Kirsty Ewen Wins Prestigious Award

Adding to the successes of Kirsty Ewen from Inverness, the Volunteer swimming coach who has trained young swimmers across the North, Highlands & Islands Regional MSP, David Stewart, has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament congratulating her on winning the unsung hero award at last night’s Sports Personality of the Year Award. Kirsty has already won this year’s Volunteer of the Year at the Sport Scotland Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards 2018.

 

David Stewart speaking today said ” Kirsty is an inspiration to us all. She has overcome mental health issues and helped so many others through her passion for swimming and coaching in this sport for over 12 years now. Last night she did the nation proud as she was awarded the Sports Personality Unsung Hero Award at Birmingham. What a role model, well done Kirsty. I felt the least I could do was recognise the passion, drive and determination of Kirsty by tabling a motion within the Scottish Parliament.

 

Ends

 

Motion Number: S5M-15168

Lodged By: David Stewart

Date Lodged: 17/12/2018

 

Title: Kirsty Ewen

 

Motion Text:

That the Parliament Congratulates Kirsty Ewen, who is from Inverness, on being presented with the unsung hero award at 2018 Sports Personality of the Year Awards; recognises what it sees as the drive, determination and endeavour shown by Kirsty to overcome mental health issues by coaching swimmers across the Highlands for over 12 years; notes that she is also a member of the Sports Scotland Young People’s Sports Panel and was named Volunteer of the year at the 2018 Sports Scotland Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards; acknowledges her drive and passion to help others through her volunteering and coaching; believes that Kirsty is an inspiration and role model, and wishes her the very best.

 

Tyre Safety

 

Highlands & Islands (including Moray) Regional MSP and road safety campaigner, David Stewart has taken this opportunity to highlight the importance of tyre safety.

 

“Your vehicles tyres are the only part of the vehicle which actually touch the road surface. Acceleration, braking, steering and cornering all depend on your tyres and their contact with the road, that is how important they are,” said David Stewart.

 

“The law indicates that to be legal there must be a minimum of 1.6mm of tread across the central ¾ of the tyre and around the circumference.”

 

“Here is a tip for checking your tyre tread depth if you do not have a gauge. You take a 20pence piece and place it within the tread. If you can see the outer rim of the coin, then the tyre is approaching the legal limit and you should seriously consider replacing it,” he said.

 

“In winter, good tyre depth is as important as ever. I cannot emphasise this point enough. I ask Motorists to please check their vehicle tyres now and make sure they are legal. ”

 

“I have come up with the pneumonic ‘TREAD’ to highlight my message. If you have tyres with a good tread and grip you reduce you chance of losing traction, control and a collision.

 

T-tyre safety

R-reduces risks of

E-everyday

A-accidents and even

D-death

 

 

MSP takes up concerns of defibrillator group

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman is being asked about the ‘shambolic’ system of registering community defibrillators after an MSP heard the concerns of a Highland campaign group.
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart met with the volunteers from the Caithness Defibrillator Campaign Group who told him there was currently no legislation covering the registration, proper governance, maintenance and storage requirements for the life-saving equipment.
The group’s Chairman, Billy Mitchell explained: “When you buy a car it must be registered before you can drive it away and it must have regular checks to prove road worthiness as a legal requirement.
“But there is no legal requirement for an owner to register a vital life-saving device such as an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) or for any checks to be carried out. These devices may be used on members of the public and members of the public should be confident that they are registered and well maintained as they are a vital link in the chain of survival.”
Mr Stewart, who is also Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, said: “I was really impressed by the work of this keen community group and believe volunteers raised very valid points about how this equipment is registered and the need for changes to help save more lives, especially in remote and rural areas.
“I am more than happy to take up their points with the Health Secretary and the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) to see where we can go from here.”
Mr Stewart has also written to Stagecoach and Scotrail/Abellio asking if they would consider putting defibrillators on trains and buses, another issue raised by the campaign group.
The group, which launched this year with Caithness Heart Support Group and the Community Heartbeat Trust, set out to map all AEDs in the Caithness area and had completed roadshows highlighting the importance of registering defibrillators and the importance of regular checks being carried out.
Mr Stewart was told that the group discovered AEDs being placed outside in unsuitable cabinets, with no heater to keep the device at an appropriate temperature and full of dead flies and insects.
Key pieces such as the pads were out of date, there was no record of keeping checks and batteries had not been changed. Communities gifted an AED were sometimes given no guidance, help or advice on how to operate and run them.
The group also told Mr Stewart that when someone calls 999 and the ambulance establishes that it is a cardiac arrest, the service will not send someone for an AED if it is outwith a 150m radius of the incident.
“I have asked Pauline Howie, the Chief Executive of SAS, about this rule which does seem inappropriate for a rural area where there are sometimes long distances between emergency medical help,” said Mr Stewart.
Mr Mitchell added: “We would like to see AEDs on trains and buses on journeys to Inverness as they travel to out of the way places and some stations are unmanned.
“At the same time, we are also keen to encourage more signage directing the public to the nearest AED.
“In 2017 a Bill was presented to Parliament which would have made defibrillators compulsory in schools, leisure centres, sports centres and major public places, but due to the 2017 election the Defibrillator (Availability) Bill was tabled but never became law. The group is disappointed that this never became law. However, we hope to present evidence to the Public Petitions Committee.”

* Photo one David Stewart with Chairman Billy Mitchell
* Photo two Back row: volunteers Willie Marshall, Bob Bell and Kay Rosie
Front row: Chairman Billy Mitchell, David Stewart and Ron Gunn

NC500

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP, David Stewart took the opportunity at the Scottish Parliament yesterday (28th November)  to ask at Questions on Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, what assessment the Government had made of the impact of the North Coast 500 on tourism and infrastructure, and how best the route can be used to develop these.

 

Responding for the Government, Ben MacPherson, MSP, advised that HIE were Chairing a working group who were looking at all surrounding issues of the NC500. A report commissioned in 2017 evidenced that business trade was up 10-20% and an increase of around 200 jobs. He advised that another impact assessment would be undertaken in December 2018.

 

David Stewart said ” There is no doubt that the NC 500 has brought an economic boom to the North West Highlands with 30,000 extra visitors coming and the economy itself benefitting from near £9m. However, balance is the key word here. Those concerned in this issue have to make sure there is the infrastructure in place to meet the demand. This means adequate sanitation facilities, adequate roads structure, adequate accommodation facilities and of course a satisfactory traffic and roads management system. I hope the working group look closely at these issues in December.