Business people: Duo’s marathon task to raise cash to help SMEs

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NOT content with setting himself the Herculean task of running 40 marathons in two months, Glasgow businessman Stephen Lyall is planning to take to the stage in between runs as he seeks to raise £4 million for small businesses.

The managing director of training provider Business Growth Now is teaming up with comedian John O’Brien, and the intrepid duo have started training for “The Forest Gump Marathon Comedy Tour” which will see them run more than 1,000 miles and perform to 13,000 people in 40 cities and towns across the UK.

The tour kicks off in Glasgow on 20 May and visits England, Wales and Ireland before finishing back in their home city on 20 July. The money raised by the tour will be used to create an emergency fund for SMEs across the country and to establish a training academy in Glasgow.

Some dating difficulties...

Red faces at hifi retailer Loud & Clear. The boys may be expert at telling their woofers from their tweeters, but they appear a little less familiar with the humble calendar.

An invite received last week to the Edinburgh store’s St Andrews Day weekend extravaganza had the dates down as Friday 30 November and, ahem, Saturday 31st. After highlighting the error, the Businessdesk received an updated e-newsletter from staff member Simon Dougherty entitled “Oops…”, putting the blunder down to a “deliberate mistake” to keep customers on their toes.

We can confirm that the event extends into Saturday 1 December – and have been promised that Simon will be sporting a dunce’s cap on the day.

Tait rolls in new direction

As IF running a busy skateboard shop wasn’t enough to keep him busy, photographer Graham Tait is now carving out a niche in the world of magazines.

Tait, manager of the Focus store in Edinburgh, plans to produce two editions of North Skateboard Magazine a year. The first issue, in May, attracted glowing praise from as far afield as New York.

He’s now hard at work on the second issue, which should hit shelves early in the new year, weather permitting. Scotland’s a long way from skateboarding’s birthplace of sun-drenched California and our rainy streets can cause havoc with deadlines.

Tait is also taking a different approach by shooting mainly on film. He explains: “I don’t hate digital, but you just can’t beat the quality you get from film. The whole process of shooting a roll, getting it developed then waiting to see how the photos have turned out – for me, that’s what photography is.”

Darling’s bird remark sings

Former chancellor Alistair Darling took a trip down memory lane at the recent Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) east of Scotland dinner, which was held in the newly-refurbished Caledonian Waldof Astoria hotel in Edinburgh.

Gazing at the mock-Italian frescos on the walls of the hotel’s Castle suite, Darling declared: “The last time I delivered a speech in this room was on my wedding day. I’ll tell Mrs Darling that the decor has improved.”

The bushy-eyebrowed politician went on to deliver a wide-ranging speech, covering the collapse of Royal Bank of Scotland, the independence referendum and a critique of the UK government’s transport policy.

Reminiscing over his own spell as transport secretary from 2002 until 2005 – and in a thinly-veiled swipe at Conservative London mayor Boris Johnson – Darling said: “Building an airport in the middle of the Thames estuary is nonsense.”