When a friend suggested to Edinburgh woman Shona Pryde that they should spend their next holiday climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, her reply was, to be honest, less than positive or polite. After giving the matter some thought however, the 29-year-old specialist physiotherapist (working with people with brain injuries) eventually came to the conclusion that she did not have a sufficiently good reason not to do it, and accepted the challenge. Amazingly she even continued after her friend had to withdraw.
Shona is originally from Murrayfield, where her parents still live, (and she still calls home), but now lives in Belfast. She loves nothing more than accepting a good challenge, especially when she can raise vital funds for worthwhile causes like Fight Against Cancer Edinburgh (FACE). As a health care professional, and having had cancer diagnosed in her family, she knows the value and importance of the work that this charity does, but in particular, Shona wanted to raise money to help send sick children to visit Santa Claus in Lapland.
Here is her remarkable story, in her own words:
“When my traveling buddy first suggested climbing Kilimanjaro for a holiday, my response was less than polite. Let’s be honest, I hate hills. I’m not exactly fit. I throw up trying to climb the Mournes. I’m ginger and freckly, so don’t have a great relationship history with the sun. Or mosquitoes for that matter. I’m never seen with un-straightened hair. I get stage fright having to wee in bushes. Why on earth would I want to spend a week climbing the highest mountain in Africa for a holiday?
“Then I thought about it and decided I didn’t really have a good enough reason not to. A few months later and a lot of talking myself into it, my travel buddy was no longer able to go, I put a plea on Facebook for moral support, and next thing I knew, myself and two lads I hardly knew were booked to climb Kilimanjaro. Just for fun. I thought my mates would be amazed, astounded, but apparently they were expecting this as some point as I’m always getting up to madness for charity. Everybody wanted to know what charity I was doing it for, and when I read somewhere that it is easier to be brave for other people than it is to be brave for yourself, I decided that the kids of FACE’s Lapland trip are some of the bravest people I know, so it was a no brainer that I would raise money for their trip.
“So training began. To an extent. The more I read, the more I realised it’s not so much about physical fitness, more so mental attitude, and how well or otherwise the altitude treats you. There was talk of one of the boys buying some sort of gas mask-esque contraption from eBay and running up and down the fire escape stairs at work to train for the altitude, I went for the easy option and got a prescription for anti-sickness drugs, although the side effects made me think that running up and down stairs breathing through a straw may have been more fun.
“It was only when my friends started putting ridiculously generous donations on my just giving page, that I realised the perceived enormity of what I was taking on, and, that stubbornness alone, of which I have bucketfuls, may not be all that was required. I had amazing support, both through their donations, and my friends coming walking in the Mournes and up Cavehill with me every weekend.
“Even the walks home from the pub when there were no taxis to be had and the hangovers from the ‘Shona’s big nights out just in case she doesn’t make it home’ nights stood me in good stead for the effects the mountain had in store for me.
“So on the 16th September, I left this image as my Facebook status update, and off I went. Three flights later and in the middle of a most enjoyable mid-flight nap, the lads woke me to look out the aeroplane window. There sprawling out above the level of the clouds like some sort of fairy-tale palace, were two of the peaks of Kilimanjaro. In 6 days’ time I was going to be higher than that aeroplane. And I was going to have walked up all that way.
“Our tour group were a great bunch; there were nine of us altogether from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England and Canada. This was the youngest member of our group at 25, Dave’s first adventure out of Canada and very first mountain. Victor, who we affectionately named ‘Babu’ (Swahili for granddad) was the oldest, at 68. We bonded well, as did we with our ‘staff’ of 32 locals who helped us every step of the way.
“The first couple of days on the mountain went quickly as we got to know each other, and admire the views. The walk takes in 5 different climate zones, each with their own wildlife and vegetation. We began walking through meadow, through rainforest, moorland and alpine desert before touching the ice cap at Gilman’s. We learned some essential Swahili – the phrases for ‘nae bother’ – Hakuna, – Matata (think Lion King), and ‘I’ll have a cold beer please’ – which was put to good use the moment we got off the mountain, and appropriate responses to ‘How are you?’ – roughly translated as ‘pure dead brilliant’ and ‘powerful like a chicken’. This positivity and the rule that we weren’t allowed to talk about summit night until summit night, were going to be the secrets to our success.
“Our first camp, just above 2700m was guarded by a man with an AK47, just in case there were any unwanted animal visitors during the night. After arriving at camp, we rested before leaving our belongings and walking for another hour or do so gain more elevation before coming back down to sleep. This nightly ritual apparently helped with our acclimatisation. The starry skies of the Southern Hemisphere were a breath-taking sight.
“From day 2 we were walking above the level of the clouds. It was amazing waking up every morning seeing the sunrise out the tent door, and the sea of clouds below. Wake up call was around 6am, the porters would bring a mug of ‘bed tea’ (black tea with about 6 sugars) to the tent and ask you how well you’d slept. ‘Like a fat baby’ was the acceptable answer! This was swiftly followed by 10 minutes ‘washy wash’ time with a bowl of hot water, then into the mess tent for a feast of porridge, bacon, eggs, fruit and Milo energy drinks.
“The walking was varied; some days were long and flat, while others were short and steep. I’d been dreading day 2, as on paper it looked the longest at 13km and the most uphill at 1027m to gain. I actually enjoyed that day, and I wonder now did it make me complacent for the next couple of days in front of me.
“As the days went on, and the scenery became more barren, it began taking us all our energy to put one foot in front of the other. Eating became a real chore. Even the lads who had been asking for thirds the first couple of days struggled to finish one small portion. Not only does the altitude diminish your appetite, a few of us were struggling with nausea and vomiting. It has to be said the food was amazing when we could manage it though. Three course dinners of amazing soups, pastas, stews, even fish and chips and the group’s favourite: bananas and custard.
“I needn’t have worried about the lack of playing cards for the evenings’ entertainment. We were struggling to stay awake past 7pm. At the campsite, the headaches got worse; the naps got more frequent but less productive, as we constantly woke ourselves up during the night for breath. As we climbed to higher altitudes, taking the 10 metre return trip to the toilet tent was an exhausting experience, and even rolling over, or crawling the few centimetres back uphill if the sleeping bag and I had slid down during the night took it clean out of me. We heard tales of people who took 20 minutes to lace up their boots on summit night, just because of the fatigue and coordination problems caused by low oxygen pressures. We witnessed this ourselves, when one of our team mates was completely unable to get his waterproof trousers or his boots on himself, and unfortunately spent the night of our final ascent confined to his tent.
“Day four probably hit me hardest. Difficult to believe as it was only 9.5km and an elevation of 382m. It took us four hours. That’s the fun of being at 4600m above sea level. We could see the entire path and our destination of Kibo Huts the whole time. Maybe in the back of my head was the fact I’d be setting off again around midnight and walking through the night for our final ascent to the summit.
“Despite the unwanted physical effects, I actually enjoyed the walking, the guides and the rest of the group kept us in good banter, and the views down through the clouds of Tanzania and Kenya were amazing. After lunch, we took a nap at Kibo, before being woken dinner, then back to bed before getting up to start our ascent at midnight. I knew eating was going to be a necessary, but pointless exercise for me. I had no appetite and it was 24 hours since I had managed to keep anything down, but I knew I needed every last ounce of energy I could force into myself.
“Summit night is by far the hardest thing mentally and physically I’ve ever done. We set off shortly after midnight. Apparently we take off in the middle of the night so that the walkers can’t see how soul destroying the never ending uphill shale path is. We were the last group to take off, and although we couldn’t see the path, we could see the headlights of 100 other walkers in front of us snaking their way up the hill, not only in front, but far above up in the distance. Even in the dark, it was soul destroying. Luckily the lads and I had the same mentality, it didn’t matter how long it took, we would make it eventually.
“I couldn’t be sure if it was altitude or pure exhaustion, we had to stop to catch our breath every 5 or 6 steps, 2 of those we lost as we frequently slid back on the unsecure shale, and when we stood still, we started drifting off to sleep. It brings a whole new meaning to the word sleep walking! I struggled with simple tasks like changing the batteries in my head torch and trying to unscrew the top on my water bottle, the tube on my Camel pac had long since frozen over in the -9 degrees cold. And true to my form the last couple of days, my body refused to accept any of the fuel I was trying to get into me. Our amazing guides had seen it all before and helped us with everything, even carrying our daysacks (and rubbing my back!) by the end of the climb.
“After six hours we stopped to admire the sunrise below over Mawenzi peak, where we’d camped on the third night. And another two hours later, at 8am, we were the last people to hit Gilman’s point at 5681m above sea level. I thought there might have been tears, but turns out I was either too exhausted or too dehydrated to cry! I absolutely love the fact there are photos at the top of me with my sunburnt red nose and frost nipped purple cheeks.
“We stopped for a cup of tea and to get our photos taken, then began the four hour walk/slide/ski back down to Kibo camp. At this point I just wanted to be off the mountain, it was a long descent. Back at camp, I was too tired to speak, I passed out face down spread eagle in the tent, and although I couldn’t even contemplate taking my boots off, at least I had the decency to leave the tent door open with my legs and feet sticking out. A lovely sight I’m sure. I thought I could easily sleep for a month, but after two hours, we were up, fed and watered and (as) ready (as we’d ever be) for the five hour descent to our final camp at Horombo.
“On the final day and a half descent, we discussed what training advice we would give to anyone thinking of doing it. Our combined answer would be ‘8 hours on a stair master at the gym, breathing through a straw, with the worst hangover ever, with the air conditioning at full blast, having eaten a dodgy take away the night before, having not slept, every day for a week’.
“As demanding as it was, my photos at the top would tell a different story, wrapped in my Saltire with a huge smile, the sense of pride and achievement oozing out of me. I even smile when I write and tell people about the sickness, the hallucinations, and the sheer exhaustion. Would I do it again? Definitely. I imagine it’s something like childbirth; the end result is worth the journey 100 times over.
“It’s great that the trip raised so much for FACE, but doing it for them definitely pushed me to the top. About 100m off the summit, when I had no idea how I thought I had nothing left, my friend puffed and panted sat me ‘do it for the kids, Shona’ and I did.”
FACE was founded in 1990, and originally stood for Fighting Against Cancer in Edinburgh but has come to represent the activities of a group of people working throughout the South East of Scotland.
They are a charity based in the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh which raises money to improve the facilities for the benefit of patients there and the peripheral clinics in Fife, Edinburgh and the Lothians, the Borders and Dumfries
The main aim of FACE. is to raise money to support and make possible a series of small improvements to patient care and comfort.
To donate, visit http://www.justgiving.com/faceclimb
An informative play about the dangers of misusing fireworks is being performed for pupils in several Edinburgh secondary schools in the run-up to Bonfire Night.
‘TOAST’ is a powerful 30 minute drama which shows pupils how dangerous fireworks can be, as well as airing issues such as peer pressure, bullying and managing aggression.
It was originally commissioned by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) in Northern Ireland, was adapted for Edinburgh and is being staged by the Strange Theatre Company.
The production involves two actors playing 11 different characters, with the scene shifting between a hospital, a home, a school and a housing estate. The principal character is drawn into an ill-fated escapade with stolen fireworks, with ultimately tragic consequences.
The weeks leading up to Bonfire Night are traditionally a time of increased complaints to police about antisocial behaviour and noise relating to fireworks.
Councillor Cammy Day, Community Safety leader, said: “Bonfire Night is great fun and families enjoy the spectacle of fireworks as the nights get darker. However, fireworks can be extremely dangerous if handled improperly.
“The play ‘Toast’ is an excellent way of helping young people understand the risks and dangers of misusing fireworks.”
Community Safety Manager for Lothianand Borders Fire and Rescue Service, Steve Harkins, said: “As the service gears up for one of their busiest nights of the year we are urging parents and carers to be mindful of the potential risks from fireworks and the need to heed fire safety advice to ensure this year’s Bonfire Night celebrations stay safe.
“We work closely with partners including the City of Edinburgh Council to deliver fire safety advice to schoolchildren across the area and TOAST, which highlights the dangers associated with fireworks, is an excellent example of this type of initiative.”
The play will be performed at Holyrood RC High School and Broughton High School tomorrow Thursday 1 November and Leith Academy and Castlebrae High School on Friday 2 November 2012.
Haddowfest took place over the weekend offering a positive wealth of live music at six city centre venues. If you missed it then you may have to wait till next year. More information here.
These lovely photos from Haddowfest are by Kat Got the Cream Photography and you can see more of her work on her website. Kat is a photography student and we are sure you will agree she shows lots of promise!
Edinburgh’s Christmas! – Grants for Community Councils – Man identified – New novel from Marianne Wheelaghan – Halloween at The Balmoral
Edinburgh’s Christmas is launched this morning at the Castle. Although we cannot be at the launch we hope to bring you news of the delights in store for you later today. Media attending at the castle this morning are promised a giant Santa Claus on stilts, along with an elf, Scottish pipers and illuminated Christmas apparatus, to brighten up Edinburgh Castle at the launch of Edinburgh’s Christmas 2012 – bigger and better than ever before.
This year’s festive programme will see the return of live reindeer to St Andrew Square, a Christmas-tastic 3D showing of ‘Rocket the Reindeer’ in a special cinema booth in East Princes Street Gardens and a spectacular mixture of live performance, projection and aerial theatre at the top of the Mound for Light Night on 29 November 2012. So that is a date for your diary!
Community Councils needing funding are invited to apply to the Climate Challenge Fund. More details here
Lothian and Borders police can now confirm the identity of a man found dead on Gullane beach on Tuesday 23 October 2012.
He is 64-year-old James Mclardy of Leamington Road, Edinburgh.
Mr Mclardy’s death is being treated as non-suspicious.
A new crime writer is in our midst. Marianne Wheelaghan who wrote The Blue Suitcase has turned her pen to crime writing for this book which comes out next week.
It’s Halloween…..will you be going out guising or will you be trick or treating? When did we allow the Americanism to take over what started as an Irish tradition? And what can you do to have fun today if you are just a little beyond dressing up and going round the doors?
Rocco Forte’s The Balmoral will be offering a bewitching treat to celebrate Halloween and what better time to visit this landmark hotel than during its 110th anniversary.
Guests at The Balmoral can get into the spirit of the occasion in the rich surroundings of the hotel’s Palm Court with a special Halloween Afternoon Tea. Created to tickle the taste buds and appeal to families and adults alike, guests can indulge in pumpkin tarts and Raspberry Blood Chocolate Brownies before selecting their fate from the ‘Trolley of Treats’ including devilish delights such as midnight red velvet gateau, all souls’ fruit cake and skeletal rock candy.
The Halloween Afternoon Tea is accompanied by a frighteningly wide range of loose leaf teas including silver needle, gunpowder green and black tea or for those who like to appeal to their wicked side, a bubbling glass of Bollinger Champagne.
Halloween Afternoon Tea is £25 per person or £39 per person with a glass of Champagne and will be served from 12noon to 5.30pm on All Hallows’ Eve – Wednesday 31st October. Booking is recommended. To make a reservation call 0131 556 2414 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Broughton Women’s Rugby maintained their unbeaten record with a 0-45 win on the road v Glasgow University.
After a traumatic drive across the M8 in the rain (and wrong turnings in town), the convoy of cars made it to Glasgow for this Premier C game at Garscube Sports Centre.
The rain had made conditions underfoot difficult however thankfully, for the travelling support, the weather was kinder during the 80 or so minutes of rugby.
It only took the Wardie foxes three minutes to open their account. A run by Deans broke the line of Uni defence and when Greer popped the ball to Kinghorn who went over the line from 5 metres. 0-5.
Broughton’s second try was of breathtaking quality. Candy stole the ball in a tackle and Gaskell made the initial hard yards to put the Students on the back foot. Billie switched play across the park and when Kinghorn put the gas on, she opened up the Uni back line before passing to Mad Dog who went in under the posts. Deans converted from bang in front. 0-12.
The scrum went uncontested after a 15th minute set-piece collapsed, forcing the Uni hooker to leave the field with a knackered shoulder.
Broughton continued to pressure the young Uni side and the pack bossed much of the play in the Uni 22. Gaskell was causing all sorts of problems in loose play and she made the space for Deans who showed tremendous upper-body strength to twist her way over the line for a try. Deans, in her first season of playing rugby, got up and slotted the extras. 0-19.
Half-time Glasgow Uni 0-19 Broughton
Both teams emerged from their half-time teamtalks keen to continue the good spirited game.
Broughton’s spirits were high when Mad Dog Neill secured a bonus point try early in the second half. ’Candy’ Brindley went on a rampaging run, bouncing students to the ground, leaving a trail of destruction in her wake. A quick offload to the supporting Cooper 5 metres out almost set up the back rower however as she was stopped in her tracks, the ball went to Neill who had the easy task of falling over the line. 0-24.
Laing piled on the points in the 63rd minute when she latched on to a loose ball and she blasted her way up the middle of the park to run in unopposed. Deans converted. 0-31.
With 10 minutes to go, Broughton were back on the scoresheet. Kinghorn went on a mazy run before kicking through an almost undefendable grubber in the soggy conditions. Kinghorn’s pace saw her win the foot race and the try was awarded once the Ref caught up with play! Deans the kicking machine converted. 0-38.
The game was almost done as the sun made an audacious attempt to breakthrough however there was still time for Broughton to have one final attack at the home tryline.
A Broughton forwards special saw Fleming take the ball up and once the pack had made the hard yards, it was up to the backs to take the glory once again! It was that girl Nuala Deans who capped a fine performance by running in from the 22 to slide between the posts to score her second and Broughton’s 7th of the afternoon. Her conversion was the last kick of the game.
Full Time: Glasgow Uni 0-45 Broughton
Post-match, both teams – well, almost all of the Broughton mob as some got lost – went to Campus, a bar in the City’s Sauchiehall Street. A big thank you to our hosts for fantastic hospitality, some of the finest experienced in recent times.
Man of the Match Awards:
From the Uni team – They selected Nuala Deans
From the Broughton team – It was Megan Greer
The least said about the drink-off the better….
Submitted by Mark Brown
More than half of Edinburgh’s cycle casualties in November, December and January happen during the hours of darkness.
Meanwhile, almost 50% of serious injuries sustained by cyclists in the Capital between 2006 and 2010 were linked to other vehicles carrying out turning manoeuvres. So while cyclists should take extra care to be seen, it is equally important that motorists take extra care to look out for cyclists as they turn at junctions.
This week a new campaign and series of roadshows run by the Streets Ahead partnership will reinforce these messages in a bid to cut the cycle casualty rate this winter.
The visibility campaign urges cyclists to make sure they are seen on the roads during the winter months by wearing high visibility clothing and ensuring their bikes are fitted with lights and reflectors.
Councillor Jim Orr, Vice Convener of the Transport and Environment Committee, said:- “Cycling is a safe and healthy way to travel and as a Council we are committed to encouraging bike use. However, too many Edinburgh cyclists are still taking a cavalier approach to visibility, in particular by cycling without lights. Apart from being unsafe, this contravenes the Highway Code and undermines the goodwill of the motorists we cyclists share the roads with.
“As a keen cyclist, I’m always properly kitted out with high visibility kit and lights. This new joint campaign will reinforce the visibility message with free samples and timely tips on how cyclists can keep themselves safe. My message for all road users – motorists and cyclists alike – is to take special care to look out for each other during the darker winter months and make sure you are visible and brightly lit.”
In addition to a marketing and advertising campaign launched last week, a cycling safety roadshow aimed at both cyclists and motorists will tour University of Edinburgh and NHS buildings this week to coincide with the clocks going back at the weekend.
Cyclists will be given free bike lights and information leaflets and advice. Free bike checks by The Bike Station and bike security marking by Lothian and Borders Police are also on offer.
Superintendent David Carradice of Lothian and Borders Police said:- “Edinburgh, like many cities in the UK has numerous cyclists travelling on the road network as they make their way to work, school, or who use their bikes recreationally.
“The road conditions change dramatically during the autumn and winter months, with increased hours of darkness and more challenging road conditions to face.
“It is therefore extremely important for cyclists to take the appropriate steps to ensure their safety.
“The cycle safety road shows will provide cyclists with all the necessary advice and guidance on keeping themselves safe while out on the road.
“Lothian and Borders Police and their partner agencies are committed to promoting cycle safety and reducing the number of casualties on our roads.
“Anyone wishing further information on keeping themselves or their bike safe can contact their local policing team or visit the Lothian and Borders Police website at www.lbp.police.uk.”
Book of Mormon: New Musical from the Creators of South Park to Come to the UK
One of the top 5 best-selling shows on Broadway, the Book of Mormon is now bringing its shockingly hilarious humour to the UK. From the winning team of South Park creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and Avenue Q writer, Robert Lopez, the Book of Mormon sheds a different light on Mormonism, taking the audience on a laughter filled adventure along the way. With larger-than-life characters and award winning musical numbers, Book of Mormon tickets look set to be in huge demand in the UK in 2013 and beyond.
Expected to carry on the success of the Broadway production, the talented and entertaining cast promise a show-stopping performance that jestingly questions the role of religion. Coming to London’s West End all the way from the Big Apple, the Book of Mormon previews will be opening on the 25 February 2013.
The Humourless Need Not Apply
The Book of Mormon takes a light-hearted look at the importance of organised religion in our lives. Debuted on Broadway in March 2011, the musical follows handsome, star missionary-to-be Elder Kevin Price and his less popular partner, Elder Arnold Cunningham on their two year mission in Uganda. Met by a robbery and a group of unsuccessful missionaries, the two are shocked to find that the dictator-led village turn to blasphemy to make light of their situation.
Price sees the heathen-populated village as an opportunity to improve his station and attempts to convert the villagers by regaling tales of the religion’s founder, Joseph Smith. Price’s narcissistic nature shines through as he confuses Smith’s story with his own, drawing the Ugandans to form the opinion that he is annoying. Price and Cunningham find their mettle tested as they are pressured to prove the success of their work and need to find a way to liberate the village from its paranoid General at the same time.
Grammy Award Winning Musical from South Park
The Book of Mormon was first conceived on a 2003 trip to New York during which Stone and Parker met Avenue Q creator Lopez. Discovering that all three shared a love of musicals and Mormonism, the trio began working on their new musical performance that would take around 8 years of planning to finally realise on stage.
Its success on Broadway made moving the musical to the UK an easy decision for its creators, who could see its over-the-top, witty humour appealing to a British audience. Opened on 24th March 2011 at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre in New York, the musical went on to win a multitude of Tony, Drama Desk and Grammy awards, and is now expected to repeat the same success in the UK.
The Book of Mormon opens on 25th February 2013 for previews and publicly on 21st March the Prince of Wales Theatre. You can find Book of Mormon tickets listings for these dates on your go-to marketplace, StubHub UK. Don’t miss out on this critically acclaimed piece of theatre – buy tickets for the Book of Mormon today to ensure you don’t miss out on this acclaimed new theatre sensation.
Here is a taster for you of a show you may have to take a trip to London to see unless it becomes so successful it comes to Edinburgh!:-
Writer, broadcaster and former Bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway, is to participate in a pre-Christmas event which will launch a brand new CD of Christmas music by Cadenza, one of Scotland’s finest amateur choirs.
‘Bright Star’ is a unique collection of Christmas music, mainly from Scotland, which includes 10 world premiere recordings.
The event, which takes place at St Peter’s Church, Lutton Place on Friday 16 November 2012 at 7 pm, will give a taster of music from the CD, interspersed with readings of and reflections on Christmas poetry by Richard Holloway.
The event is free of charge with a collection in support of Waverley Care, Scotland’s leading HIV and Hepatitis C charity. One of the carols (‘There’s a Song in the Air’ – John Hearne) was the winner of the audience prize in the charity’s Sing a New Song Christmas carol writing competition and has subsequently been published by Oxford University Press.
Richard Holloway said:- “As a long-term supporter of Waverley Care, I am delighted to be participating in this event to launch ‘Bright Star’ and welcome the opportunity to read some inspirational poems to complement this fascinating collection of carols.”
A number of the composers will be in attendance, including Ken Johnston, John Hearne and Ben Parry, co-founder of The Dunedin Consort, whose carol gives its name to the title of the CD. The launch event includes the world premiere live performance of Ben’s carol, ‘Bright Star’.
‘Bright Star’ is already being well-received in the musical community. John Rutter, the UK’s most popular composer of Christmas music, who is also a supporter of Waverley Care, has said of the CD “This is the perfect album to refresh your Christmas celebrations. Cadenza have truly captured a new Christmas spirit.”
For further information please contact: Karen Docwra at Waverley Care 0131 556 9710 email@example.com
Submitted by Karen Docwra
Bankruptcy and other insolvencies fell in second quarter
Official insolvency figures for Scotland show a sharp fall in the number of people entering bankruptcy and other formal insolvency solutions between July and September.
The data from the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) – Scotland’s insolvency service – showed that there were 4,063 personal insolvencies overall during the second quarter of 2012-2013. This marks a drop of 27.5% on the previous quarter, and a fall of 24.5% on the same period in 2011-12.
Wilson Andrews, who commissioned this article, have taken a closer look at the figures and what they reveal.
Bankruptcy: why has it fallen?
According to the AiB, the fall in total insolvencies was largely due to a drop in the number of borrowers applying for bankruptcy. This is probably a result of fees for this form of bankruptcy being raised on 1 June 2012 - prompting many borrowers to apply for bankruptcy before this date.
There were 1,859 bankruptcies awarded in tot al in the second quarter, marking a 43.8% fall on the previous quarter (3,310) and a 34.9% fall on 2011/12′s second quarter (2,857).
A look at Trust Deeds and the LILA route
The number of Protected Trust Deeds totalled 2,204. This marked a 3.8% drop on the previous quarter (2,291) and a 12.7% drop on the same time last year.
Protected Trust Deeds are a form of insolvency available only in Scotland. They are designed to help borrowers with a substantial amount of unsecured debt, who can’t repay what they owe in a reasonable timeframe.
The LILA (Low Income, Low Assets) route into bankruptcy is another approach that is only available to borrowers north of the border. Although it is not a debt solution in itself, the LILA route can provide an alternative way into bankruptcy for borrowers on a low income whose lenders have not taken legal action yet.
Of the 1,443 bankruptcy applications made by borrowers in the second quarter, 653 of these were made through the LILA route. This shows a fall of almost 60% (58.2%) on the previous quarter, when 1,563 people went bankruptcy through the LILA route.
DAS debt payment programmes on the rise
DAS – the common name for the Debt Arrangement Scheme – is a formal debt management solution backed by the Scottish Government.
Although DAS is not a form of insolvency, it has become an increasingly popular way for borrowers with unaffordable unsecured debt repayments to get back on top of their finances since its introduction in 2004.
During the second quarter of 2012-13, there were 1,110 Debt Payment Programmes (DPPs) approved under the scheme. This represents an increase of 29.7% on the same quarter last year. However, compared with previous quarter, the number of DPPs approved under DAS fell by 24.9%.
According to the AiB, the number of approved DAS cases was higher than during any quarter of the previous financial year, perhaps due to promotion of the Scheme to highlight its benefits for some borrowers.
Cuckoo’s Bakery launches six monstrous cupcake treats to celebrate Halloween
Cuckoo’s Bakery, Edinburgh’s quirkiest cupcake shop, is feeling seasonal yet again, and is kicking off Halloween with a selection of irresistible yet frightening cupcakes available for purchase in the run-up to Halloween.
Until Thursday 1 November 2012, owners Graham Savage and Vidya Sarjoo will be offering a whole range of devilishly delightful Halloween cupcakes:
- Buried Deep: What lies beneath… Belgian chocolate chip sponge buried below baked vanilla cheesecake and an earthy grave scene. ‘Relish in Peace’…
- Trick or Treat: Spiced pumpkin sponge filled with gooey butterscotch and finished with a caramel cinnamon pumpkin patch. Happy Halloween!
- Witches’ Bru: Black magic inspired Irn ‘Bru’ cupcake adorned with a sleek witch’s hat… sure to cast a spell on you!
- The Ghost: Dark chocolate sponge filled with ghoulish white chocolate ganache. Let your teeth get too close and the ghost will vanish… Beware!
- The Creature: This monstrous apple cupcake with a purple custard heart is sure to send shivers through your taste-buds!
- The Red Devil: Don’t stare too long… Dive in and devour this devilishly delicious red velvet delight.
These delicious Halloween treats will also be used by The Edinburgh Dungeon to tempt visitors inside. The first 30 visitors on both Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st (Halloween itself) will be greeted with a free babycake version of the full-size cupcakes that Cuckoo’s is selling.
Graham Savage said:-
“It has been so much fun coming up with this year’s Halloween cupcake creations and we’re really looking forward to selling these quirky treats come Halloween”
The cupcakes are available in-store for £2.75 (take-away) or £2.95 (eat-in), or if you’re buying as a gift they offer a giftbox which includes 6 cupcakes and a card with a personal message, all in a box and tied with ribbon. Individual cupcakes and giftboxes are also are also available to order online for collection or delivery in Edinburgh.
See the website at http://www.cuckoosbakery.co.uk/