Ancrum Road Primary School’s Library – 10th Anniversary

Yesterday, along with the Lord Provost and other invited guests, I had the pleasure of attending the celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Ancrum Road Primary School’s superb library – surely one of the best amongst the city’s primary schools.

The school, staff and parent volunteers deserve much thanks for their efforts in creating a lovely, well-stocked library.

Whilst there, and along with Davie Bowman of Dundee United, I met the two Ancrum Road Primary School P5 five-a-side football teams that are playing in the West End Christmas Week Primary Schools’ Football Competition on Friday, kindly sponsored by WestFest.    Here’s the two teams with Davie (back right) and Mrs O’Rourke, Ancrum Road Primary School’s Head Teacher (front right) :

Tuesday latest …

This afternoon, I had the pleasure of attending the media photocall on Magdalen Green to announce that the Guinness Book of Records has given the world record for the largest piggy back race to the event held at the WestFest Big Sunday earlier this year!

Here’s a photo and a short video from a thoroughly enjoyable event this afternoon!

Piggy Back Winners Dominic and Lola Venditotzz receive their Guinness World Records Certificate from Paola McClure, WestFest Chair

Also today, I met constituents and Scottish Water representatives about flooding issues in part of the West End and constituents about housing repairs and roads complaints


On Saturday 20th August, the WestFest Committee is running a fundraising event – WestFiesta – at the Vine at the bottom of Roseangle (43 Magdalen Yard Road – opposite the Roseangle car park). 

It will be an afternoon and early evening of fun and music!

Its £10 for adults £5 for under 12s first drink and food free – and silly games, a bar – and a bit of sun hopefully. 

This replaces the BBQ cancelled due to wind damage earlier in the year.    Tickets are available by contacting, Frasers Fruit and Veg shop on Perth Road or call into the reception at the Vine.

Big Sunday …

Secretary of State for Scotland Mike Moore addressing the event
Its been a very busy Sunday – starting off with the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ Members’ Forum in Edinburgh (or – for me – half of it!)   

Its been a difficult time of late for Scottish Liberal Democrats but what was so very encouraging about today was the large turnout of members, their robust input and the positive views about the way forward.

I spoke during the debate stressing the importance of the 2012 local elections and the need for the party to be fully prepared.

Via St Andrews to drop off a LibDem colleague, I was back in the West End to take part in what has been a superb WestFest Big Sunday.

Here’s a few photos and a video from Sunday on Magdalen Green :
Some of the Friends of Magdalen Green team – Pat, Angela, me, Mary
A superb day on the Green!

WESHA at WestFest …

The newly-launched West End Sports and Heritage Association will be represented at the Friends of Magdalen Green stall at WestFest Big Sunday.    With thanks to Angela Mehlert, Chair of Friends of Magdalen Green and the newly appointed Minutes Secretary of WESHA, the flyer above will be available on Sunday.   Full details of Big Sunday are available at   The layout plan for Sunday on Magdalen Green is below.

You can also download the presentation by Angela and by Matthew Miller, WESHA’s Chair, from the launch meeting on Wednesday at DCA, by going to

Last couple of days …

I spent part of Monday in Glasgow with the “day job” – a dreich day if ever there was one as this photo of Argyle Street (above) shows!

On return, and after my ward surgeries at Harris Academy and the Mitchell Street Centre, I attended the last planning meeting for the West End Sports and Heritage Association, before its public launch on the 15th.   With thanks to the City Council, we now have a professional launch flyer that you can download by either clicking here or by going to

Tonight, I attended the Friends of Magdalen Green Committee meeting at which we discussed our recent BBQ consultation with residents, our pitch at the WestFest “Big Sunday” and our Autumn coffee morning.

Giant Tay Whale!

… for Dundee West Fest.

At lunchtime today, I attended the photo event flyover for WestFest’s Giant Tay Whale (see news release from WestFest below) – although the flight was a bit late so, having another commitment, I missed the actual flyover itself!    But many thanks to WestFest for the photo sent tonight!

Dundee WestFest has created at rival to the The Uffington white horse and the Cerne Abbas giant. A huge drawing of the Tay Whale covering the size of 3 football pitches has been marked out on the Riverside pitches next to the Tay and Dundee airport.

 The giant whale will only be on display for the next three weeks after which the grass will be cut and football pitches marked out.

Paola McClure chair of WestFest said. “When we noticed the pitches being re-seeded last year we contacted Dundee City Council to find out if we could use the expanse of unmarked grass. Once we had explained the idea to them their staff have been exceptionally helpful in making this happen. We have also had the help of access students from Dundee College working with their surveying lecturers pegging out the drawing, which was then marked on to the grass using the white line marker they use for the pitches.”

 It is hoped the giant whale will be a real welcome to Dundee for all the passengers arriving at the airport as it’s right on the approach to the runway of the airport.

  The Tay Whale, a humpback whale hunted and killed in 1883 in the River Tay, Dundee then the UK’s main whaling port. The Tay whale came to public prominence when it was subject to a public dissection by Sir John Struthers and taken on a tour of the UK. The skeleton is now in The McManus Galleries in Dundee. It was also the subject of a poem by William Topaz McGonagall called “The Famous Tay Whale”

Dundee WestFest is a community festival running from the 13 to 19 June and has something for everyone from history talks, art exhibitions, and all sorts of music, ending with Big Sunday a gala day on Magdalen Green during which an attempt will be made on the world record for the largest piggyback race.

Dundee WestFest World Record Attempt – photocall launch!

This afternoon, along with councillor colleagues and two of the area’s MSPs, I took part in the launch of the Dundee WestFest World Record Piggy Back Race Attempt!    Here’s a photo and the WestFest Press Release below sort of explains all …!

Dundee WestFest is announcing an attempt at the official Guinness World Record for the biggest Piggy Back Race .

The launch will take place this Sunday 22/5/11 at 1 pm at the Bandstand on Magdalen Green Dundee

Taking part in the launch will be Councillors Fraser Macpherson, Jim Barrie and Donald Hay, MSPs Jenny Marra and Joe Fitzpatrick

along with a fancy dress pig and jockey and a small crowd.

Dundee WestFest a world record

The record breaking attempt, being held on Fathers’ Day, will be the centrepiece of Big Sunday (19/6/11) WestFest’s gala day on Magdalen Green to bring the weeklong festival to a close. The event is open to all but the organisers want as many fathers and their children as possible to celebrate the day by being part of a World Record. Big Sunday will see Magdalen Green filled with an afternoon of fun events; community group and sport displays; the Courier’s and Fat Sam’s Rock Talk Stage featuring the best local bands; Radio Tay’s Road Show; a beer tent; craft and food stalls as well as a car show.

The attempt is a celebration of Dundee’s other world record; the longest journey by a seaplane achieved by the Mercury Maia flight. The feat was accomplished using a small seaplane riding piggyback on a larger one and flew from Dundee to Orange River South Africa in 1938.

Chair of WestFest Paola McClure said, “We thought this would be a really fun event.   We need over three hundred people to smash the record so we are asking local community groups, sports teams, clubs and businesses or individual pairs to join in. We hope people will use it as an opportunity to get sponsorship for their own groups or charities. We have even arranged a discount at Party Wizard if people want to take part in fancy dress”. Details of how to enter can be found on the WestFest website, by emailing or calling 07432 377321

“We are looking forward to a week of great events from classical guitar to cabaret and alternative music. There will be taster sessions on offer in things such as dance and circus skills and new things are being added to the website calendar every day. Drama and literature are not being overlooked and there will be something for everyone including children’s storytelling, book launches, poetry reading in an unusual venue and the unmissable Bob Servant Hero Of Dundee introduced by the author Neil Forsyth and portrayed by Dundee Rep’s John Buick. Nor is the week without a bit of clout; on Friday 17th January, at the invitation of WestFest, Dundee’s Brian Taylor will be broadcasting the Big Debate live from the Bonar Hall, so if you have ever wanted the opportunity to put the people who make things happen on the spot, now is your chance. The shape of the programme is governed by the questions posed by the audience but we expect issues such as community and the big society and Scottish independence to be hot topics.”  Details of how to join in can be found on the BBC Scotland website.

Chair Paola McClure continued, “WestFest’s Big Sunday is also open to community groups who would like a space for setting up their own stall or activity, Whether it is to raise funds or let the world know what they do, we invite them to join in and help make it a week to remember. WestFest is all about the community of Dundee so speak up and join in.”

Last couple of days …

* I am pleased to note that some of the dropped kerbing around the Corso Street area that I requested last year on behalf of residents is now being installed – see example at the junction of Corso Street and Peddie Street (above).

* Last night, I attended the Harris Academy Parent Council meeting and, following this, have been in touch with the Head of Secondary Education regarding issues raised.

* I was pleased to be advised by the City Engineer recently that the weeds spraying programme at road edges etc commenced last week.   This year, the programme will start in the west of the city and progress eastwards and am pleased to be assured that extra resources will be put into herbicide application of street trees in streets like Blackness Road and Blackness Avenue.

Today’s Courier featured an update on the concerns I have raised about the large and ugly utility boxes BT Openreach is installing in Conservation Areas such as on Magdalen Green.

* Tonight, I briefly attended the start of the latest WestFest committee meeting and thereafter was minute-taker at the Tay Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust meeting (meeting in the adjacent room at the Vine in Magdalen Yard Road!)

Friends of Magdalen Green

Last night, I was ‘minute taker’ at the latest Friends of Magdalen Green committee meeting, at which we discussed the arrangements for our forthcoming AGM and free public lecture – a talk by Professor Charles McKean – not to be missed!

We also discussed our involvement with WestFest 2011 and the forthcoming launch of our 2011 Christmas Card competition, to be launched at the AGM on 25th May.

WestFest – Bunting Appeal

As part of this year’s WestFest, the team are keen to encourage local people to make bunting that will be displayed at each of the venues during the WestFest week (13th to 19th June) and also used to mark off various events on Magdalen Green on Sunday 19th June.

The bunting can be made from odd scraps/recycled material in any colour or style you like.    If you would like to help WestFest with this, please get in touch at – many thanks!

New Harris Academy – Project Board

Yesterday, I attended the first meeting of the project board that will oversee the Harris Academy rebuilding project.    The board includes Parent Council representatives, a trades union representative, a Harris Academy FP Association representative and the Head Teacher, as well as councillors and officers.

It was a constructive and productive first meeting to oversee a project that will be some years in its delivery.   I asked questions about the role of Historic Scotland, transportation for pupils during the decant period, capital funding and other matters.

Later yesterday, I also attended meetings of the WestFest committee and the Tay Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust committee.

McCabaret Night!

From the folk at WestFest!  :

Dundee WestFest is holding a fundraising McCabaret Night on 20th November.

Venue is Dundee Arts Society, Roseangle – Doors open at 7pm.

Tickets priced £15 (£7.50 concession) – supper included.

Come and join us for an evening of quirky Scottish entertainment!

Tickets will be on sale in the Westfest Shop – 93 Perth Road – or you can email and we’ll reserve them for you.

This is an evening not to be missed!