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South Queensferry

Queensferry called South Queensferry or "The Ferry", is a town to the west of Edinburgh, traditionally a royal burgh of West Lothian. It lies ten miles to the north-west of Edinburgh city centre, on the shore of the Firth of Forth between the Forth Bridge, Forth Road Bridge and the Queensferry Crossing; the prefix South serves to distinguish it from North Queensferry, on the opposite shore of the Forth. Both towns derive their name from the ferry service established by Queen Margaret in the 11th century, which continued to operate at the town until 1964, when the Road Bridge was opened, its population at the 2011 census was 9,026 based on the 2010 definition of the locality which in addition to the burgh includes Dalmeny. The Gaelic name Taobh a Deas Chas Chaolais means " Southern Side of Steep Strait"; the name "Cas Chaolas" is older than the English name. The queen referred to is Saint Margaret of Scotland, believed to have established a ferry at this point for pilgrims on their way north to St Andrews.

She made her final journey by ferry to Dunfermline Abbey. Her son, David I of Scotland, awarded the ferry rights to the abbey. A local fair dates from the 12th century; the modern fair, dating from the 1930s, takes place each August and includes the crowning of a local school-girl as the Ferry Fair Queen, a procession of floats, pipe bands, competitive events such as the Boundary Race. The Fair had a dedicated radio station, Jubilee1, which in May 2007 was awarded a licence to evolve into a full Public Service Community Station for North and South Queensferry. Queensferry hosts the strange annual procession of the Burry Man during the Ferry Fair; this unique cultural event is over three hundred years old, pagan in origin. The name'Burry Man' certainly refers to the hooked fruits of the burdock plant - burrs - in which he is covered, although some have suggested that it is a corruption of'Burgh Man', since the town is traditionally a royal burgh. A local man is covered from head-to-toe in sticky burrs which adhere to undergarments covering his entire body, leaving only the shoes and two eye holes exposed.

On top of this layer he wears a sash, flowers and a floral hat and he grasps two staves. His ability to bend his arms or sit down is restricted during the long day and his progress is a slow walk with frequent pauses. Two attendants in ordinary clothes assist him throughout the ordeal, helping him hold the staves, guiding his route, fortifying him with whisky sipped through a straw, whilst enthusiastic children go from door-to-door collecting money on his behalf; the key landmarks on the tour are the each pub in the village. The name "Loony dook" is a combination of "Loony" and "dook", a Scots term meaning "dip" or "bathe", it is sponsored by porridge maker Stoats. It is a instituted event whereby people dive into the freezing waters of the Firth of Forth on New Year's Day in fancy dress. In recent years the event has attracted people from all over the world, including many people visiting Edinburgh to celebrate Hogmanay. A proposal to charge people to participate in this event was announced, the proceeds of which will benefit RNLI Queensferry.

The event was conceived in 1986 as a joking suggestion by three locals for a New Year's Day hangover cure. The following year it was decided to repeat the event for charity, it has grown to become part of the official Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations. Until 2010 the event was organised by locals and started from the Moorings pub but from 2011, due to factors such as increased crowds, safety issues and popularity, the event has been handled by the organisers of Edinburgh's Hogmanay, with the parade now starting from the Hawes Promenade at the other end of the town. A charge is now levied to cover the increased cost of stewarding. Up to 2016 two of the original Dookers, James MacKenzie and Ian'Rambo' Armstrong, have the distinction of taking part in every Loony Dook and the two wore specially designed T-shirts with 30yrs to celebrate the achievement; the event has inspired similar, though smaller in scale, annual New Year Loony Dooks, such as in North Berwick in East Lothian and Kirkcaldy in Fife, both on the Firth of Forth.

Queensferry has a community brass band that evolved from being a school brass band to a youth band and to its present status as a competing adult band. It came third in the 2006 Scottish Brass Band Championships 4th section contest and fourth in 2007. In addition to competing, it takes part in many community events including the Ferry Fair and Christmas in Queensferry light switch on event In addition to this there is a school brass band that has won the Community section of the Scottish Youth Brass Band Championships in 2005 and 2006. St Mary's Episcopal Church known as the Priory Church, is the town's oldest building, built for the Carmelite Order of friars in the 1450s, it is the only medieval Carmelite church still in use in the British Isles, is a Category A listed building. After the Scottish Reformation of 1560 it served as the parish church until 1635. In 1890 it was reconsecrated for the Scottish Episcopal Church; the Old Parish Church on The Vennel has an interesting early graveyard.

The church became known as the South Church in 1929, served the Church of Scotland congregation until 1956, when it united with St Andrew's Church. The old South Church building is now a house; the building which now houses Queensferry Parish Church, located in The Loan, was built as South Queensferry United Free Church. Following the union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free

North Birmingham Academy

North Birmingham Academy is a coeducational secondary school and sixth form located in the Perry Common area of Birmingham, West Midlands, England. A community school administered by Birmingham City Council, the school converted to academy status on 1 January 2010 and is now sponsored by E-ACT; however North Birmingham Academy continues to coordinate with Birmingham City Council for admissions. The school moved into new buildings in 2013. North Birmingham Academy offers GCSEs and BTECs as programmes of study for pupils, while students in the sixth form have the option to study from a range of A-levels and further BTECs; the school had specialisms in English and the arts before the specialist school programme was scrapped by the coalition government in 2010. The school was founded as Perry Common Comprehensive School and was known as College High School for several years. North Birmingham Academy official website

Mary Anning

Mary Anning was an English fossil collector and palaeontologist who became known around the world for important finds she made in Jurassic marine fossil beds in the cliffs along the English Channel at Lyme Regis in the county of Dorset in Southwest England. Her findings contributed to important changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the Earth. Anning searched for fossils in the area's Blue Lias cliffs during the winter months when landslides exposed new fossils that had to be collected before they were lost to the sea, she nearly died in 1833 during a landslide. Her discoveries included the first ichthyosaur skeleton identified, her observations played a key role in the discovery that coprolites, known as bezoar stones at the time, were fossilised faeces. She discovered that belemnite fossils contained fossilised ink sacs like those of modern cephalopods; when geologist Henry De la Beche painted Duria Antiquior, the first circulated pictorial representation of a scene from prehistoric life derived from fossil reconstructions, he based it on fossils Anning had found, sold prints of it for her benefit.

A Dissenter and a woman, Anning did not participate in the scientific community of 19th-century Britain, who were Anglican gentlemen. She struggled financially for much of her life, her family was poor, her father, a cabinetmaker, died when she was eleven. She became well known in geological circles in Britain and America, was consulted on issues of anatomy as well as about collecting fossils. Nonetheless, as a woman, she was not eligible to join the Geological Society of London and she did not always receive full credit for her scientific contributions. Indeed, she wrote in a letter: "The world has used me so unkindly, I fear it has made me suspicious of everyone." The only scientific writing of hers published in her lifetime appeared in the Magazine of Natural History in 1839, an extract from a letter that Anning had written to the magazine's editor questioning one of its claims. After her death in 1847, her unusual life story attracted increasing interest. An uncredited author in All the Year Round, edited by Charles Dickens, wrote of her in 1865 that "he carpenter's daughter has won a name for herself, has deserved to win it."

It has been claimed that her story was the inspiration for the 1908 tongue-twister "She sells seashells on the seashore" by Terry Sullivan. In 2010, one hundred and sixty-three years after her death, the Royal Society included Anning in a list of the ten British women who have most influenced the history of science. Anning was born in Lyme Regis in England, her father, Richard Anning, was a cabinetmaker and carpenter who supplemented his income by mining the coastal cliff-side fossil beds near the town, selling his finds to tourists. Her parents married on 8 August 1793 in Blandford Forum and moved to Lyme, living in a house built on the town's bridge, they attended the Dissenter chapel on Coombe Street, whose worshippers called themselves independents and became known as Congregationalists. Shelley Emling writes that the family lived so near to the sea that the same storms that swept along the cliffs to reveal the fossils sometimes flooded the Annings' home, on one occasion forcing them to crawl out of an upstairs bedroom window to avoid being drowned.

Molly and Richard had ten children. The first child, was born in 1794, she was followed by another daughter, who died at once. In December that year, the oldest child four years old, died after her clothes caught fire while adding wood shavings to the fire; the incident was reported in the Bath Chronicle on 27 December 1798: "A child, four years of age of Mr. R. Anning, a cabinetmaker of Lyme, was left by the mother for about five minutes... in a room where there were some shavings... The girl's clothes caught fire and she was so dreadfully burnt as to cause her death." When another daughter was born five months she was named Mary after her dead sister. More children were born after her. Only Mary and Joseph survived to adulthood; the high childhood mortality rate for the Anning family was not unusual. Half the children born in the UK in the 19th century died before the age of five, in the crowded living conditions of early 19th century Lyme Regis, infant deaths from diseases like smallpox and measles were common.

On 19 August 1800, when Anning was 15 months old, an event occurred. She was being held by a neighbour, Elizabeth Haskings, standing with two other women under an elm tree watching an equestrian show being put on by a travelling company of horsemen, when lightning struck the tree-killing all three women below. Onlookers rushed the infant home. A local doctor declared her survival miraculous, her family said she had been a sickly baby before the event but afterwards she seemed to blossom. For years afterward members of her community would attribute the child's curiosity and lively personality to the incident, her education was limited. She was able to attend a Congregationalist Sunday school where she learned to write. Congregationalist doctrine, unlike that of the Church of England at the time, emphasised the importance of education for the poor, her prized possession was a bound volume of the Dissenters' The