District News, April 29 2022

At the awards ceremony are John Bond (CITB), Callum McIntyre, Callum Mackintosh, Eleanor Macmillan-Currie and Gilly Butler (Finning).

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Spaceport launches first open day

For the first time, Discover Space UK will open its doors to the public when it hosts a community open day at Spaceport Machrihanish.

The June 25 at Machrihanish Airbase will feature rocket launches, local produce, workshops and music.

The open day will showcase 11 rocket launches as part of the Mach-22 Student Launch Competition and Skills Conference.

The rockets and satellites have been designed by 11 university teams who are traveling to the west coast of Scotland from all over the UK to launch their designs.

Standing at over a metre tall, the rockets will soar up to 2.5km, eject the satellites there and then parachute back to the ground, collecting lots of interesting data.

Open day attendees will be able to purchase produce from local businesses and charities which will set up stalls on the old military airbase grounds and take part in space-themed activities.

Live music will be provided by Scottish charity Music Broth, showcasing talent from Kintyre and further afield.

Until now, Discover Space UK’s activities at the Sound of Kintyre have remained a mystery to locals.

This unique event organised by Discover Space UK, a collaboration between
UK Launch Services Limited and Machrihanish Airbase Community Company, has been designed to build awareness for the spaceport and involve the community in Kintyre’s newest and most exciting industry.

Tickets for the open day, which runs from 10am to 5pm, can be purchased via Eventbrite, on the Facebook event page, or by following a link provided on Instagram and Facebook posts – both @discoverspaceuk. Tickets for children are free.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s director of events and leader of the EventScotland team, said: ‘EventScotland is delighted to be supporting Spaceport Machrihanish Community Open Day through our National Events Programme.

‘It joins an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events taking place across the country this year as part of the wider recovery of tourism and events in Scotland.

‘Events play an important role in our communities, enabling us all to connect, enjoy and share memorable experiences.

‘Having them in our calendar further strengthens Scotland’s outlook and position as a world-leading events destination and reinforces Scotland’s place as the perfect stage for events.’


Eleanor named Apprentice of the Year in construction awards

An 18-year-old trainee plant operator from Islay was named Apprentice of the Year 2021/2022 by the Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA) at its 70th annual dinner in Glasgow earlier this month.

Eleanor Macmillan-Currie was inspired by her father to join the construction industry and now works for the family business, W&M Currie & Son.

She is currently doing an apprenticeship with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) as a plant operator.

‘I am grateful for the nomination, and to be presented the award was just fantastic,’ said Eleanor. ‘I would like to thank my dad and my grandpa for inspiring me and pushing me on this journey, and all the trainers at CITB, without whom this just would not have been possible.’

The awards were co-sponsored by construction equipment supplier Finning UK & Ireland and CITB.

Barry Dawson, customer engagement manager for Scotland at the CITB, said: ‘Eleanor was nominated by her National Construction College instructors as they are absolutely delighted with how she has progressed over the course of her apprenticeship and have tremendous confidence in their abilities.

‘This award is testament to Eleanor’s hard work, commitment and determination and is thoroughly deserved.’

As well as the recognition – a complete surprise on the night – Eleanor was given a fantastic package provided by Finning.

The package, which she will enjoy later in the year, includes a full factory tour of the Caterpillar manufacturing facility for articulated dump trucks in Peterlee.

There, she will see the complete production line from sheet steel to a fully operational machine, be given the opportunity to drive the machines, and she will also receive an overnight stay in luxury accommodation with an evening dinner with Finning representatives and the president of SPOA.

Eleanor has her sights set on the top, aiming to take over the family business.

Well on her way on her career path, Eleanor’s next step is taking the transport manager exam so she can take up this role in the family business.

She also plans on getting her heavy goods vehicle (HGV) licence this year.