Local Events


Prayer vigil for victims of Tunisian shootings

Tunisia FlagIn response to the PMs call for a minute silence this Friday, Maxwelltown West Church of Scotland is opening their doors to the public on Friday morning, for people to come and spend some time in quiet reflection and prayer, for all those affected by the tragic shooting in Tunisia. The Church, at Laurieknowe, Dumfries, will be open from 11.30am and will mark the national one minute silence at 12noon.

“Everyone is welcome to find a place of quiet and peace interspersed with readings and prayers. It is a fitting way to remember those 38 individuals murdered in the terrorist attack on 26th June and to mark the minute’s silence.”, says Max West Minister, Rev. Dave Sutherland who has organised the event.

Gathering of the Clans charity show

GatheringSolway Vehicle Enthusiasts Club recently held its second Annual Weekend Show at Park Farm, Dumfries. Despite a few periods of inclement weather, particularly during Sunday, the Club enjoyed another successful event. A wide range of exhibitor’s vehicles were on display and a significant number of very knowledgeable spectators attended over the two days of the show.

Hugh Turner, President of the Club, said: “The Club is delighted at the success of our second Annual Show which has surpassed our expectations. We have been in existence for a relatively short period of time and with the sponsorship of local business, particularly Paul Williamson at Croma Vigilant Security, the Club has established itself in the vanguard of similar styled clubs. This achievement has provided a twofold benefit in satisfying the aspirations of our members and supporters and giving us the ability to continue our stated mission of donating to local charities and organisations.”

Nepal Earthquake Appeal

decAll of us at Alive are stunned by the extent of the devastation as a result of the earthquake in Nepal earlier the week. With a confirmed death toll of 3,000 and rising, we urge you to donate to the appeal. Many charities’ efforts are coordinated by the Disaters Emergency Committee, and you can give directly to them via: dec.org.uk

Please give generously! Thank you.

Alive Local Election Debate – listen again

Election Debale listen againIf you missed the live local debate on the 23rd April, you can listen to the whole show here. The event was hosted by Lee Medd, before a live audience in Kings Coffee and Books, in Dumfries. The four main parties were represented as follows:

SNP: Richard Arkless
Labour: Russell Brown
Conservative: Finlay Carson
Liberal Democrat: Andrew Metcalf

Listen again here … and the debate continues: #alivedebate

Live broadcast election hustings – join the live audience on 23rd April

Election 2015Join the audience in Kings Coffee and Books, 12 Queensberry Street, Dumfries DG1 1EX, for a live election debate, with all the main parties represented by local candidates.

The broadcast goes live at 7.30pm on Thursday 23rd April, but we’re looking for a studio audience to be in place by 7pm.

The event is ticketed, but free, and we ask that you declare your political allegience, in order to keep the audience balanced. You will need to reserve a ticket in advance, to be admitted.

To request your ticket, go to http://localelectiondebate.eventbrite.com

To submit a question, email Lee Medd: [email protected]

Local author, Graham Smith, turns to crime!

Graham Smith at workGraham Smith has been hard at work writing two new crime fiction books. Mark Smith (no relation!) popped in to have a word about his forthcoming book launch this Thursday, 19th March in Waterstones, Carlisle. You can hear the interview during Mark’s Wednesday Drivetime show this week.

After a long day in the office in The Mill hotel and wedding venue, there’s nothing Graham likes better than to relax with his laptop in the lounge of the Smith family home near Kirkpatrick Fleming and write crime fiction.

“The telly might be on”, says Graham, “but my mind is in another world”. You could call it escapism but for Graham it’s become a way of life, since he took up writing as a hobby in 2010. “I just had the stories inside me”, he explained, “and after a few false starts, I started to get something a publisher thought worthy of being published”.

His interest in crime fiction began as an avid reader, then progressed to writing reviews for CrimeSquad.com, a highly popular website for the genre. He’s well connected across a wide spectrum – friends with best-selling NY Times authors as well as up and coming unknown writers. Chatting with some big names in the field has given him confidence to get going; “Get it written then get it right” has become is his maxim.

‘Snatched from Home’ is a story of middle-class parents Victoria and Nicholas Foulkes, who’s children are kidnapped against Nicholas’ gambling debts. They don’t have any money, so turn to crime as a way to raise the ransom. Recently bereaved DI Harry Evans is fighting against enforced retirement and his replacement is waiting in the wings. If he must leave the police then he wants one last big case before he goes, so in a race against time Victoria and Nicholas try to evade the police and collect a ransom fund. The kidnappers have threatened to amputate their children’s limbs with an oxy-acetylene torch if they don’t pay up on time. Can they save their children before time runs out? Read the book to find out!

His other recent book, Major Crimes Team vol 1, is already out now, and follows the wider activities of DI Harry Evans and his Cumbria based squad in and around Carlisle and the Lakes.

He has more novels and drafts in the pipeline, including a sequel to Snatched from Home and a brand new series based in Utah, featuring a Glaswegian bouncer who ends up chasing after a serial killer.

Graham draws inspiration from local characters and colleagues around Gretna Green and Kirkpatrick Fleming, but assured me that all his actual characters are fictional!

Published by Caffeine Nights, both books will be available at the launch of Snatched from Home this Thursday in Waterstones, Carlisle at 6.30pm. He’ll also be signing his books in Dumfries Waterstones on Saturday 21st March from 12-2pm.


A further weekend of informal public consultation is taking place on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st September at Moat Brae, George Street, Dumfries from 12 noon to 4pm.
Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the ‘Birthplace of Peter Pan’ is welcome to visit to see the latest proposals for the house and its ‘enchanted’ garden.
The heritage site at Moat Brae is due to open as an international visitor attraction and centre for children’s literature and storytelling in 2017, having been saved from demolition in 2009.

The open days have been running since early Spring, giving local people and tourists of all ages opportunities to see ‘behind the scenes’ at a significant stage in the revival of this important building. Visitors are encouraged to look around the house to see what has been
achieved and to find out about its history through the ages: as a grand family home in Georgian times; the inspirational Victorian childhood playground of world-renowned playwright JM Barrie; a C20th private nursing home and, latterly, as a derelict and decaying
building which was saved from demolition by the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust.

Dame Barbara Kelly, Chairman of the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust said: “Over 1,200 people have already taken part in our informal consultation process on site, contributing their ideas, expertise and suggestions. There has been overwhelming support for our proposals and we hope that many more people will join us to find out for themselves about the plans we have to create a fabulous new visitor attraction for the town and the region.”

For more information about the tours visit www.peterpanmoatbrae.org

Hit The Road Tour – Jacob & Rory Green, Lewis Capaldi and Zoe Bestel

Hit The Road are back in Dumfries again, this time at the Brigend Theatre next Friday (26th September).
Local lass Zoë Bestel – Singer/Songwriter will be appearing, along with Jacob & Rory Green from Lochaber and Lewis Capaldi from West Lothian.

Hit The Road is a youth music project created by Glasgow’s Scottish Music Centre providing young musicians aged 14-19 years old the opportunity to learn about the live industry before performing on a professionally managed tour across Scotland.The project is funded by Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative (YMI) and The Big Lottery Fund. Former success stories include Model Aeroplanes, Eilidh Hadden and The Mermaids. The acts have recently completed pre-production with Davie Scott (The Pearlfishers, BMX Bandits) and his team of tutors in Glasgow and are looking forward to getting out on tour.
They will also visit The Mash House in Edinburgh on the 27th September and Sugar & Spice in Fort William on the 28th September.

You can get tickets for the Dumfries gig via this link (FREE until Monday 21st September!):

Zoe Bestel

Zoe Bestel


A three dimensional portrayal of Wigtown’s buildings, landscape and people is being created for the town’s international book festival.

The colourful project, called Wee Wigtown, is being carried out by Anupa Gardner, who has been awarded the Spring Fling x Wigtown Book Festival Residency 2014/15. The “town-within-a-town” will consist of 11 large panels, up to 2.5m wide, which festivalgoers can walk between to gradually discover more about the area.Anupa said: “It shows the buildings and streets, the cherry trees, the blue hills, the harbour and all the other things which make Wigtown so special. It has been created using recycled materials donated by residents, and it even incorporates plants and earth from the town.“It has a very playful element and I hope people will have fun walking between the panels and discovering all sorts of different places and features.“We will also be playing recordings of local people talking about what makes Wigtown so special to them – the things and places they value like the County Buildings and the Martyr’s Stake.”Visitors will be able to add to the work by writing down what Wigtown means to them and having their words incorporated into the panels.Based in Edinburgh but originally from India, Anupa describes her work as a response to her surroundings which comes from her interest in people’s stories and their relationships with places. The huge portrait will be displayed in the town’s Bowling Pavilion during the festival and Anupa will be on hand to talk to visitors.

Adrian Turpin, Director of Wigtown Book Festival, said: “We loved the idea behind Anupa’s proposal to create a portrayal of Wigtown using contributions from local people and festival goers.

“Wigtown Book Festival is very much rooted within the community and Anupa’s model will reflect this. We’re also delighted to be working so closely with Spring Fling again for the sixth time.”

Previous residents have included Astrid Jaekel, papercut artist; Deirdre Nelson, textile artist; and Joanne Kaar, grass weaver and artist. The residency has gathered momentum as the book festival and Spring Fling, which is Scotland’s premier contemporary visual art and craft open studios event, continue to grow. This year the residency attracted 55 applicants from across the world.Leah Black, Director of Spring Fling said: “Anupa’s work is a real delight and this project is very different from anything we’ve seen in Wigtown before.“As well as taking part in the book festival she will also have studio space at next year’s Spring Fling so will have a chance to engage with even more visitors.”

Several other Spring Fling artists are taking part in this year’s book festival:

  • Photographers Morag Paterson and Ted Leeming will talk about their project and book Zero Footprint. This involved taking photos from precisely the same spot in their hillside studio over the space of four years.
  • Printmaker Lisa Hooper will talk about her journey from career conservationist to celebrated bird artist, using images and vignettes from her new book, First Impressions.
  • Helen Ryman will encourage others help her in her mission to paint the festival’s largest oil painting.
  • Children aged 7–11 year are invited to turn their stories and illustrations into magical trinkets in a workshop with jeweller Joanne Garner.
  • Ailsa Black will run an illustration and card-making workshop.

Last year’s artist in residence, Astrid Jaekel, is also coming back to Wigtown Book Festival 2014. Her WigtownPeep Boards project will match each bookshop in Scotland’s National Book Town with an international book town.Anupa Gardner 03


PennyHumphreysEmergence is the first showcase of creative works by an illustrator and two photographers who are now making the time to revisit a number of creative techniques and skills that fired their imaginations in the first place.

Having spent a considerable number of years as college lecturers the notion of exhibiting their own works was well overdue and the formation of the AMO3BA collective has allowed them to prepare a series of works, most of which are connected by the theme of landscape.

Penny Humphreys has primarily worked in pencil, venturing into acrylics for this series of vibrant, stylised landscapes that convey the changing light and seasonal colours that reflect the natural ambience and character of the Solway coast.

Ricky Nolan and Alan Bennington’s landscape photography share similarities in terms of mood and tone but the techniques that created the final images are significantly different. The photographic images have been created from a range of film and digital medias in darkrooms and digital suites, through hand-colouring and handmade hybrids. All prints were then prepared on museum quality archive papers.

The exhibition will run at The Art Room within The Old School, Brooke Street, Dumfries from Saturday 20th September – Saturday 11th October 2014, including an opening celebration on the first day from 12 – 2pm when you will have the chance to meet the artists. All welcome!