January 2019

Burns' legacy could create extra jobs

At a time of the year when national bard Robert Burns is very much in the spotlight I'm delighted to see ambitious plans for a major tourism attraction at his farm at Ellisland, north of Dumfries.

The concept of returning the house and steadings to how they looked when Burns built them and lived there with his family for a period from 1788 is a good one.

Proposed facilities like a visitor centre / museum together with cafe would enhance the offering.

I wish the Ellisland trustees and other supporters every success in reaching their £10 million funding target to make the most of this important 150-acre location and create local employment.

Robert Burns remains part of our region's life and culture and with his worldwide following provides opportunities to enhance our increasingly important tourism sector.


Celebrating Bard at PM's famous home

Still on a Burns theme, it was a privilege to join many Scottish colleagues and many other guests from north of the border at the Prime Minister's Burns Supper at 10 Downing Street on Monday evening.

It was good to listen to some excellent speakers in such an iconic setting together with appropriate music provided by a piper from the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra and London-based Scottish singer Katy Thomson.

As the Prime Minister stated, the event was not purely a celebration of Robert Burns but the proud culture of all Scotland.


Protecting south west beauty spots

One of the many volunteer - driven initiatives in Dumfries and Galloway to have impressed me over the last year is the work of DG Eco Warriors.

As well as raising awareness of plastic pollution and other environmental issues they have held very successful beach cleans at beautyspots along the Solway Coast.

They have just celebrated their first anniversary gathering numerous sacks of rubbish from the shore at Powfoot last weekend and next month they plan to hold a clean-up at my constituency at scenic Rascarrel Bay, near Auchencairn.

Details of events are posted on the DG Eco Warriors website and I wish them more power to their elbows!