Plumber to run from Hampden to Wembley in time for match

Alex Woodward decided to take on the charity challenge following a cancer scare in August last year.

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A plumber from Bothwell, South Lanarkshire, has set off on an epic journey to run from Hampden to Wembley in time to see Scotland take on England during their Euros clash.

Alex Woodward, 26, will run 15 marathons in 15 days to raise money to build a football centre in the east end of Glasgow. 

Covering a total of 390 miles, Alex hopes to finish his challenge in time to watch Scotland take on England at Wembley. 

“Football has always been a massive part of my life and the fact I can tie in my passion for running and my passion for football is a dream for me,” he said.  

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Alex was inspired to take on the challenge after a difficult period last year saw him diagnosed with a tumour followed by a cancer scare.

Although he found out he was cancer free, he may still need surgery to remove the tumour which could see him lose the use of his right leg. 

“Last August I was diagnosed with a tumour in a nerve in my lower back and I went through a 12-week period not knowing if I had cancer,” he said.

“Once I found out it wasn’t cancer, they told me there’s a good chance I might not be able to walk again.”

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Alex said that his mental health was affected during this period, and says his running challenge represents the physical and mental obstacles he faced last year. 

Kindhearted Alex wants to use his battle to help others, and is hoping to raise £50,000 for a community football centre in Glasgow. 

“Rather than just do it for the sake of my own personal battle, I want to do it to help the community of Glasgow,” he said. 

Alex says the “once in a lifetime” opportunity to see Scotland play England will keep him motivated during the challenge. 

And while he joked that he might be hobbling over the finish line rather than running, he says completing the challenge will be one of the best moments of his life. 

“It will probably be one of the best moments of my life, seeing all my family there, all my friends there and fingers crossed we will have reached our donation target,” he said.

“That’s what it’s all about.”

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Friends and family hope that June 18 will see a win for both Scotland and Alex at Wembley.


Swimmer Duncan Scott makes history at Tokyo Olympics

The Scot is the first British athlete to win four medals at a single Olympics.

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Superstars: Luke Greenbank, Duncan Scott, James Guy and Adam Peaty.

Swimmer Duncan Scott is the first British athlete to win four medals at a single Olympics.

While Scott made history, Adam Peaty and James Guy were unable to collect their third golds of Tokyo 2020 after the United States secured top spot in the men’s 4×100m medley relay.

Peaty said the “pain” he feels at settling for silver shows how much progress Great Britain has made in the pool in the last decade.

It took a world record time to beat the 2019 world championship-winning Team GB quartet of Luke Greenbank, Peaty, Guy and Scott as the Americans clocked 3:26.78 seconds at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

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Britain finished 0.73secs adrift at 3:27:51 in a new European record time as they claimed a record eighth swimming medal – four golds, three silvers and a bronze – beating their previous best haul from the 1908 London Games.

They were unable to win a race at London 2012 while Peaty was their only gold medallist at Rio four years later, so the 26-year-old from Uttoxeter admitted to feeling bittersweet by the result of the final swimming event in Japan.

“I don’t want to take anything away from the American team,” Peaty said.

“They stepped up big time. They knew they had to step up big time. It’s an Olympic silver, people would die for that.

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“We will enjoy it but there is a little bit of pain there. Maybe you need that. Maybe you need that going to Paris (2024).

“Ten years ago we were happy making finals. We aren’t happy making finals any more.

“We are happy doing silver and medalling – that’s the culture that is different now – and that’s part of our success. We are aiming for gold, we are aiming to be the best in the world and dominate the world.

“By the time Paris comes around we are going to develop. A lot of teams are going to look at us. We are always looking for gold and for world records, I’m incredibly proud to be part of this team – it’s history-making.”

Peaty swam the fastest breaststroke split ever in 56.53s to vault Britain from seventh after the backstroke to first by the halfway point, but the vaunted Caeleb Dressel seized the initiative with the best-ever butterfly leg.

Dressel, who bagged his fifth gold of these Games in this race, put in a time of 49.03s to set the stage for Zach Apple to complete the job, with Scott unable to make any inroads in the last freestyle leg.

Dressel, said: “I was telling Adam that I think they bring out the best in us, it’s so fun racing with those guys because you don’t know what you’re going to get. There’s no guaranteed winner.”

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Scott has won gold in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay and silver in the solo event, as well as finishing runner-up in the 200m individual medley, and it was another second spot on the podium as he made British history on Sunday.

He said: “It’s not really hit me what’s happened. Each race I’ve tried to park when it’s done and look forward to the next one. It was important I didn’t bring in any disappointment or get too excited about what’s happened.

“I think the relay culture in Britain is great. There are great medal opportunities. I’ve got to give a massive credit to my teammates.”

A period of rest and recovery now awaits. Asked how they will unwind, Guy joked “a burger and some chips will do me” while Peaty offered a more sobering reflection at how important time away from the pressures of the sport is.

He said: “You’ve got to celebrate, it’s been hard for everyone. We’re not allowed to touch the water for a month now because it is going to be a war of attrition over the next three years.

“You’re seeing it in all sports now. You’re seeing it with Simone Biles, with Ben Stokes, mental health matters and it is about getting the balance right at that elite level. We love to celebrate, and why shouldn’t we?”

Ben Proud earlier finished fifth in the men’s 50m freestyle final won by Dressel in an Olympic record time of 21.07s, while Daniel Jervis also placed fifth in a 1500m freestyle race where Robert Finke of the USA triumphed in 14:39.65.

Commenting on Scott’s historic win, Mel Young, chair of sportscotland, said: “What a sensational result.

“Duncan Scott is now one of the most decorated British Olympians of all time having won four medals in Tokyo – an unparalleled achievement in modern history. He has made the entire country proud.

“His achievements will take a while to sink in but what is clear is this did not happen overnight.

“Duncan is one of the most dedicated athletes around and has put so much hard work into his training along with his coach, his wider support team and everyone at both Scottish Swimming and British Swimming.

“He deserves all the success and praise he is now rightfully receiving.”


First vaccines for vulnerable teens to be ‘completed in August’

The Scottish Government has said it hopes to see first doses of the vaccine given this month

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Vaccine: Vulnerable teens to be jabbed this month.

The Scottish Government is aiming to ensure first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are given to teenagers in certain groups by the end of August.

Two weeks ago, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans to vaccinate some 12-17 year olds, including those with Down’s Syndrome and learning difficulties, or those who are immunosuppressed or live with someone who is.

The change came on the back of a shift in guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and will see an estimated 4000 young people vaccinated.

Now, the Scottish Government has said it hopes to see first doses of the vaccine given this month, with offers to be made before August 16 – when most schools in Scotland return.

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Health secretary Humza Yousaf said: “In line with the latest JCVI advice we will now be offering Covid-19 vaccinations to children and young people aged between 12 and 17 from key groups.

“The programme has always offered vaccine to groups where the benefits far outweigh the risks.

“The research and evidence shows that is the case for young people in these groups and they should now be called forward for a Covid-19 vaccine.

“These children and young people will be able to get the vaccine in the most appropriate setting for their situation. This may be in their own home or a care setting, or at a clinic, depending on their care or health needs.

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“I would urge any parent or carer who has a child or young person eligible for a vaccine to visit NHS Inform where they can find the most up-to-date information; and read the leaflet that they will receive with their letter or from their health board.

“Parents, carers or young people can also speak to their local health professional to discuss this further if they need to.”


‘Government would not stand in way of indyref2 if settled will’

The UK Government has repeatedly rejected requests from the Scottish Government for the powers to hold another vote.

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Gove: Westminster has repeatedly rejected requests for the necessary powers to hold another vote.

The UK Government would not stand in the way of another vote on Scottish independence if it is the “settled will” of voters, Michael Gove has said.

Westminster has repeatedly rejected requests from the Scottish Government for the necessary powers to hold another vote but the Cabinet Office minister said if the public desire a second referendum, “one would occur”.

The comment comes in the wake of a decline in support for independence.

Following around six months of consistent polling showing majority support for separation last year – with one poll going as high as 58% in favour – the tide began to turn at the beginning of 2021.

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The most recent survey by Panelbase for the Sunday Times found 48% of the 1287 respondents supported leaving the UK.

Gove told the Sunday Mail: “The principle that the people of Scotland, in the right circumstances, can ask that question again is there.

“I just don’t think that it is right, and the public don’t think it is right, to ask that question at the moment.

“If it is the case that there is clearly a settled will in favour of a referendum, then one will occur.”

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It is unclear what would convince the UK Government that another vote is the “settled will” of Scots but it could potentially mean positive election results for independence parties or continuous polling in favour for a certain period of time.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said he believed May’s election to be an indicator that the “settled will” of the Scottish people is in favour of independence.

The SNP fell just one seat short of a majority in Holyrood in the election and are currently in talks with the Scottish Greens over an alliance on certain issues.

Blackford said: “It should not be news that the Tories are finally waking up to the fact that the people of Scotland have expressed their democratic wishes in an election that they want their future to be put into their hands.

“The fundamental point Michael Gove missed is that the people of Scotland have spoken and expressed their settled will that they want to hold a referendum when they elected a majority of independence-supporting MSPs to the Scottish Parliament just over two months ago.

“If Boris Johnson continues to ignore the mandate given by the people of Scotland to hold a referendum then he will continue to tell the people of Scotland that their opinion does not matter. That will only push support for independence up.”

Gove also rejected the chance of a third tilt at the leadership of the Conservatives, after failing in 2016 and 2019.

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“Historically, people who have run to be prime minister in the Tory Party and don’t make it don’t subsequently make it,” he said.

“I’ve had two goes and got bronze both times. I don’t think I’ll get the gold medal and I have to recognise that.

“I think Boris will be Prime Minister for a good while yet and there is a crop of younger people coming up who would be much better equipped than me.

“I won’t spoil their future by naming them but there comes a point where you have to recognise you’ve had your shot.”


Tall ship given warm welcome ahead of world expedition

Statsraad Lehmkuhl was met by a flotilla of small boats as it sailed into Lerwick Harbour on Friday night.

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A 107-year-old tall ship was warmly welcomed to Shetland ahead of its upcoming expedition around the world.

Statsraad Lehmkuhl, a Norwegian three-masted barque rigged training vessel, was met by a flotilla of small boats as it sailed into Lerwick Harbour on Friday night.

A group of well-wishers, a jarl squad and musicians also celebrated the ship’s arrival at the pier.

The welcoming was streamed online and broadcast on Norwegian TV.

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The Statsraad Lehmkuhl is now on its way back home after leaving Scottish waters on Saturday.

On August 20, the vessel will set sail on a circumnavigation of the world that is expected to last until April 2023.

The One Ocean Expedition will cover 55,000 nautical miles and visit 36 different ports.

It is part of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development project, which aims to create attention and share knowledge about the crucial role of the ocean in sustainable global development.

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The ship, which is equipped with modern technology, will collect high-quality data of ocean physics, chemistry and biology continuously throughout its voyage.

For more information on Statsraad Lehmkuhl’s expedition, click here.


Woman raped in city lane in early morning sex attack

The 29-year-old was attacked in the early hours of Sunday.

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Lane: Woman attacked in Edinburgh.

Police are investigating after a woman was raped in a city lane.

The 29-year-old was attacked in Edinburgh in the early hours of Sunday morning.

She was at the Union Street end of Broughton Street Lane when the serious sexual assault took place.

A full investigation is now under way as police appeal for anyone with any information regarding the incident to contact them.

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A spokesperson for the force said: “We received a report of a serious sexual assault against a 29-year-old woman at the junction of Broughton Street Lane and Union Street, Edinburgh.

“The incident was reported around 8.45am on Sunday, August 1, and is believed to have happened in the early hours of Sunday morning.

“Enquiries are at an early stage and ongoing. Anyone with information should contact Police Scotland on 101.”


Care-at-home service under fire for lack of Covid-19 testing

The Care Inspectorate unearthed a number of issues at Karma Healthcare.

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Concerns: The Care Inspectorate unearthed a number of issues at Karma Healthcare.

A care-at-home service that looks after more than 200 patients has been slapped with an improvement notice after inspectors discovered staff were not being regularly tested for Covid-19.

It was just one of a variety of issues unearthed at Karma Healthcare by the Care Inspectorate (CI) as the watchdog handed the Gourock, Renfrewshire, service the lowest possible grading of “unsatisfactory”.

As well as a lack of testing, inspectors found staff were putting patients at risk by frequently car sharing when undertaking visits.

And the CI was told around a quarter of staff had not received appropriate training around coronavirus, despite the service having been told to fix this two months before.

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A virtual check-up was carried out in May when Karma Healthcare received an “adequate” grading, but this has now been brought down following the latest findings.

Alongside infection control and prevention problems, there were also serious concerns highlighted around people’s personal care plans and medication practices.

A report released this past week stated: “Regular Covid-19 testing was not being undertaken. 

“We were informed by staff there was a lack of drivers which meant staff frequently car shared when undertaking visits to people. This meant the risk of cross-infection increased among people and staff.

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“We were informed by the management only approximately 75% of staff had received appropriate IPC [infection prevention and control] and Covid-19 training.

“The service had a poor notification history in alerting the CI when there was a suspected or confirmed outbreak.

“Upon the examination of the care plans, we found them to be of poor quality.

“We felt people were at significant risk as they may not always receive the right medication or treatment at the right time.”

There were also concerns highlighted around the service’s recruitment procedures and visiting schedules.

Inspectors found staff had started work with people prior to the manager receiving written references and completed checks.

And there were signs of poor recordkeeping, as inspectors were left unsure if staff were registered with the Scottish Social Services Council.

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Employees also said the quality of induction training was “inadequate”.

The report added: “Staff training in moving and assisting including hoists and catheter care left them unprepared and insufficiently skilled to provide support to people.

“People being supported and their relatives told us sometimes meals were being missed due to the timing of visits. We felt people did not always receive the right support to help them eat.

“We looked at visiting schedules and found some were inaccurate and did not reflect agreed visiting times and the support required. People told us ‘strangers’ turn up to support them and they are unsure of their needs.

“People said male staff had called to support them when they explicitly requested female staff.”

The CI gave Karma Healthcare seven urgent requirements to meet to bring the service up to a suitable standard.

Some of these were due to be met by Monday, July 26, such as the improvement of care plans and testing.

But bosses still have time to bring other areas up to scratch by August 9, such as medication management and infection prevention and control training.

A spokesman for Karma Healthcare said: “Karma Healthcare recognises the deficiencies in performance, which are amplified in the recent findings of the Care Inspectorate report.

“This has led to significant management investment, in terms of resources and time, to rectify and surpass the requirements.

“With the assistance and support of both the Care Inspectorate and the council, we are committed to re-establishing the quality of service our users deserve. It has been acknowledged by both bodies that our carers’ level of commitment is of excellent quality.

“We are striving to ensure that all supporting services and communications with the company meet a comparable standard.”

By local democracy reporter Steph Brawn


Fire on 17th floor of multi-storey flats sparks evacuation

Emergency services were alerted to the fire in Lincoln Avenue, Glasgow, shortly after 4am on Sunday.

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Fire: There have been no reports of any casualties.

Residents had to be evacuated from a multi-storey block of flats in Glasgow as firefighters tackled a blaze on the 17th floor.

Emergency services were alerted to the fire in Lincoln Avenue shortly after 4am on Sunday.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) mobilised nine appliances to the scene and evacuated all those on the 17th and 18th floors while they worked to battle the flames.

The fire has since been extinguished and there have been no reports of any casualties.

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Firefighters remain in attendance.

A SFRS spokeswoman said: “We were alerted at 4.08am on Sunday, August 1 to a reports of a fire within a residential building.

“Operations control mobilised nine fire appliances to Lincoln Avenue, Glasgow, where the fire was affecting the 17th floor of the multi-storey block of flats.

“Residents on the 17th and 18th floors were removed and the fire has been extinguished.

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“There are no casualties and we remain at the scene.”


Man dead after being hit by car as A90 closed for ten hours

The fatal collision, involving a Volkswagen Golf, happened near Boddam, Aberdeenshire, at around 12.05am on Saturday.

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Police: Officers are appealing for witnesses to get in touch.

A man has died after being struck by a car on the A90 in Aberdeenshire.

The fatal collision, involving a white Volkswagen Golf, happened near Boddam at around 12.05am on Saturday.

Emergency services attended, however the 31-year-old pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin have been informed.

A stretch of the A90 was closed in both directions for around ten hours for investigation works.

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Road policing sergeant Craig McNeill said: “Our thoughts are very much with the man’s family at this incredibly difficult time.

“Enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances of the collision.

“I would urge anyone who may have witnessed the crash but has not yet spoken to police to come forward.

“I am particularly keen to speak to anyone who was on the A90 between Peterhead and Longhaven with a dashcam that saw the white VW Golf or male pedestrian prior to the crash as they could help with our investigation.”

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If you have any information, call 101.


In pictures: Rangers in the Champions League group stage

A look back at the last time Rangers reached the Champions League group stages.

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Rangers fans will be hoping to hear the Champions League anthem at Ibrox this season.

Rangers begin their bid to reach the Champions League group stage this week when they take on Swedish title winners Malmo.

It’s been 11 years since the Ibrox side last competed at that level, having been knocked out in the qualifying rounds the following season by… Malmo.

In pictures, here’s a look back at Rangers’ 2010/11 Champions League campaign, which saw them finish third in their group and drop into the Europa League.

Manchester United 0-0 Rangers

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Scotland teammates Lee McCulloch and Darren Fletcher battle during the Old Trafford stalemate.
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Rangers 1-0 Bursaspor

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Steven Naismith pokes home the only goal against the Turkish side at Ibrox.

Rangers 1-1 Valencia

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Maurice Edu puts Rangers ahead with a first-half header at Ibrox.
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Edu gets himself on the scoresheet again – but this time it’s an equaliser for Valencia.

Valencia 3-0 Rangers

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Dejected figures as Rangers lose heavily in Spain.

Rangers 0-1 Manchester United

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Disappointment for Rangers as they’re knocked out of the Champions League.
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Bursaspor 1-1 Rangers

Rangers finished their Champions League campaign with a credible draw in Turkey.

Kenny Miller opened the scoring before the hosts equalised 11 minutes from time.

What happened next?

Rangers knocked out Portuguese giants Sporting on away goals following a 3-3 aggregate draw in the last 32 of the Europa League.

But despite returning from the Netherlands in the next round with a 0-0 draw at PSV, the Ibrox side went down 1-0 at home.


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