200 penalties. The firm said she had not challenged a single fine and was not entitled to leave her car there without a permit. In a written judgment Sheriff George Way said Ms Mackie had “entirely misdirected herself on both the law and the contractual chain in this case” and ordered her to pay up.

Meanwhile, 47-year-old Barry Beavis also lost his 2015 Supreme Court battle over parking charges. The chip shop owner from Billericay claimed an £85 charge for over-staying the free parking period at the town’s Riverside Retail Park by nearly an hour in April 2013 was “unfair and disproportionate”. But the Court of Appeal dismissed Mr Beavis’s claim against management company ParkingEye who said its charges were “fair” and “legally enforceable”.

In Scotland parking on public land is managed by the local authority, and where it is not, the police are responsible instead. On this land parking tickets can be issued by either the local authority, a parking attendant, by a police officer, or a traffic warden.

On private land, parking is often managed by private parking companies who issue their own parking tickets. The rules about issuing these tickets are different to the rules about issuing tickets by local authorities or the police.

Miller Hendry’s Aileen Scott explained: “It has been widely considered that private parking schemes on private land are unenforceable in Scotland. Mainly because the terms on the signs in these car parks can be unclear raising doubts that a valid contact could be entered into and the enforcement letters then referring to the court system in England and Wales. However, the rulings in two important recent cases now define the law in Scotland.

“If you park on private land, such as a supermarket car park or a privately owned multi-storey car park, you are entering into a contract with the landowner. If there are clear signs displayed in the car park setting out rules for using the car park then these are the terms of the contract. By parking on this land you are entering into a contact with the landowner under these terms. If these terms are broken the car park owner can take steps to enforce them.  There is often a private operator managing the car park for the owner, as in the Vehicle Control Services case.

“It is worth bearing in mind that NHS boards are responsible for the management of NHS parking facilities and they may have a private operator managing the car parking facilities at their hospitals on their behalf. Again signs at these car parks set out the terms and conditions of your usage of the car park and these terms and conditions are enforceable.

“Landowners and parking operators do not need licences to issue parking tickets. It is an unregulated business although many car park operators are members of an accredited trade association such as the British Parking Association or the Independent Parking Committee.  Under their codes of practice a charge should not exceed £100 unless it can be justified, so you may still be able to challenge a charge of more than £100 if the parking operator is a member of a professional trade association.

Ms Scott said both cases demonstrated that parking fines issued by private firms are legally enforceable.”

She added: “My advice – read the signs, regardless of whether you think it is a private or a public car park you are in. Note the time you entered the car park and note the time you should return. If you cannot comply with the terms of usage of the car park – if you think you are going to be late in returning – either move your car or be prepared to pay the fine. The car park operator, whoever they may be, is likely to have the law on their side.”

Ceilidh Trail’s young musicians perform free at The Famous Grouse Experience at Glenturret Distillery

There’s a rare treat in store for lovers of traditional Scottish music and song when a group of outstanding young musicians perform FREE at The Famous Grouse Experience at Glenturret Distillery in Crieff on Friday, August 4, 2017, from 12-1pm.

The six youngsters are stopping off at Scotland’s most visited and oldest working distillery as part of the 2017 Cèilidh Trail organised by the Fèis Fhoirt cultural tourism initiative.

The Cèilidh Trail is a platform for visitors to Scotland to experience traditional Scottish music in a wide variety of settings. Running over the peak July/August tourist season, the musicians entertain in a range of venues including pubs, restaurants, village halls and tourist attractions the length and breadth of Scotland.

Stuart Cassells, General Manager of The Famous Grouse Experience at Glenturret Distillery, said: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome this fantastic group of young musicians to Crieff. This is a unique opportunity for visitors and locals to enjoy some beautifully crafted songs in both the Gaelic and Scots languages as well as lively folk tunes played on fiddles, accordions and other traditional musical instruments.”

Fifteen outstanding young musicians from across Scotland auditioned for a paid summer job touring on the Fèis Rois Ceilidh Trail 2017.

These young people are aged 17 – 19 and many of them are studying at some of the country’s leading music schools, including the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

This project provides a professional development opportunity and a stepping stone between studying and launching a career as a performing artist.

In addition to 70 performances in Scotland, the superb young musicians on the Fèis Rois Ceilidh Trail 2017 have been invited to showcase at Cambridge Folk Festival in England (July 27 – 30) and the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in Brittany, France (August 4-13).

For further information on The Famous Grouse Experience and to book your tour, visit

Through the Curtain exhibition starts the countdown to the re-opening of refurbished Perth Theatre

The curtain rises on the much-anticipated Perth Theatre exhibition at Perth Museum and Art Gallery today (Thursday, July 13, 2017).

The Through the Curtain showcase is the culmination of the ongoing Memory Collective volunteer programme which has been recording the history and heritage of Perth Theatre while the landmark venue is closed for refurbishment and redevelopment.

Through a range of initiatives, with volunteers, community groups and schools, the Memory Collective has been carrying out research in the theatre archives and recording oral histories ahead of the exhibition.

Exhibits on display at Perth Museum include a selection of costumes from Perth Theatre Costume Archive, some models by acclaimed theatre designer Alexander Reid from the PMAG collection, a working sound-desk and an interactive stage-set.

A spokesperson for Perth Museum and Art Gallery said: “This exhibition is guaranteed to bring back some great memories for those people who know and love Perth Theatre. We also hope it will whet the appetite for future performances before the Theatre officially opens later this year after its multi-million pound revamp.

“Meanwhile, Perth Theatre is also the focus of a new exhibition in Perth’s AK Bell Library from October 11, 2017, coinciding with the re-opening of Perth Theatre. Drawing on material from the Perth and Kinross Archive, the exhibition will look at actors and productions down the ages.”

Through the Curtain runs from July 13 – September 24, from 10am until 5pm, at Perth Museum and Art Gallery. Entry is free and it’s suitable for all ages.

Test your brain power against the best in the business for Marie Curie

Scotland’s big-hearted business community is encouraged to get their thinking caps on and support a brain-teasing fundraiser later this year.

With all the proceeds going to terminal illness charity Marie Curie, organisers are encouraging companies to test their general knowledge in the Glasgow Brain Game on Thursday, October 12, 2017 at The Hilton Glasgow, from 7pm until midnight.

Tables for 10 are available and the event is perfect for entertaining clients, networking or simply having a fabulous evening.

Reigning champions Shepherd and Wedderburn will be hoping to hold onto their title as they battle it out against challengers in the fun black tie quiz, this year hosted by Hazel Irvine and Rob Maclean. Organisers hope to beat last year’s fundraising total which saw a record-breaking £136,000 raised for Marie Curie.

Sponsors so far include United Airlines and the organising committee is keen to sign up more sponsors with a choice of two sponsorship packages available.

David Beal, Managing Director at The Beal Group Ltd. and Glasgow Brain Game committee member, said: “Demand for tables grows year on year and I cannot emphasise strongly enough that businesses should buy tickets well in advance to ensure they secure a chance to compete in the corporate challenge of the year.

“2017 promises to be another exceptional occasion filled with fun, competitive quizzing and corporate networking, perfect for entertaining clients and networking.”

Catherine Maclean, Marie Curie Special Events Manager, added: “You and your guests will enjoy a sparkling drinks reception, a sumptuous three-course dinner and participate in the highly-anticipated and competitive quick fire quiz which will run throughout the evening for the 2017 trophy.

“Guests will also have the opportunity to bid for exclusive lots in the live and silent auctions and win superb prizes in the grand raffle.”

Marie Curie is the leading charity for people living with a terminal illness and their families. Last year the charity provided care and support to over 8,000 people through its two Scottish hospices, through the West Lothian Palliative Care Service and in people’s homes across Scotland. There’s also a free confidential support line for anyone who has questions about terminal illness – 0800 090 2309.

To register your interest in taking a table or sponsorship packages for this year’s Glasgow Brain Game, please contact Catherine Maclean via

Follow the Glasgow Brain Game on Twitter and there’s more information on the website