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COLUMN: Sporting summer and surgery tour


By Douglas Ross

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The summer holidays are drawing to a close for many and I hope everyone has had a chance to get a break from work or school whether you stayed here in Moray or ventured further afield.

'Run dad run' is the cry from young Alistair.
'Run dad run' is the cry from young Alistair.

With both the UK and Scottish Parliament’s in recess I’m able to spend a lot more time in the area and am looking forward to embarking on my summer surgery tour later this month.

I’ll be at almost 50 venues across Moray and will be available to discuss any issues people want to raise with me. These surgeries are a great opportunity to discuss local or national issues and myself and my team will seek to help in any way we can.

One of the national issues that has been the focus of my mind recently is the huge number of people across Scotland who lose their lives every year as a result of drug misuse.

Figures released last week showed Scotland continues to have the highest drug-death rate not just in the UK, but across Europe. Sadly Moray saw the largest percentage increase in deaths from 10 to 17.

Across the whole of Scotland 1330 people lost their lives in 2021 which has reinforced my view that we have to do something significant to tackle this national scandal.

Douglas Ross Scottish Tory Leader. Picture: Callum Mackay..
Douglas Ross Scottish Tory Leader. Picture: Callum Mackay..

I’ve proposed a Bill in the Scottish Parliament which has been developed with front-line experts and those with lived experience of drug and alcohol problems and I really hope we can get cross-party support to introduce it as quickly as possible. It won’t solve all the addiction problems in Scotland, but many believe it could make a big difference and stop lives needlessly being lost.

This summer has also been great for sport and I’ve been watching our Moray athletes at the Commonwealth games and the women’s Euros. While Scotland didn’t make it to the finals it was great to see the support at Wembley for the final match between England and Germany.

I’ve also returned to football after a long 18-month absence due to an injury I picked up. My refereeing divides opinion to put it mildly, but I have to say I’m thoroughly enjoying being back involved and my first match was at Borough Briggs.

An image from that game went viral, but thankfully it didn’t have anything to do with me.

Elgin fan Kevin Russell being pelted by the ball while having his tea and sausage roll was expertly captured by the Queen of the South photographer and for many it was the highlight of what was otherwise quite a dull match!

Fortunately, I didn’t have much to do in the game, but I was under a bit of pressure with one spectator watching my every move.

Our three-year-old son Alistair came down to his first match to watch his dad run the line. While there was plenty of the usual ‘constructive criticism’ from both sets of supporters; every now and then I heard a shout of ‘run dad, run’.

Not only am I pleased to be back involved in matches to improve my fitness again, I now have at least one fan coming to my games - pretty unusual for a referee.


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