Elaine Hopley, 45, from Dunblane in Scotland, arrived in Antigua on Sunday having spent nearly two months at sea competing in the 2,000 mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Her time of 59 days, 19 hours and 14 minutes makes her the fastest woman to cross the Atlantic solo in the 30-year history of the race, dubbed the world’s toughest row.

Read more at:

Message from Gordon Currie, Police Constable, Dunblane Police Office

There has been a significant rise in frauds being committed throughout the Forth Valley area.  The most common frauds are detailed below along with information on how to protect yourself and a link to action fraud which has some great information, advice and can be used to report frauds.

HMRC and Apple Gift Card Fraud The fraudsters are using the following contact methods to defraud people:

  • Voicemails: Fraudsters are leaving victims automated voicemails stating they owe HMRC unpaid taxes. When victims call back on the number provided, they are told that there is a warrant out for their arrest, unless they make payment via iTunes Vouchers.
  • Spoofed calls: Fraudsters are cold calling victims using a spoofed 0300 200 3300 number and convincing them that they owe unpaid tax to HMRC.
  • Text messages: Fraudsters are sending text messages requesting victims to urgently call back on the number provided. When victims call back, they are told that there is a case being built against them for an outstanding debt and they must pay immediately.

Fraudsters are using iTunes gift cards to collect money from victims because they can be easily redeemed and sold on. The scammers don’t need the physical card to redeem the value and instead get victims to read out the serial code on the back over the phone to them. Action Fraud has been working with Apple and HMRC to warn people about this type of fraud.

How to protect yourself

  • HMRC will never use text message to inform about a tax rebate or penalty.
  • HMRC will never ask for any payment in the form of iTunes Vouchers.
  • HMRC will only post out a P800 tax calculations, in circumstances of under or overpayment of taxes, if you’re employed or get a pension.
  • Payments using iTunes Vouchers may not be recoverable.
  • Telephone numbers and text messages can easily be spoofed. You should not trust the number you see on your telephone display as proving the caller is genuinely calling from HMRC.
  • Be protective of divulging other personal details such as National Insurance number, passport number and bank details over the telephone.
  • If you receive an unexpected call, whereby the caller requests an advance fee in the form of iTunes gift cards, the call should immediately be terminated.

Gordon Currie, Police Constable, Dunblane and Bridge of Allan Ward Officer. Dunblane Police Office FK15 0EY
Website:  Twitter: @policescotland Facebook:

Elaine Hopley, 45, from Dunblane in Scotland, arrived in Antigua on Sunday having spent nearly two months at sea competing in the 2,000 mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Her time of 59 days, 19 hours and 14 minutes makes her the fastest woman to cross the Atlantic solo in the 30-year history of the race, dubbed the world’s toughest row.

Read more at:

Dunblane's Elaine Hopley arrived in Antigua on Sunday 12 February 2017 having spent nearly 2 months at sea competing in the 2,000 mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Her time of 59 days, 19 hours and 14 minutes makes her the fastest woman to cross the Atlantic solo in the 30-year history of the race, dubbed the world’s toughest row. Read the Scotsman article

Follow Elaine on Twitter

8 February 2017 : Elaine has only 300 miles to go Read the Stirling Observer Article

1 February 2017 : Elaine nears Atlantic race record bid  Read the Stirling Observer Article

4 January 2017 : Update on Dunblane rower Elaine Hopley as she rows the Atlantic Read the Stirling Observer Article

7 December 2016 : Dunblane rower Elaine Hopley all set to take on the Atlantic in tiny boat. Elaine will take on the 3000 mile journey across the ocean as she aims to become the fastest woman to solo-row the ocean - based on an article in Stirling Observer by Gareth Iwan Jones - 7 December 2016

Dunblane rower Elaine Hopley has arrived in Spain as she prepares to tackle the Atlantic. She flew to the tiny island of la Gomera at the weekend, where she has been reunited with the 22 foot boat she will undertake the daunting 3000 mile journey in. The boat was transported to the isle near Tenerife last month, and Elaine will now spend the next week working on getting the vessel ready for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, which begins on December 14. She hopes to arrive in the Caribbean island of Antigua in under 70 days, becoming the fastest woman to solo-row across the ocean. She has now said farewell to her family, and said that she has to put the emotions of leaving them at home out of her head come race time. “I’ll have to get the boat ready when I arrive, and being a solo rower, I need to make sure I meet and speak to all the other teams so we can help each other,” said Elaine.

Competitors in the challenge must purchase all items from an inventory that contains a host of high-tech safety equipment. They must carry two radios at all times, with race organisers able to track their position to within a 400 metre radius of the 3,000 mile route and support vessels nearby to offer assistance. Elaine has spent more than three years fundraising for the challenge, and hopes during the trans-ocean row to net thousands of pounds for Alzheimers Scotland in memory of her late mother Janice, who suffered from early-onset dementia. To donate to her challenge, and to keep up to date with her progress visit

Former Scottish rugby star Kenny Logan visited Dunblane Primary School to talk about his experience with dyslexia. Read the Stirling Observer article

Work costing more than £100,000 to restore Dunblane's river side walkway has been completed.

Read the Stirling Observer Article

Dunblane Community Partnership is holding a meeting for all community organisations in Dunblane to tell them more about the draft Community Action Plan, hear their views and how they can be involved.

On Monday 20 February at 7.30pm

In the Braeport Centre 

Get involved : We also want to discuss how community organisations could work together in the future. Let us know what you think! Does the draft Action Plan cover the important issues – have we missed anything? We want to make sure that more people can be involved in making the activity in the Action Plan happen. Please get involved – let us know the skills you have and what interests you.

Working groups : We are planning to set up working groups to take some of the actions forward – watch out here for more information. We will update this site regularly with news on what’s going on. We want to make sure that all households have a copy of the Community Action Plan once it is finalised– so look out for a copy coming through your door – or where you can get one.

Read more about Dunblane Community Partnership and the Charrette process.

Stirling Council is beginning year 4 of Priority Based Budgeting (PBB). The work the Council have done in years 1-3 has meant they are in a strong position financially. This means that unlike years 1-3, they will not be bringing budget options to the public for consultation, but instead finding savings through internal efficiencies.

This pause will enable the council to ask our communities for their feedback on the first three years of PBB and the ways in which the council tried to engage with them. Was everyone included? How easy was it to participate? What can they do better?

To help the council in this process, local residents can complete an online survey, which can be found here: The survey closes on Sunday 12 February 2017.

If you have any queries or need more information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Stirling Council has made progress with a draft design for the play area at the Laigh Hills Park

download the plan

They have met with the Landscape Architect on site to discuss current play provision and they have also considered the recent RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) inspection report.

The community consultation completed as part of the Park Masterplan in 2014 has also been considered as there was a lot of feedback relating to aspirations for the play area. The money for the proposals is coming from housing developments in Dunblane over the past several years.

The Park Steering Group agreed that the draft plan could be posted on the Dunblane Community website for a period of approx. 2 weeks to allow community feedback.  The plan will also be sent to Schools and Nurseries for comment.  

Send your comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Once we have completed the community consultation we can revise the plan accordingly and then progress with costing the agreed equipment and works. We will then be in a position to complete a tendering exercise to appoint a contractor to complete this project."

Andy Murray will receive a knighthood after a spectacular season winning Wimbledon and Olympic gold for the 2nd time as well as ending the year as World number 1.

Read more here

The Laigh Hills Park Working Group has been accepted onto the January vote for the Tesco Bags of Help scheme for an orchard project in the Laigh Hills.

Voting will take place from 2nd January to 28th January and we will be notified by the end of February 2017 confirming the amount of funding that we will receive. The project with the highest number of votes across the Stirlingshire region will receive £5,000, the second placed project £2,000 and the third placed project £1,000.So can I urge you to vote whenever you go to Tesco. You should get a voting token whenever you have any transaction in store – it doesn’t matter how small and you do not have to buy a bag. But you will probably have to remind the person on the checkout to give you a token.

There is also plan to spend money gathered from house developers over the years to improve the play park area of the Laigh Hills - you should be able to see the proposals on the website. We have also just heard from the Scottish Rural Development Programme that we have been awarded significant funding for our bid to further enhance the footpaths through the park under the Improving Public Access option.

We will need to have a strong Friend of the Laigh Hills Group set up in the near future to help determine how the park is managed, be the eyes and ears to report any problems that need to be repaired and undertake some to the management work in the Park. So if you are a dog walker, parent, cyclist, walker or any other user of the park who cares about its well being please do get in touch with Alan Booth 01786 824791 to take things forwards. In the meantime, as well as voting yourself, can you can urge friends and relations to vote early and often for the Laigh Hills Orchard project at Tesco.

Alan Booth

This Christmas, Dunblane Boys Brigade collected over 2 tonnes of food and other items for those in need.  Read the Stirling Observer article below

Tonnes of help for those in need

A fantastic amount of food was amassed at a festive collection drive. The Boys' Brigade in Dunblane organised their traditional Christmas collection for Start-Up Stirling's crisis foodbank and amassed over two tonnes of items to help the neediest family situations across the area.

More than 50 BB boys and leaders were on hand at St Blane's Hall in Dunblane on December 22, and donations were non-stop from beginning to end as local people dropped off food, drink, toiletries and cleaning supplies over a three-hour period to help keep the shelves stocked at Start-Up's warehouse right into the new year.

The enthusiastic youngsters helped by opening donations, labelling items, sorting into storage containers - and even running to local businesses in the High Street to ask for extra boxes and containers when donations were so plentiful, capacity ran out. All the goods were transported to Start-Up Stirling's foodbank and weighed,with news coming through on the following day that over 2,000kg of goods had been donated.

James Forrest, age 14, has been helping at the annual event for the last four years. He said: "At BB, we have been learning about vulnerable groups in our community, and it is nice to do something practical and really useful for people, especially at Christmas, although we collect donations every month at BB, too."

BB captain Paul Christmas said: “It was fantastic to again see such great support from Dunblane and surrounding areas for this. We love the fact that the event has become a true tradition now and we are proud to partner with Start-Up Stirling regularly”.



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