Schoolgirl becomes Scotland’s latest sea shanty star

Chart star Nathan Evans impressed by Frankie-Rose Black's version of The Wellerman.

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Sea Shanty hero Nathan Evans has surprised a seven-year-old girl who recorded a Covid-inspired version.

Frankie-Rose Black recorded her own sea-shanty last weekend after rewriting The Wellerman.

With hilarious lines incriminating her four-year-old sister Rudi-May, who is “doing nothing but the loo”, Frankie’s mum Sarah decided it was too good not to share and posted it on Facebook.

Less than a week later, the video has racked up thousands of views and Frankie, from Aberdeen, has become a bit of a media star.

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She said: “When I’ve been at school the past few days, all my friends have been like ‘I saw you on TV, I heard you on the radio, I saw you in the papers’ and I’m like ‘wow’.”

On her sister’s reaction to it all, Frankie explained: “She thinks I’m famous but she was not happy about what I said about the loo!”

Someone else who thinks Frankie is a bit of a star is Evans, so STV News introduced the pair via Zoom.

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Nathan Evans.

Speechless for the first time ever, her mum joked, Frankie was delighted to meet her hero.

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“I liked your wee song,” he told the starstruck schoolgirl. “It was amazing. Do you want to know my favourite bit? The bit where you ‘went wash wash wash’.”

Nathan has already been number one in the Capital Radio chart and could top the Radio One chart tomorrow after being held off by Olivia Rodrigo’s Driver’s Licence for the past few weeks.

Delighted with the backing from his biggest fan, he told the young singer: “Just keep going with your songs and keep putting smiles on people’s faces cause your song was absolutely fantastic, so keep going and keep doing it.”


Large-scale probe into treatment of care home residents

Police Scotland investigating reports of concern over the care of residents at Millport Care Centre on Great Cumbrae.

© Google Maps 2020
Millport Care Centre on Great Cumbrae.

A large-scale investigation has been launched into the treatment of elderly residents at a care home on Great Cumbrae.

Police Scotland, North Ayrshire Council and NHS Ayrshire and Arran are looking into complaints that residents have been mistreated at Millport Care Centre.

The Care Inspectorate says it is aware of the concerns and issued an improvement notice to the care home, owned by Sanctuary Care Limited, on April 2.

A whistleblower told The Daily Record newspaper that she witnessed three members of staff at the home pin a woman down, while a fourth allegedly ordered a nurse to give her the Covid jab through her clothes.

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Sanctuary Care strongly deny that specific allegation. Two staff members at the care home have been suspended but not in relation to the allegations presented.

A spokesperson for the company told STV News: “We strongly refute the allegations made and are confident that our staff appropriately supported an NHS nurse as they recently administered a second dose of a Covid vaccine to a resident at this home.

“We are working closely with North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership to make the improvements required in this home based on the findings of a recent Care Inspectorate report and can reassure the families of our residents that we are committed to providing their loved ones with the high quality care they deserve.”

The centre in Millport is ­registered to provide care for up to 27 adults with learning or physical disabilities.

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A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police Scotland, working with local health and social care partners, is involved in a large-scale investigation into reports of concerns over the care of residents at Millport Care Centre. Enquiries are ongoing.”

North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership (NAHSCP) is providing a staff presence at Millport Care Centre over the coming weeks while the investigation is being carried out.

A spokesperson for NAHSCP said: “As the local regulatory body for care services, NAHSCP is committed to ensuring that the welfare of those looked after by those services is of the utmost priority.

“An investigation is currently under way and North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership is working alongside partners to support the operators to improve standards.

“We are providing a staff presence at Millport Care Centre over the coming weeks to ensure that service users’ needs are being appropriately met, to maintain the safety of the individuals receiving support and [to] provide supervision and support for staff while the investigation is carried out.

“We would like to reassure the families of those who are looked after at the Millport Care Centre that their safety and well-being is our ultimate priority and as such we are contacting families and guardians to provide information and support in relation to the investigation process.”

A spokesperson for the Care Inspectorate said: “We recently inspected the service and issued an improvement notice on April 2 that details areas of care that need to improve.  

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“We continue to monitor the service and we are liaising closely with the local health and social care partnership. 

“Everyone in Scotland has the right to good quality, safe care.  Anyone with a concern about a care service can contact us on 0345 600 9527.”

‘I look at Billy and it’s all in the past… he’s perfect’

Mum admitted to intensive care with coronavirus while 28 weeks pregnant gives birth to baby boy.

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Even before he was born, Mechelle Smith described her son as “mummy’s little miracle”.

That’s because after testing positive for coronavirus, pregnant Mechelle was in intensive care, fearing for both her son’s and her own survival.

Now at home with her baby boy, those days feel like a distant memory for the 35-year-old from Kilmarnock.

“I look at Billy now and it’s all in the past, he’s perfect,” she said.

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STV News last spoke to Mechelle in February, when she described her battle with Covid as the scariest time of her life.

The diabetic mum was 28 weeks’ pregnant when she was placed in a medically induced comma. After 18 days in hospital, she was allowed home for her youngest daughter’s first birthday.

Her fourth child was due to be born on April 17, but was delivered three weeks early on March 25 by emergency caesarean section.

Mum and son are now thriving and little baby Billy has been the centre of attention for his three besotted big sisters. 

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Mechelle said: “I’m absolutely elated and so in love with him. Sometimes I can’t believe he’s here considering everything he has been through.

“[During the final weeks of pregnancy] I had problems with my blood sugars, pains I hadn’t had before. I was feeling really breathless and I didn’t know if that was due to Covid or the pregnancy.”

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Mechelle Smith and baby Billy in hospital.

The effects of Covid linger for Mechelle; her aftercare includes help to deal with post-traumatic stress.

However, the progress shown by mother and baby boosted the spirits of the medical team at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock, with staff eager to visit the new arrival.

“I felt like a celebrity,” said Mechelle. “It was funny, but it was lovely.

“Everywhere we went, they were like ‘is this the miracle baby?’. One of the nurses who looked after me in intensive care was also a midwife, so she was there too when I was readmitted.”  

The easing of coronavirus restrictions has now given friends and relatives the chance to meet the new family of six.

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Mechelle said: “Hopefully over next few weeks and months, we can get him out and about to see people and also my other daughter, Jessica.

“She was born just before the first lockdown last year. We still have family and friends who haven’t met her yet.”


Coronavirus: No further deaths as cases rise by 232 overnight

According to NHS boards across Scotland, 104 people are currently in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19.

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Covid-19: The fight to stop the spread of the deadly virus goes on.

A further 232 cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Scotland, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

No additional deaths have been reported overnight.

The death toll of those who tested positive currently stands at 7642, however weekly figures on suspected Covid-19 deaths recorded by National Records of Scotland suggest the most up-to-date total is now more than 10,000.

The daily test positivity rate is 2.5%, up from the 1.6% reported on Sunday when 211 cases were recorded.

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Of the new cases reported on Monday, 58 are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde region, 56 are in Lanarkshire, and 30 are in Lothian.

The rest of the cases are spread out across seven other health board areas.

According to NHS boards across Scotland, 104 people are currently in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19. Out of those, 14 patients are in intensive care.

The Scottish Government also confirmed that 2,747,694 Scots have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, an increase of 3463 from the day before.

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A total of 757,115 people have received their second dose, a rise of 18,695.


Election 2021: Parties on campaign trail ahead of vote

Rennie urges Davidson voters to back the Lib Dems in May as Tories launch manifesto.

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Rennie: Urging Davidson voters to back Lib Dems.

All of Scotland’s main parties have been on the campaign trail ahead of the Holyrood elections in May.

On the day that the Scottish Conservatives revealed their manifesto, Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie has been urging Ruth Davidson backers to vote for his party as Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar pledges to tackle child poverty.

Meanwhile the SNP say they will create a ‘fan bank’ that will help football fans own a stake in their club and The Scottish Greens are calling for rent controls.

Calling on voters who backed former Scottish Conservatives leader at the last election Rennie said: “Many people backed Ruth Davidson at the last election because she promised what she described as a moderate and centrist platform with an open and optimistic outlook.

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“I know many of these people are not attracted by the Conservative Party led by Douglas Ross and Boris Johnson.

“There is a home with my Liberal Democrats for all these people who now feel politically homeless because of the departure of Ruth Davidson.

“I oppose another independence referendum and am offering an open, optimistic vision for the country together with a platform that has a broad appeal.

“And it is Liberal Democrats wins in this election which could be the difference between the nationalists winning a majority or not. If Liberal Democrats win we can focus the parliament on recovery.”

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Pledging to make child poverty a key priority, Sarwar said: “Scotland has the powers to tackle head-on the impact of child poverty.

“At this election, our national recovery plan has eradicating child poverty at its heart. That’s what I’m obsessed about.”

Co-leader of the Scottish Greens Lorna Slater said: “The SNP’s rent pressure zones have failed, it’s time for proper rent controls.

“We need a fair and green recovery from the pandemic and that starts with making sure everyone has a secure home.”

On setting up a “fan bank” the SNP said: “Sports clubs are a massive part of our communities – but too often, fans have watched powerlessly as neglectful owners damage those clubs.

“If re-elected, the SNP will set up a ‘Fan Bank’ to help fan groups get the capital to own a stake in their club.”

And at their manifesto launch, the Scottish Conservatives pledged to “rebuild Scotland” and stop another independence referendum.


Police issue warning after orca pod disturbed by boat

Officers were called after the incident involving the killer whales off Shetland.

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People have been warned to keep their distance from the animals as disturbing them is against the law.

Police have issued a warning as officers on Shetland are investigating the disturbance of a pod of orcas by a boat.

Police were called after the incident involving the killer whales at Brae around 4pm on Saturday, April 10.

People have been warned to keep their distance from the animals as disturbing them is against the law.

Police Sergeant Victoria Duthie, of Lerwick Police Station, said: “In Shetland we are extremely fortunate to be able to see many cetacean species, including orca, regularly from land. There are lots of good places around Shetland’s coast to sit and watch cetaceans – you do not have to go out in a boat to be able to experience that.”

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Those who are on the water in a kayak or boats have been urged to follow the Scottish Marine Wildlife Watching Code.

Sergeant Duthie said: “The main thing is to keep your distance – at least 200m for pods with calves, slow your speed and minimise your time with these animals – no more than 15 minutes.

“Always approach cautiously. In practice this means slowing down to less than six knots when you are a good distance away. If animals come to you  – maintain a steady course and speed.”

Sergeant Duthie said that signs that you have disturbed the whales, dolphins or porpoises can be subtle. She said they can change their behaviour such as diving times, swimming speed or tail slapping. They can also stop what they were doing, including ceasing feeding or socialising.

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“If you think you see any changes then back off and slow down,” she said.

“The key is to let the animals be in control of the entire encounter. They should choose how close to approach. If they choose not to interact, or to depart, this should be respected. A good encounter is one which is enjoyable for you and neither threatening nor harmful to the animals.”

For further information on the Scottish Marine Wildlife Watching Code visit NatureScot’s website here.

A guide to best practice for watching marine wildlife can be found here.

Stonehaven train derailed ‘after colliding with stones’ on track

Rail Accident Investigation Branch says verified pre-accident inspections had found no track defects in the area.

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Interim report has been published into Stonehaven train derailment last August.

A train derailed near Stonehaven last year after colliding with stones washed out onto the track from the gravel-filled crest drain and from the adjacent ground, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has said.

An interim report by the RAIB released on Monday said verified pre-accident inspections had found no track defects in the area.

The RAIB also said it had not found any evidence of a train fault that could have played a part in its derailment.

Three men died when a ScotRail train struck a landslip and came off the tracks at a bridge in Carmont, near Stonehaven, on August 12, 2020.

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Driver Brett McCullough, conductor Donald Dinnie and passenger Christopher Stuchbury were killed when the 6.38am Aberdeen-Glasgow service derailed.

Six other people were injured.

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ScotRail driver Brett McCullough, conductor Donald Dinnie and passenger Christopher Stuchbury.

The RAIB report also focused on drain inspection work in the area, concluding there is no evidence that part of a drainage system built at the location of the Stonehaven rail crash was inspected between its construction in 2012 and the fatal accident in August 2020.

A slope next to the crash site already had a “history of landslips and rockfalls” including an incident in 1915 which also led to a derailment, the report said.

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This led to Network Rail commissioning Carillion Construction Ltd – which has since collapsed – to design and construct a new drainage system.

The work was completed in 2012, but only the section closest to the track was listed on Network Rail’s drain maintenance database.

The RAIB said it has found “no evidence” the drain was inspected before the crash, apart from the section closest to the track.

It added that the design and construction of the drain, plus the “intended and actual” inspection processes, are among the main areas it considered as part of its investigation.

The report said there was “near-continuous heavy rain” in the area between around 5.50am and 9am on the day of the crash, which caused “significant flooding”.

The 51.5mm of rain that fell in this period was almost 75% of the monthly total in Aberdeenshire in an average August.

But it was “dry and sunny” when the derailment happened at 9.37am.

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Survivors of the derailment have launched legal action as they continue to seek answers over the cause of the fatal crash, which caused extensive damage to the tracks, bridge, embankment and drainage systems at the site in Carmont.

The railway line between Aberdeen and Dundee reopened in early November, 2020, after being closed for almost three months.

ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, welcomed Monday’s interim report into the accident, which it said had cast a long shadow across Britain’s railway industry.

Kevin Lindsay, ASLEF’s organiser in Scotland, said: ‘Blame for the accident has been laid firmly at the door of Network Rail for failing to maintain the area around the track. It was the landslip – the debris washed onto the track – which caused the train to derail, with the subsequent loss of life, injuries, and catastrophic consequences.

“We are urging Network Rail to examine every mile of track for which it is responsible, to ensure something like this can never happen again.”

Meanwhile, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), said it believes the RAIB “seems to be taking Network Rail’s commitments on expertise at face value”.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “The tragic loss of life and damage at Carmont sets out that there are clear deficiencies in Network Rail’s approach to the effects of severe weather and its effects on the ageing rail infrastructure.

“Network Rail must learn from this incident and take the necessary steps to ensure that they are preventing incidents from happening.

“That means a robust and regular inspection, maintenance and improvement programme that means our railway infrastructure is fit for a future where extreme weather may become more regular and more challenging. We need a well-maintained railway that will need a hands-on approach to maintenance and improvements and not just leaving matters to predictions and forecasts.”

UK transport secretary Grant Shapps said the RAIB has been conducting “extensive work” during its investigation, adding: “I look forward to receiving the full findings in due course, to ensure lessons are learned from this tragedy.”


Four men injured in disturbance at school football pitch

Two men were treated in hospital following the incident at the John Paul Academy football park in Glasgow.

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Disturbance: Four men injured following incident at school football park.

Four men have been injured in a disturbance at a football pitch in Glasgow.

The incident happened at about 6.40pm on Friday at the John Paul Academy football park, Arrochar Street.

Two men, both aged 18, sustained serious facial injuries and were treated in hospital.

Another two men, both aged 19, were also injured but did not require hospital treatment.

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Detective constable Peter Lagan, of Maryhill Police Station, said: “Four people were injured during this incident, two of whom required hospital treatment, and our inquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances.

“There were a number of people around at the time and I would ask anyone who has yet not spoken to officers to get in touch.”


Doncaster slams ‘cynical’ European Super League project

SPFL chief executive says proposal would 'dramatically undermine the global appeal of football'.

Craig Williamson via SNS Group
UEFA has criticised plans for a controversial breakaway European Super League.

The proposed new European Super League “would have an enormously damaging impact on the very fabric of our sport at all levels”, the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) said on Monday.

The SPFL spoke out after plans were unveiled for a controversial breakaway European Super League involving some of the biggest football teams across the continent.

Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City have announced they have signed up to the plan, joining teams from Italy and Spain.

Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPFL, said Scottish football’s league body stands alongside UEFA, the European leagues, the English Premier League and “the overwhelming majority of the game’s stakeholders in vehemently opposing the proposed European Super League”.

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He said: “These proposals, or any like them, would have an enormously damaging impact on the very fabric of our sport at all levels. It is no surprise they have been so swiftly and overwhelmingly condemned by fans the world over. 

“We believe that any such ‘competition’ would dramatically undermine the global appeal of football and would be financially catastrophic for all but a very tiny minority.”

The European Super League plans also involve Spanish sides Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona and Italian clubs AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan.

The proposal has support from investment bank JP Morgan, which will provide debt financing for the competition.

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It is understood that it will underwrite around six billion US dollars (£4.3bn) in loans for teams involved.

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) joined in the condemnation of the proposed league. A spokesperson said the SFA stood together with UEFA and “with all who wish to uphold the values and very fabric of football”.

They said: “The widespread condemnation of the so-called European Super League – among fans, players, clubs and football bodies across the world – has galvanised a sport which has already shown great fortitude in enduring the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and which has provided entertainment to millions who have been forced to remain at home during the restrictions caused by the pandemic.”

The plans would see the breakaway teams create a competition to rival the Champions League, but it would not feature relegation or promotion – leading to the accusations of a closed shop for the richest clubs.

Teams would play each other in midweek while still competing in their domestic leagues.

Uefa, the football associations of England, Spain and Italy, plus the Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A have also spoken out against the move.

Doncaster added: “The proposals we have seen, assembled by a small, self-selected group of very wealthy clubs, appear to be a cynical and very worrying attempt to thwart the core principle of sporting merit which rightly underpins European football.  They represent a clear and present danger to the sport we all love.

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“Now, more than ever, given what we have all been through over the past year, governments, together with the game’s governing bodies and leagues, need to work together to do what is right and protect the very essence of the game.  

“The SPFL stands ready to support all efforts to fight for the principles of solidarity, sporting competition and fairness which lie at the very heart of the game.”

Meanwhile, several SPFL member clubs posted photographs on their social media accounts on Monday in an apparent rebuke aimed at the proposed new league and to highlight the importance of fans to the game in Scotland.

Shoppers urged to ‘play their part’ to keep shop staff safe

The Scottish Retail Consortium and the union Usdaw have come together to make the appeal ahead of shops reopening.

Jane Barlow/PA via PA Wire
Shoppers have been asked to follow social distancing and other Covid-safety measures.

Shoppers have been urged to “play their part” in helping reduce the spread of coronavirus as the wider retail sector gets set to reopen its doors.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and Usdaw have come together to ask Scots to play their part in creating a safe and enjoyable environment for other customers and staff.

Non-essential stores have been shut in Scotland for 115 consecutive days but the Scottish Government is now expected to confirm they can reopen on Monday, April 26.

David Lonsdale, SRC director, said: “Every purchase from a shop helps support jobs in local retail and throughout the supply chain.

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“Retailers and their colleagues continue to work around the clock to maintain a safe shopping experience, so customers can have the confidence to return to their favourite stores.

“If we all follow the necessary physical distancing and hygiene measures and show consideration to those around us, including shop staff who are doing a difficult job, then everyone will be better off.”

Tracy Gilbert, Usdaw deputy divisional officer for Scotland, added: “The reopening of stores on Monday offers a lifeline for many retailers.

“That is good news in terms of helping to safeguard jobs, but the virus is still out there.

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“We expect employers to conduct full risk assessments, follow the agreed guidance and ensure that customers are fully informed of the necessary safety measures.

“Shoppers need to play their part in helping to limit the spread of the virus and avoid further lockdowns by following the rules and respecting staff.

“Regrettably, throughout this appalling pandemic, incidents of abuse towards shopworkers doubled and Covid-19 safety measures have now become significant flashpoints.

“Abuse should never be part of the job and shopworkers – who played a vital role in getting food and medicine into our homes during the pandemic – deserve our thanks and respect.”

The two organisations produced an industry-leading guide on implementing social distancing in April 2020.

They then worked with the Scottish Government to help develop official retail sector and customer safety guidance.

SRC is also launching a new social media campaign to encourage safe shopping.

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