Bathgate Community Council unveils new books that celebrates West Lothian town and its people

Bathgate Community Council is continuing its good work in the town, despite the challenges of the ongoing Covid lockdown.
Normally, members would meet once a month on the second Thursday of each month in the Partnership Centre in Bathgate but because of restrictions meetings have instead been held online via Zoom. Despite these challenges, in collaboration with the Bennie Museum, members were able to publish a leaflet entitled ‘Why Bathgate is Famous”, which takes a look at the achievements of several locals or those with a strong connection to the town. Community council member David Main stated: “The common goal of all these publications is not only to make more people aware of their surroundings and of some of Bathgate’s more famous citizens but also has the shared goal of encouraging more people to visit the town and so help put Bathgate back on the map in terms of Scotland’s history overall. “This all helps to provide a justification for the community council’s slogan; Small town, Big history. For further information visit Please note that while these publications are free, a suggested donation of £3 would be much appreciated to help set up the Bathgate Common Good Fund.

Complaints continue about parking in the precinct at Bathgate

Despite numerous appeals, Police Scotland continue to receive complaints about parking in the precinct at Bathgate.
Speaking on social media, West Lothian Police have asked that people park in Bathgate with more thought for pedestrians.
”It is very clear that this issue causes great annoyance to local people and other users of the precinct.
Please remember that people (including young children) are entitled to feel it should be safe from the risk of being run over. As the dark days approach the risks increase.
There are a very small number of people who chose to disregard the very obvious signage, the safety of others, and the law by parking in the precinct.
We will continue to carry out patrols of this and other areas throughout West Lothian.
Penalties will be issued to those who chose to ignore the warnings and park thoughtlessly and illegally.”

Scottish Government providing £10m for funding school meals over the holidays – 5447 children in West Lothian to benefit

More than 5447 children across West Lothian will benefit from extra funding to extend free school meals over the Christmas and Easter holidays. £10 million has been made available by the SNP Government so that councils can continue providing free school meals through the winter breaks with future funding confirmed to extend support over Easter. Last week, Conservative MPs voted rejected a plan to extend free school meals into the school holidays, arguing that it was not the job of schools to “regularly provide food during the school holidays”. Local MSP Fiona Hyslop, representing the Linlithgow constituency stated, ”Many families in West Lothian are under considerable financial pressure, especially at this time, and the Scottish Government are committed to helping. “The pandemic has put incredible stress on families, and with less than two weeks until the UK government prematurely shuts down the furlough scheme, that’s unfortunately only set to get worse. “This important investment will support around 5447 children and young people in West Lothian, helping families meet the cost of meals over Christmas, February and Easter holidays. “I hope the Scottish Government’s decision to extend the free school meals scheme will be a great relief for many hard-pressed parents in West Lothian, and in Scotland overall. “The Tories at Westminster had an opportunity to support thousands of families worrying about how they will put food on the table in the weeks ahead, but they refused to do so. “It’s clear that Westminster has a lot to learn from the SNP’s approach to tackling food insecurity and building a social security system based on fairness, dignity and respect.”

Police Scotland launch Operation Moonbeam to help keep people safe on Bonfire Night

Police Scotland is supporting local communities across West Lothian with a range of specialist resources to keep people safe around Bonfire Night. Operation Moonbeam was launched in 2018 in response to high levels of public disorder and violence witnessed during the same period a year earlier. This resulted in lower levels of disorder in 2018 and 2019 and similar resources will be in place this year to reassure communities and tackle criminal activity. With organised bonfire events cancelled across Scotland in light of the coronavirus pandemic, anyone planning their own garden bonfire is urged to be considerate towards neighbours and pets when setting off fireworks. Assistant Chief Constable Tim Mairs, Gold Commander for Operation Moonbeam, said: “Typically, the Bonfire Night weekend, and surrounding days, are extremely busy for police and other emergency services. “While the cancellation of public bonfire displays and the coronovirus restrictions in place is likely to result in a slight reduction in the number of people out and about, we cannot be complacent in terms of preserving public safety. “Divisional Commanders will be given significant levels of specialist resource, including public order trained officers, to supplement their local policing teams and help them address any issues that arise. “The police alone cannot tackle anti-social behaviour and bonfire-related disorder. We are once again taking a tri-service approach with the other emergency services, aimed at not only responding successfully to reports of criminality, but preventing them in the first instance. “We have been engaging with young people extensively through our school inputs to highlight the risks associated with reckless behaviour involving fireworks and of course, alcohol. “Parents and guardians of young people also have a vital role to play and I would ask you all have very frank conversations with those in your care about the risks of getting involved in violence and disorder. “Let me be clear, any behaviour that puts our communities at risk, or endangers the safety of our officers and other emergency service personnel, will not be tolerated. “The Chief Constable has made it clear that we are asking people to take personal responsibility to do the right thing to aid the collective effort of staying safe, protecting others and saving lives by preventing the virus from spreading. “While the vast majority of communities across Scotland are co-operating with the existing restrictions, a small number are still intent on hosting or participating in parties and gatherings with other households. “These are not confined to certain age groups and people should not be in any doubt that house gatherings allow the virus to spread. Where we encounter wilful, repeated, persistent or flagrant breaches we will, as the public would expect and support, act decisively to enforce the law.” Deputy Assistant Chief Officer (DACO) Alasdair Perry is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Head of Prevention and Protection. He said: “First and foremost we would urge all of our communities to follow advice and guidelines around social distancing to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. “With many public events cancelled due to COVID-19, we know people may consider hosting their own firework events. “But we want to highlight that the private use of fireworks can be dangerous- and that children are particularly at risk. “We are therefore strongly encouraging anyone who does wish to host a private event to reduce the risk by ensuring to familiarise themselves with our fireworks code and fire safety guidance. Do not take risks because the consequences can be devastating. “This is already a traditionally busy period of the year for ourselves and our partners and it is very important that we maintain an ability to respond to other emergencies. “We know it’s a very small minority of people who engage in anti-social behaviour, but there’s no question it can impact on our firefighters and Operations Control colleagues as well as our partners. “A deliberate fire can also put property, resources and indeed lives at risk so it goes without saying that we will always take a zero-tolerance approach to fire-setting and attacks on our crews.” “For more information visit our fireworks safety page:” Community Safety Minister Ash Denham added: “Halloween and Bonfire Night this year are going to feel very different and at this usual time for celebration I urge everyone to follow the rules on meeting up with other households to help stop the spread of the virus. “We know that some people may consider setting off fireworks in their back-gardens, if you do plan on using fireworks this Bonfire Night please do so responsibly and safely. We are asking families to avoid guising this year but our newly published Parent Club guidance has lots of fun and creative ideas for families to enjoy a safe celebration at home. “Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and all emergency service workers have my complete support, particularly over the busy bonfire season.”

Livingston’s Josh Quigley hoping to set the fastest ever time to cycle around the NC500 this weekend

Endurance rider Josh Quigley is embarking on a new challenge this weekend – to set the fastest time to cycle the North Coast 500. In December last year, Josh was on a solo round-the-world trip when he was hit from behind by a car in Texas, and sent flying 50 yards.
The former Deans Community High School pupil was in hospital for five weeks, treated for a fractured skull, traumatic brain injury, broken ribs, punctured lung and multiple leg fractures.
Nine months on, he is back in the saddle on a world record attempt – a non-stop circuit of the North Coast 500 tourist route. Fellow endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont set an initial cycling record for the route of 37 hours and 58 minutes. It was later slashed to 31 hours and 23 minutes by James McCallum. Josh set off from Inverness Castle at 5am today, and aims to raise money for the Texas medical centre that treated him. Speaking on his Facebook page yesterday, Josh said, “Thank you to everybody who has followed and support the last 5 years.What a transformation from the boy who got on the bike looking for a reason to live. Never in a million years did I think I’d be where I am now and about to take on a record attempt.”
As of 1945 this evening, Josh has just passed Loch Assynt and Lochinver and is hopefully on track to break the record!
Good luck Josh!
Photo credit – Josh Quigley