A gift that just gives

LOOKING for a pretty unique Christmas gift? Then look no further than buying family and/or friends a ticket for the ambitious concert being put on by the full Farmers Choir, at the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, on Sunday, February 23.

By purchasing tickets before the end of the year you can qualify for an 'early-bird rate', with prices starting at £20.

Supported by the Wiseman Family Charitable Trust, this concert is being held to raise funds for a Maggies Centre in Dumfries-shire. Maggie's Centres provide practical, emotional and social support to complement the excellent medical treatment that the NHS provides for cancer sufferers, but they cost around £590,000 each per year to run.

The Raider understands that a whole raft of new songs are being rehearsed specially for the concert by the 100-or so choristers, which range in age from their 20s to their 80s. I can also report that the choir just gets better and better and they've come such a long way from starring at the SAYFC's 75th anniversary celebrations in November, 2013 – even the boys are getting quite good!

This is an ambitious project for the choir as the concert hall can hold almost 2500 – so get behind the team, you won't be disappointed.


Getting well Buckled!

GETTING buckled with the Buckles family is an annual event for Beltex breeders at their shoot on a pre-Christmas Saturday – and there are many told and untold tales from it!

The latest involved Neale McQuiston, from New Luce, who managed to catch a lift from Carlisle to the 'event' with Jim Kennedy, from Maybole, on the Friday night after a busy sales day at Borderway.

A rather heavy night on Friday was followed by a great shoot on Saturday and, as Jim was heading for the Tarff Christmas party in Ayr, himself and Neale left for home immediately after the shooting finished!

However, on arriving back at Carlisle, on Saturday night, to retrieve Neale's pick-up, they were met with closed security gates at Borderway – which put a spoke in his plans to get home.

After a good few attempts at calling the number on the gate, they got an answer from the key holder, who lived in Gretna but on this occasion was visiting friends in Dumfries. The Raider understands that a lot of begging and grovelling, plus the offer of some folding money, was necessary to make him want to return to Carlisle and open the gates!

About an hour later, the keeper of the keys arrived to release Neale’s pickup – rumour has it that it cost the price of a good Airyolland tup to keep the key holder sweet! One wonders if Neale's wife, Janet, was informed of why he returned home with a lighter than usual wallet!

Hope for Gorgie City Farm

The once highly popular city farm at Gorgie may yet rise from the ashes after it ran into financial trouble.

Three charities are bidding to take over the site in Edinburgh and a successful plan is expected to be given the green light in January.

The farm went into liquidation in November, with the loss of 18 jobs, though a skeleton staff remains on site to care for the animals. While a Save Gorgie Farm Gofundmepage has closed after reaching a target of £100,000, the new farm would be created on the site with a new name.

But the public won't get access to the farm straight away and any new owners will have to operate initially without council funding as they have missed the deadline to apply.

Gorgie City Farm was a working farm with about 50 pets and 50 livestock which were slaughtered with the meat then sold at the on-site cafe.

One of the bidders to run the farm is the Cyrenians charitable organisation, which said it was 'working alongside Royal Highland Agriculture Society of Scotland' amongst others to help find a way forward for the City Farm.