Wednesday, 14 August 2002
LANDLADIES Margo McLaughlan and Ann Vance are not just neighbours in Queen’s Terrace, Ayr. They are close friends of many years’ standing, and celebrate their 60th birthdays this year.
To mark this milestone they recently decided to throw a fancy dress party in a marquee in the garden of Ann’s former family home at South Beach, Troon, where her cousin, Carol McGruer, now lives.
Last year the friends were both finalists in the Landlady of the Year competition.
Margo owns Craigallan Guest House and Ann has the Daviot Guest House.
Said Margo: “As we’ve known each other for years we decided to hold a joint birthday party and made it fancy dress with the theme The Great Gatsby.
“We didn’t want any presents but decided to use our celebration to help a friend of ours, Robert McAusland, who was an Ayr photographer working under the name of Robert Stewart before he developed multiple sclerosis and had to retire.”
His business was taken over by photographer Jim Brennan and is still known as Robert Stewart Photography.
Robert, as a favour to Ann and Margo, had designed a business website for them both on which he featured photographs he had previously taken for them. It was a task that he could easily tackle from home.
Margo explained: “Robert did such a great job that when we learned he couldn’t get about as much as he would like Ann and I decided to try and do something about that.
“After a bit of research I came across this brilliant Power Trike attachment. It’s a motorised wheel with handlebar controls.
“When it is fixed to the front of a wheelchair it raises the wheelchair front wheels off the ground and the chair becomes a trike.”
She went on: “We’d meant to hold a fundraiser at some point for Robert to enable us to buy him the trike but then decided our party was the perfect opportunity to try and raise some cash.
“So we held a prize draw and enlisted the help of Carol’s son Robbie McGruer and his friend who did a very good job in parting our guests from their cash.
“They were very persuasive and by the end of the evening we were amazed that £1,500 had been raised.
It was enough to pay for the wheelchair and front attachment.
“And we had loads of fun too!”
Said Robert: “What do you say to people like Margo and Ann? Getting this bike has given me fantastic freedom that I haven’t had for the past three years.
“The Power Trike can do up to 11 miles an hour and even goes off road. It means I can potter around now and do whatever I want on my own.
“I don’t know how to thank Margo and Ann enough.”
© 2002, Ayrshire Post