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Safety must be our top priority
Sir – Given the interest in CalMac Ferries disabled access policy in these pages recently, I thought it might be useful to provide some clarification.
We have well-established procedures to make passengers with mobility issues journey as comfortable as possible within the context of the overall safety of the ship.
These have not changed, the established procedure has been published as part of our terms and conditions for at least 10 years.
Our vessels carry a variety of passenger cars, other passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles with some sailings carrying dangerous goods. It is therefore necessary for us to apply a consistent policy to vehicle deck operations to ensure that safe operations are maintained.
We will try, where we possibly can, to make suitable arrangements for passengers if they require to remain in their vehicle due to mobility problems when they simply turn up to board the vessel. However, passengers are not generally permitted on deck during the passage and the decision on whether there is an exception to this rests with the vessel’s Master alone depending on the circumstances.
For instance if dangerous goods such as petrol, and diesel tankers or other fuel containers are already booked on board, then no one is allowed to remain on deck during the passage. There are exceptions to this made for medical emergencies.
If a passenger with mobility issues who needs to remain in their car on deck turns up to board a sailing without advising us in advance and dangerous goods are being carried, they will be advised to wait for the next available sailing. That is why it is important that we have advance notice so no one is inconvenienced unnecessarily.
Forty eight hours in advance may seem excessive notice, but dangerous goods need to be booked with us 24 hours in advance. This means we need to know before we book any dangerous goods, if a passenger with mobility issues will be travelling on that particular service, allowing us to book the dangerous goods on to another sailing.
If there has been a breakdown in communications between what customers are being told by port staff and what our policy is, that is something I will look at to ensure all staff are fully aware of the terms and conditions for carrying passengers with mobility issues.
We work closely with disability groups on ways of improving our service standards and will continue to monitor how effective our systems are on this route.
I would like to apologise to any passengers who have been inconvenienced by receiving contradictory information. – Yours, etc.,
Area Manager (South)
CalMac Ferries Ltd
Memorable day of community spirit
Sir, – I am again indebted to you for allowing me space within your columns to thank all who made the Queen’s 90th birthday street party such a resounding success.
From the embryonic idea of my wife Fiona, the initial meeting of our small committee comprising Ralph Anderson, Sue Brooks, Fiona and myself, we were joined by Duncan and Janie McAlister, Jim Bicker and Douglas Lyle, whose combined expertise put together a remarkable spectacle for the town.
We were graced by excellent weather and exceptional talent from many of our island’s musicians: Bute Community Band, from the Academy The Red-Hearted Vibes, Layla Templeton and Beth Swan, from Bute Primary Schools a marvellous choir, Bute Ceilidh Band, Ballianlay Choir, Daniel Sweet, Rothesay and District Pipe Band. Anne McIlroy’s School of Dance thrilled the large audience with their tremendous display of Highland Dancing.
The event was expertly compered by Jim Bicker and Douglas Lyle, who rounded off proceedings with a mini “Big Dougie’s Party”.
My thanks are also extended to the organisations who supported the event: the Rotary Club of Rothesay partnered The Lieutenancy of Argyll and Bute to host the celebrations; Cancer Research UK, Lighting up Bute, The Kidney Dialysis Group, McMillan Cancer
Care, The British Legion, Lighting up Bute and Calum’s Cabin contributed to the enjoyment of the day with their various stalls; Bute Highland Games and members of the Rotary Club set up and dismantled the hardware required for the day.
Local businesses contributed where necessary.
I am indebted to George Hanson for putting up bunting and lending safety barriers; to John and Elaine McKirdy of J. McKirdy, Hauliers, whose large trailer provided the stage for the occasion; to
Donnie McArthur of Buckeridge Installations for Electrical Equipment, to Jimmy Duncan of W&J Duncan for transporting and storing equipment.
Duncan McAlister martialled a great group of helpers, with Kenny Barbie deserving a special mention for his hard work over the weekend.
Steve Thornton worked tirelessly on Sound to ensure our performers were heard across the Square.
There are not enough superlatives to thank John McMillan of Greenan Mill and his family, who started the day in right royal fashion by transporting our Lord Lieutenant, his wife, Fiona and I to the town centre in his magnificent horse-drawn carriage led by his splendid champion Clydesdale Horses – a memory we will cherish for many a long year.
Contributions and advice from Argyll and Bute Council and Police Scotland ensured that everything ran smoothly, particularly from local
representatives of each
Finally, to all those who attended the party led by Provost and Mrs Len Scoullar along with the Council’s chief executive, Mr Cleland Sneddon, my heartfelt gratitude.
Much has been reported in The Buteman over recent months on the way forward to regenerate our economy.
I would suggest that if we can build on the community spirit clearly evident on this special occasion and focus on the great attributes of our island and its inhabitants then we would go a long way to achieving our aims.
Many thanks to everyone involved and happy birthday Your Majesty! – Yours, etc.,
W. Stewart Shaw
Depute Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute
Thanks for your vital support
Sir, – On behalf of the Scottish Cot Death Trust, I would like to pass on our thanks and appreciation for a recent donation of £40, which we have received from the nurses at the Victoria Hospital, in support of Ellen Cromack’s recent efforts in memory of her granddaughter, Emma.
This kind donation brings Ellen’s final total up to £1285.62 – money raised from her 17- mile sponsored walk in February.
We very much appreciate Ellen’s hard work and thank everyone who supported her, and in turn the work of the Scottish Cot Death Trust.
This money will really help us make a difference throughout Scotland.
There is one cot death every nine days in Scotland.
We are the only Scottish charity dedicated to raising awareness of cot death, funding research in a bid to discover why cot deaths occur, educating professionals and supporting families who have been devastated by the loss of a baby to cot death.
With less than three per cent of our annual income coming from the Government you can understand why your continued support is so important to us.
Your kind donation really will go a huge way towards our vital work and we cannot thank you enough.
Thank you once again from the team at the Scottish Cot Death Trust. – Yours, etc.,
Lynne Mackenzie, Community Fundraiser
Scottish Cot Death Trust