At Ran­dom Bid worth back­ing

The Oban Times - - DISTRICTS - MARTIN LAING mlaing@oban­times.co.uk

Use­less lead­ers

Yvonne MacHugh is an en­tirely ad­mirable young woman who has fought re­lent­lessly to have her fi­ance, Billy Irv­ing, freed from a prison cell in In­dia.

As the fourth an­niver­sary of Billy’s night­mare ap­proaches, Yvonne is again try­ing to per­suade our flac­cid United King­dom govern­ment to get its fin­ger out and do some­thing – any­thing – to help him.

Oh, there have been fine words from For­eign Sec­re­tary Boris John­son and Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May but th­ese politi­cians have been use­less.

For­mer para­trooper Billy was jailed af­ter be­ing con­victed of firearms of­fences while work­ing to pro­tect ship­ping from pi­rates in the In­dian Ocean. The ves­sel he was aboard strayed ac­ci­den­tally into In­dian ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters.

Our supine lead­ers at West­min­ster have been found ut­terly want­ing in try­ing to help Billy. Now Yvonne has ar­ranged for their son, tod­dler Wil­liam, to hand in a pe­ti­tion at Down­ing Street de­mand­ing ac­tion from the For­eign Of­fice when they travel to Lon­don on Oc­to­ber 12.

We have high­lighted the plight of Billy, Yvonne and Wil­liam on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions, so it is scan­dalous that still noth­ing has been done by our govern­ment.

Rest as­sured, we will con­tinue to keep a spot­light firmly shin­ing on this trou­bling is­sue.

Scrum down

So, the lads who make up Jura Rugby Foot­ball Club played their first game back at the start of the sum­mer.

As we re­ported last week, it only took them some 30 years from first moot­ing the idea of form­ing a club to ac­tu­ally scrum­ming down.

Rugby is a won­der­ful sport and it’s great news that so many peo­ple on the is­land have col­lab­o­rated to make the game pos­si­ble, from the ho­tel which al­lowed them to play on its land, to the do­na­tion of posts and the sup­ply­ing of smart new strips.

The ad­di­tion of the rugby club is a boost to Jura and those be­hind it are to be com­mended. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t take an­other 30 years un­til the next match.

Star qual­ity

Bumped into Paul Bran­ni­gan last week in the Oban Inn.

For those of you who don’t know him, Paul is an ac­tor, per­haps best known as the star of the bril­liantly comic film, The An­gels’ Share. He was also in Sun­shine on Leith.

Much to my good lady’s ex­treme em­bar­rass­ment, I asked Paul for the aw­ful selfie pub­lished here.

He could not have been more ac­com­mo­dat­ing or pleas­ant, even in­sist­ing on a sec­ond photo be­cause he didn’t think the first one was good enough.

It’s great to dis­cover how down to earth and charm­ing some of our stars can be. BID4Oban, the busi­ness or­gan­i­sa­tion, is seek­ing sup­port from en­trepreneurs across the town for a sec­ond term.

The com­pany has drawn up a busi­ness plan for the next five years and is urg­ing peo­ple in the busi­ness com­mu­nity to vote to ap­prove it. Given the ster­ling work done by BID4Oban dur­ing its first five years, this is an ap­peal def­i­nitely worth sup­port­ing.

From the won­der­ful town am­bas­sadors (Kay MacDon­ald and Joe Re­ich), to the in­stal­la­tion of 700 hang­ing bas­kets across the town, the en­hance­ment of the Christ­mas lights, the great fire­works dis­plays in Novem­ber and Hog­manay, and count­less other ini­tia­tives, the team thor­oughly de­serve a yes vote.

But there is a dead­line so I would urge all in­volved to make sure they get their vote in and back BID4Oban.

What do you think?

WRITE to me at mlaing@oban­times.co.uk or The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4 HB.

Deputy ed­i­tor Martin Laing with ac­tor Paul Bran­ni­gan in the Oban Inn last Wed­nes­day evening.

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