Scots photographer donates pictures to cheer up NHS wards

Lewis Matheson is hoping to bring smiles to the faces of NHS staff by having his inspirational images hang on hospital walls.

Respite: Lewis hopes the pictures will relax staff and patients.
Respite: Lewis hopes the pictures will relax staff and patients.

An up-and-coming photographer from the Highlands is hoping to bring smiles to the faces of frontline NHS workers by offering his pictures free of charge to wards.

In a bid to cheer up staff and patients during the coronavirus crisis, Lewis Matheson has asked hospitals to look at the photographs on his website and choose what they would like to see hang on the ward walls.

The 24-year-old, from Clachtoll, has already received a number of requests, including from Raigmore hospital and Migdale hospital in the Highlands, where staff chose an atmospheric image of a rainbow.

The 23-year-old hopes looking at his photos can provide a moment of respite for under-pressure frontline workers.

Request: Staff at Migdale Hospital chose this image of a rainbow over a bothy. (Lewis Matheson/Taigh Solais)
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He said: “I had been working in Edinburgh as a bar supervisor but when the pandemic began I was furloughed.

“This meant I had a lot of time on my hands and so I had seen a lot of social media posts, written by NHS staff, sharing selfies after their shifts, in which they are physically and mentally drained from working on the front line.

‘The picture of the rainbow over the bothy seems fitting as all across the UK we’re seeing folk stick rainbows to their windows to show their support.’

Lewis Matheson

“I just wanted to help bring a smile to their faces, even if it was just in passing during a down moment.”

Gesture: Lewis Matheson.

Lewis added: “Most of my photos are of sea and landscapes so I’m hoping they could help bring a bit of colour and space to the wards.

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“The picture of the rainbow over the bothy seems fitting as all across the UK we’re seeing folk stick rainbows to their windows to show their support.”


Sturgeon to confirm move to phase three of lockdown easing

The First Minister will give a statement to the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.

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First Minister: Nicola Sturgeon will give a statement to the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.

Nicola Sturgeon will confirm on Thursday if Scotland can move into the third phase of its plan for easing coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Phase three would see customers able to return to hairdressers, restaurants and drink inside pubs, although the First Minister has suggested that not all restrictions would be lifted at the same time.

Sturgeon said she was “hopeful” Scotland could move to phase three of its route map for easing lockdown and is expected to give a statement to the Scottish Parliament outlining when and how measures will be lifted.

She previously announced plans for hairdressers, indoor pubs, museums, galleries and libraries to open on July 15.

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According to the Scottish Government’s route map, offices and call centres will also be able to reopen in phase three, while universities and colleges can begin a phased return of in-person teaching – all with physical distancing measures in place.

Depending on the latest public health advice, the First Minister could also announce an easing of restrictions for live events – both indoor and outdoor events – as well as the reopening of gyms.

Non-essential shopping centres could also be able to reopen, along with holiday accommodation, museums and libraries.

Public transport is due to resume more services, albeit with reduced capacity and mandatory face coverings for most passengers.

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Places of worship are also expected to be able to reopen during phase three for congregational services and communal prayer, while an easing of restrictions on attendance at funerals, marriages and civil partnerships could also feature in the First Minister’s announcement.

Sturgeon has already confirmed that, from Friday, Scots will be able to meet in extended groups outside and a maximum of two other households indoors – if physical distancing is maintained – and that children will be able to play organised outdoor sports from Monday.

Police officer to appeal after winning sex discrimination claim

Karen Harper claims evidence was ignored and decisions were not explained during the employment tribunal.

Appeal: Karen Harper.

A former police officer who partly won a sex discrimination claim against Police Scotland is appealing — on the grounds her employment tribunal ignored evidence and failed to explain decisions.

The tribunal found Karen Harper was victimised by a sergeant who passed potentially damaging information about her “in retaliation” after she accused him of bullying.

However, it rejected the whistleblower’s allegation that her bullying complaint was also the reason she was targeted in an extensive criminal investigation.

In his original judgment in February, tribunal judge Mark Whitcombe said it was “purely coincidental” the investigation was launched two weeks after she lodged her complaint in 2015.

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Ms Harper, from Dumfries, had 22 years’ service before retiring through ill health in 2017.

In the appeal submission, Ms Harper’s lawyer Mark Allison claims there was a “failure by the tribunal to have regard to material evidence” and that it “failed to record their decision and give adequate reasons”.

Ms Harper was off duty when she allegedly intervened in an argument between her ten-year-old son and another boy, who claimed she shouted at him.

She was not told about the investigation or asked for her side of the story and later discovered two inspectors approached nine of her neighbours and her ex-husband Bruce, a former sergeant.

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Ms Harper’s appeal argues that element of the investigation were “incomprehensible” and “went beyond legitimate enquiry, and amount to a fishing expedition”.

It alleges the Glasgow tribunal “either misunderstood the evidence before it” or “failed to scrutinise and given reasoned analysis” in relation to the explanations given by police witnesses. 

Had it done so, the tribunal should have concluded “in the absence of a legitimate purpose” the reason for the visit was because of the bullying complaint.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said they were unable to comment due to the legal process being live while Ms Harper also declined to comment.

Her lawyer Mr Allison, of Livingstone Brown, said: “Ms Harper was pleased with the unequivocal findings by the tribunal both that she had been subjected to unlawful victimisation by a senior police officer and that the subsequent procedure was unfair and inconsistent with Police Scotland’s own policies and procedures.

“Nevertheless there are aspects of the judgment that Ms Harper takes issue with. 

“On the basis of legal advice, it is felt that there are reasonable grounds for challenging those decisions and that process is under way.”


Electricity pole fell 200ft from helicopter and landed near road

The aircraft carrying the 700kg wooden pole mistakenly released it onto a hillside 200 metres from a road.

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Crash: Electricity pole mistakenly released from aircraft.

An electricity pole fell from a helicopter transporting it and crashed to the ground near a road in the Highlands, accident investigators have found.

The helicopter was flying at around 200ft in Glencoe with the 700kg wooden pole in a sling underneath the aircraft when it was mistakenly released.

The pole crashed into the hillside below and split into two pieces around 200 metres from a minor public road, according to report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

The 66-year-old pilot was flying the Eurocopter solo as part of electricity line refurbishment when the incident happened at around 2.30pm on March 3.

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The report said: “The pole broke into two pieces when it struck a steep hill approximately 200 metres from a minor public road but clear of any built-up areas and third parties.

“There was no damage to the helicopter or lifting equipment.

“The operator considered the most probable cause for the inadvertent release of the load was that the sling, which was carrying the load, was not positioned correctly in the helicopter’s hook which was of the spring-loaded keeper design.

“As a result of this incident, the operator is continuing to phase out the design of this hook for most of its operations and has changed its procedures so that only the operator’s employees are permitted to load the hook when spring-loaded keeper hooks are used.”


Fancy your own private island on Loch Lomond for £500k?

The uninhabited island, Inchconnachan, is only accessible by boat and no-one has lived there for 20 years.

For sale: Inchconnachan is on the market for offers over £500k.

A private island in the middle of Loch Lomond has gone on sale for £500,000.

The uninhabited island, Inchconnachan, is only accessible by boat and no-one has lived there for 20 years.

The ruins of a timber bungalow built in Colonial style in the 1920s can still be seen.

It was once the holiday home of thrill-seeking aristocrat Fiona Gore, Countess of Arran who was at one-time the fastest woman on the water, after setting record speeds of 102mph in a powerboat in 1980.

No-one has lived on Inchconnachan there for 20 years. SWNS
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Planning consent and detailed architectural drawings have been obtained to replace the existing bungalow with a new four-bedroom lodge and one-bedroom warden’s house, along with a boathouse and pier.

The island is both an Area of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation as well as being part of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, and is surrounded by views of mountain ranges.

Wildlife lovers could watch nesting ospreys, otters and deer on the 103-acre island, which can only be accessed by a boat from Luss, Argyll and Bute.

It is on the market for offers over £500,000 – the same price as an ultra-modern one-bedroom flat near Canary Wharf in London.

The island is only accessible by boat. SWNS
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Cameron Ewer for Savills said: “This is an extraordinary opportunity to acquire a beautiful and completely private, yet accessible, retreat and create a wonderful new residence there.

“For those seeking peace and seclusion, yet wanting all that this part of Scotland has to offer in the way of nature and water-based sport and activities, this is surely the ultimate prize.”

Tom Stewart-Moore for Knight Frank said: “To be able to build your own house on your own private island but yet in a very accessible and beautiful part of the country will be a dream for many and is likely to have global appeal.”


Tax hike warning to help pay for £160bn Covid spending package

The IFS has warned of higher taxes in 2022/23 in a bid to pay off cash spent protecting jobs during the coronavirus crisis.

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Covid cash hit: Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

A think tank has warned of higher taxes in 2022/23 to help pay for the £160bn chancellor Rishi Sunak has committed to protecting jobs during the Covid-19 crisis.

In a wide ranging response to the economic update on Wednesday, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) director Paul Johnson said: “Let’s hold in the back of our minds that a reckoning, in the form of higher taxes, will come eventually.”

The think tank poses questions about whether some of the measures announced by the chancellor will deliver value for money.

The Job Retention Bonus will give employers £1000 for every furloughed worker kept on until at least January 2021.

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However, the IFS said: “A lot, probably a majority, of the job retention bonus money will go in respect of jobs that would have been, indeed already have been, returned from furlough anyway”.

It also questioned the timing of the VAT cut particularly as it relates to the hospitality sector.

Mr Johnson said: “Maybe it would have been better to wait until we know whether the real problem is on the demand side –people need to be encouraged to go out and eat-or on the supply side-with social distancing restaurants can’t serve enough people.”

The IFS also fired a warning over other measures announced like apprenticeships and energy efficiency programmes saying “you need to be sure you can deliver them. Even at the scale announced this will be challenging”.

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The IFS said the chancellor has a difficult balancing act between supporting business now and laying firm foundations for economic recovery.

Mr Johnson concluded: “They need to get the balance between preserving those parts of the economy which have a long-term future and helping to transition to the new normal. 

“They also need to actually deliver goods and services and change. That is very different from simply disbursing cash.”

‘Expect pay packets to take a hit in future’

By STV’s Special Correspondent Bernard Ponsonby

When the IFS speaks, politicians sit up and take note. Like the Office for Budget Responsibility its judgements tend to be unimpeachable.

Some of the think tank’s observations make for uncomfortable reading for Rishi Sunak but they readily concede he has a difficult if not impossible task in dealing with an unprecedented set of circumstances.

The problem for Sunak is that he is trying to do a number of different things at once with no guarantee that his spending will actually work.

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The interventions are meant to shore up jobs now. Furlough has done that at huge expense. The concern is that the eye watering sums will have given households and businesses breathing space but just postpone the inevitable.

As the IFS point out you can spend £60bn on furloughing or add £8bn to the welfare bill in the form of higher payments to the newly unemployed. The Government have opted for spending more than would have been the case if they had simply let events take their natural course.

The chancellor is also trying to prop up key sectors of the economy like hospitality and tourism whilst laying the foundations for long term sustainable jobs through measures on apprenticeships and targeted help for 16-24 year olds. At this stage it is impossible to gauge how successful these measures will be.

Perhaps the most strikingly candid admission from the chancellor is that he cannot replace all of the jobs that will be lost in the coming months. In that sense the policy is about mitigating disaster not preventing it. Mass unemployment increasingly looks inevitable; the only issue is the weight of the mass.

And the price for trying to mitigate all of this is the biggest deficit since the Second World War.  That’s why tax increases are inevitable but as the IFS says not this year and not next whilst the economy is in a fragile state.

Expect pay packets to take a hit therefore in 2022/23.


Hotel attack victim ‘feared he would die’ after stabbing

Badreddin Abadlla Adam was shot dead by police after six people were injured in the attack in Glasgow.

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Glasgow: Badreddin Abadlla Adam injured six people in the attack.

A man who was stabbed in a knife attack outside a city hotel has said he feared he was dying as he lay bleeding on the pavement.

Badreddin Abadlla Adam, 28, from Sudan, was shot dead by police after his attack at the Park Inn Hotel in Glasgow, which left six people injured including 42-year-old police constable David Whyte.

Mex Abin, 20, said he was the first person to be attacked after encountering Adam as he walked along West George Street to meet a friend on June 26.

He said Adam called him over and then slapped him on the face before stabbing him in his right side, then his left.

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He told the Daily Record: “I think the knife was small. I didn’t even see it. I felt something had happened to my body but I didn’t know he had stabbed me. 

“I was shocked. I panicked. I just wanted to run but he wouldn’t let go of my t-shirt. I was screaming and struggling.

“His face was cold and calm. God must have saved me because I don’t know how but I pulled back – my t-shirt ripped and I broke free.”

Attacker: Badreddin Abadlla Adam, 28, from Sudan, was shot dead by police.

He said he ran towards his friend, who helped him to sit down, while a kitchen worker from the hotel rushed over and applied pressure to the wounds.

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Mr Abin, who is from the Ivory Coast, said: “I was on a pavement, sure I was dying. I thought of my mum. I thought if I closed my eyes I would never wake up again. I was afraid to die.”

The other people injured were men aged 17, 18, 38 and 53, with all victims taken to hospital for treatment.

Two of the injured are members of staff at the hotel while three are asylum seekers.

Mr Abin told the newspaper that Adam was “quiet and kept to himself” and said he did not really know him.

He praised the medical staff who treated him in hospital, saying: “I thank them a thousand times for saving my life.”

He also said he forgives Adam for stabbing him and that the attacker “lost his mind and that is not his fault”.


Hunt for driver after woman mowed down in hit-and-run

A 38-year-old woman was knocked to the ground by the reversing Volkswagen driver during the early hours of Monday.

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Police: Officers said two people were in the car at the time of the incident.

Police are on the hunt for a Volkswagen driver and their passenger following a hit-and-run in Angus.

During the early hours of Monday morning, a car attempting to reverse along a street collided with a 38-year-old woman, knocking her to the ground, before driving off.

The victim suffered minor injuries.

Another car parked in the same street was later found to have some fresh damage consistent with having been struck by a moving vehicle.

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Police believe the same driver was responsible.

The incident happened in Milton Park, Monifieth, at around 2.30am.

The Volkswagen is believed to be a Polo or a Golf and possibly grey in colour with an 02 registration.

Investigating officers said at least two people were in the car at the time of the hit-and-run.

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A police spokesperson said: “While it is unlikely given the time of night and location that anyone has witnessed this incident take place, we would be interested to hear from anyone who saw a VW Polo or Golf being driven poorly around the Monifieth and Broughty Ferry area on Sunday night into Monday morning.”

If you have any information, call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Bag of Covid-19 test samples found on Highland road

The samples were being transported to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

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Covid-19: The health board has said it will investigate how the bag managed to end up on the road.

A bag of Covid-19 test samples was found by a member of the public on a road in the Highlands.

The samples were being taken from Caithness General Hospital in Wick to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, according to a statement from NHS Highland.

The bag was found by a member of the public on the A9 near Tain and taken to a local police station.

The health board has said it will investigate how the bag managed to end up on the road.

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An NHS Highland spokesman said: “We can confirm that samples being transported from Caithness General Hospital in Wick to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness were found on the A9 near Tain.

“The samples were handed in to the local police station and are now with the laboratory team at Raigmore.

“We are investigating how this could have happened to ensure this will not happen again and would like to reassure everyone that at no point was there a danger to the public from these samples.

“They were packed properly and remained intact.

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“We are very grateful to the gentleman who handed the box of samples to the police.”

Young and unemployed ‘most affected by feeling hopeless’

A survey found that certain groups have been more affected than others during the pandemic.

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Feeling hopeless: Young people and unemployed most affected.

Young adults and the unemployed have been disproportionately affected by feelings of hopelessness during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to new research.

A survey of 2004 adults by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland found that as the pandemic has progressed, certain vulnerable groups are being more severely affected than others.

The research, carried out between June 18 to 26, found one quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds said they felt hopeless as a result of the pandemic in the two weeks prior to the survey.

Those who are unemployed are also being seriously affected by feelings of hopelessness, with 25% of that group also saying they have struggled.

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A total of 26% of those with pre-existing mental health issues said they felt hopeless in the two weeks prior to the survey.

In comparison, one in seven (16%) adults over the age of 24 have experienced feelings of hopelessness.

Lee Knifton, director of Mental Health Foundation Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: “What the research shows is that even as lockdown is easing, millions are still struggling. Overall, about one in seven people in Scotland are experiencing of hopelessness.

“But dig down a bit deeper into the research and you find that we’re not all in this together. Some are particularly vulnerable.

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“In particular, our research showed that young adults, people with existing mental health problems and unemployed people are struggling more than the rest of the population as a whole.

“It’s clear the pandemic remains a much more devastating experience for certain groups That is why we need to urgently see a whole-government mental health response and recovery plan.”

However, the research found levels of anxiety and worry have fallen, down from 64% at the beginning of lockdown in March to 49% in the last survey at the end of June.

Mr Knifton said that is good news, but it must not obscure the fact vulnerable groups are still struggling.

He added: “The Scottish and UK governments must respond to their needs, and take an all-government approach.

“Intervention is needed urgently to prevent many people’s current mental distress from escalating into tragic consequences.

“This research clearly identifies where some of those areas of most need are – including young adults and people with existing mental health problems.”


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