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Laura Piper

Journalist

Location icon United Kingdom

Journalist based in Scotland, currently employed by STV.

Portfolio

Special projects

STV News
Desperate last plea for help as vital baby bank faces closure

Laura Piper It's snowing and a wintry cold January day when the call comes through. A young father, just 19 years old, is in crisis. His little baby boy is hungry but he has no more milk to give him. Desperate, he has already gone without food himself to feed his son.

VIDEO

Features

STV News
Little girl with autism and the puppy that will change her life

Laura Piper Best friends come in all shapes and sizes and in nine-year-old Hannah Borthwick's case, that means a small tubby barrel with big paws. "All puppies are special, but Bailie is going to be mine," she says proudly. "I will be looking after him and he will look after me."

STV News
Lost village: Abandoned psychiatric hospital put up for sale

Laura Piper There is something strangely beautiful and haunting about Bangour Village. A sprawling collection of old buildings in rural West Lothian, for more than a decade its imposing villas have been at war with the elements. Once a thriving hospital catering for the vulnerable, when the last patients moved out, ivy trailed in.

STV News
Daring divers to rescue Dam Busters 'bouncing bombs' from loch

Laura Piper For more than 70 years, bombs have lain on the murky floor of the ice-cool waters of Loch Striven in Argyll. Left scattered across the floor like marbles, they are all that remain of an innovative wartime experiment to 'bounce' 6600lb of explosives across water into enemy targets.

STV News
Rock 'n' roll photographer puts fans in focus for new book

Laura Piper A decade ago in a sweltering Texas melt of armpits and noise a diehard music fan got his big break. It was 2007 and Sandy Carson had been commissioned to photograph his first music festival. He had been attending them for years.

STV News
Murdered Scots aid worker's legacy lives on in Afghanistan

Laura Piper There is a vivid green pitch in Kabul where the street children play. It used to be a dust bowl in summer, scattered with stones, in a city where even the sparrows fell victim to war as poverty left hungry mouths to feed.

STV News
Death by chocolate: Socialite 'poisoned' lover with arsenic

Laura Piper She was the wealthy Glasgow socialite who had dared to enjoy sex and was accused of poisoning her lover. In Victorian Scotland the public was most likely split on which was worse. In evidence was a bottle, its crimson wax seal broken.

STV News
Amputee mother's brave battle after body ravaged by meningitis

It was shortly after 4am when Linsay Robertson woke up and screamed. She was curled up in a tight ball on her bed in Edinburgh, the pain excruciating. Graham, her partner, sat anxiously beside her waiting for the ambulance he had called to arrive. "I thought I was dying," she says.

STV News
Marine coaches war wounded soldier to strongman victory

Laura Piper In 2010, Private Steven Richardson stepped on an improvised explosive device while serving in Afghanistan. "Two weeks before getting blown up, I had found four in the area," he says. He found his fifth by standing on it. "Still counts," he says with a laugh, "I found it."

STV News
Big-hearted Scots help Tommy, 81, with his bucket list

Laura Piper A pensioner who warmed the hearts of readers after he shared his humble bucket list has gone on to have several of his special wishes granted. Tommy Hagan, 81, who spent most of his young life in an orphanage, had hoped to "see the wee butterflies at Butterfly World" and sit down to a great pie supper.

STV News
Diver captures beautiful world hidden under Scotland's waves

Laura Piper Janeanne Gilchrist is a discoverer of worlds. When clouds gather and the sea moves in shades of bottle green and grey, that's when she heads to the coast, wetsuit and camera by her side, and slips beneath the waves. Some days a sea troll waits for her there, rolling in the current.

STV News
Living the dream: Family finds freedom and happiness on island

Laura Piper They rise at dawn this family of six, the father, mother and all four children with hair the colour of sunshine on sand. The eldest son Leo, 12, a young shepherd, goes out with his father to feed the sheep, their fleeces damp from a night of seaspray on the wind.

STV News
Secret bunker: Volunteers dig deep to uncover Cold War history

Laura Piper The spark began deep underground in a room once used during the war by Royal Air Force officers. It was 1993, and the fire-raiser had long fled, but down in the abandoned shelter the flames were gathering force. It burned unchecked for hours before the alarm was raised.

STV News
Beneath the waves: Mission to map Orkney's iconic shipwrecks

Laura Piper It came down to three simple words in the end: "Paragraph Eleven; confirm". It was a code, strung up in flags, but Admiral Ludwig von Reuter knew his men would understand the order. They had been preparing for it for months.

STV News
True love: Scots soldier and German girl who stole his heart

Laura Piper Willie and Babs Haswell were not supposed to fall in love. It was 1945 in Germany, he was a Scottish soldier and she was the beautiful German girl who had stolen his heart. She had a smile, he said, that made his knees tremble.

STV News
MND sufferer Lucy on what it really means to live life to the full

Laura Piper Lucy Lintott was just 19 years old when doctors told her how very ill she really was. She'd known for a while that something wasn't quite right. It had begun with her left hand, which had suddenly grown weaker, then she'd started walking into things, stumbling as her legs gave way under her.

STV News
Wonderful life of Parsley the cat as his jaunts are tracked by GPS

Laura Piper Until he was eight months old, Parsley lived the life of a fairly ordinary house cat. He was a handsome ginger tom with long white whiskers who belonged to a very nice lady called Fiona Campbell-Smith in the small town of Oban on Scotland's west coast.

STV News
05/11/2016
Hiroshima survivor recalls horrific aftermath of atomic bomb

It was August 6, 1945, shortly after breakfast, and she and her classmates were starting their first day of work at an army headquarters, a wooden building about a mile from the centre of the blast. She was on the second floor, not far from the window, when she saw a bluish-white flash "like a magnesium flare" through the glass.

STV News
Sara Trevelyan on her life with Glasgow gangster Jimmy Boyle

Laura Piper Sara Trevelyan was a young medical graduate when she first met Jimmy Boyle, the man who would become her husband. It was the late 1970's, and the prison cell he welcomed her into was decorated with green floral print wallpaper with matching curtains framing a small barred window.

STV News
The mysterious disappearance of Edinburgh University's Library Cat

A chunky ball of black and white fur, he was under the care of a Catholic Friary in Edinburgh. Named after a 12th Century saint, his gentle owner Father Dermot held great ambitions for him to become an expert mouser. Very early on, however, it became apparent that Jordan had other ideas.

STV News
Grandfather Andy and over-60s daredevils taking on the high wire

Laura Piper Andy Cameron was a year shy of 71 when the circus came calling. The Greenock grandfather had already led a pretty packed life up until that point. He had been in the marines for 15 years, fallen in love with "his Janet" at the dance halls and adored his six grandchildren.

STV News
03/22/2016
Stetsons & shootouts: Inside the wonderful world of the Glasgow cowboys

Close to 100 Stetsons are bent low over tables and noisy punters at the saloon bar are being sternly shushed. Above them, a Confederate flag hangs before a backdrop of rolling mountains, desert sand and a painted cactus. It could be a scene out of an old John Wayne film - apart from the cans of Irn-Bru and thick Scottish accents.

STV News
Remembering my baby: Photos helping grieving parents cope with loss

Laura Piper It was one of the most heartbreaking moments Fiona McCreadie has had to photograph: a mother and father, cuddling their baby son, lying still in their arms. Little Thomas David Hemphill was born at 23 weeks. He was very small, weighing in at just over 1Ib, and everyone said he looked just like his father.

STV News
05/15/2016
Love me doo: The pigeon flyers doing battle over Scotland's skies

Spread out over a small square radius, each commands a fortress in their own backyard, a wooden shed built to hold a feathered army, complete with trap door, high security and battle tactics Alexander the Great would be proud of. The goal is to fly your pigeons and have them return to you safely.

STV News
This man just made a truffle that's been named 'best in the world'

Laura Piper There's a small village in rural Perthshire where a man creates truffles that drop on your tongue like chocolate raindrops and melt like silk. Known as The Highland Chocolatier, Iain Burnett spent three years creating the perfect "Dark Sao Tome" velvet truffle that judges from 40 countries wept over and called "best in the world".

STV News
Jedi masterpieces: Star Wars fan recreates classic paintings

Laura Piper A father who taught himself photo editing skills on the internet to take cool pictures of his son has become something of an unexpected hit in the art world. Star Wars fan David Hamilton, 52, began playing around with editing several years ago with his son Lex.

STV News
Desperate last plea for help as vital baby bank faces closure

Laura Piper It's snowing and a wintry cold January day when the call comes through. A young father, just 19 years old, is in crisis. His little baby boy is hungry but he has no more milk to give him. Desperate, he has already gone without food himself to feed his son.

STV News
Fife soldier is first army female in history to be 'Lone Piper'

Laura Piper To the nearly 9000 strong audience seated at Edinburgh castle at the weekend the piper on the ramparts looked like any other soldier. Lit up by spotlight against the ancient stone, the small figure stood ramrod straight, tartan sash pulled tight above a weighted kilt, with the jaunty feather of The Scottish Gunners noticeable even in the gathering dark.

STV News
03/30/2016
Where are they now? Search reveals people from 1990 Glasgow photo project

In early March, STV launched a search to find the people who featured in a book documenting a day in the life of ordinary Glaswegians. The book, Glasgow: 24 Hours in the Life of a City, was the culmination of a 24-hour project by 33 of the world's top photojournalists to capture an ordinary day in the west of Scotland.

STV News
The BFG: Haunting Scots locations used in giant new movie release

Of the many worlds Roald Dahl created, the land of giants where children's dreams were kept was perhaps the one held closest to his heart. In various interviews before his death, the author said that of all his stories, The BFG bore a particularly special magic for him and it stayed with him throughout his lifetime.

STV News
Pub quest: One woman's mission to visit every Wetherspoon in the UK

To the unassuming eye, 67-year-old Mags Thomson looks like any other customer enjoying a cup of tea on a wet Monday morning. She's seated at a table in her local Wetherspoon, a bus ride from her home in Livingston, West Lothian, with a small tower of buttered toast and an unopened jar of marmalade.

STV News
Scotland's oldest ice cream van man finally hangs up his scoop

Laura Piper When he first started his rounds the Beatles were at number one and Top of the Pops had just launched. Adam Kelly has seen a lot come and go from the little window of his ice cream van but at the age of 94 he is finally hanging up his scoop.

STV News
Technology killed the video star but the VHS legacy lives on

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to pay tribute to a fine and upstanding member of the entertainment industry. After decades of bringing joy to the masses, VHS has taken its final bow and exited to the great scrapheap of defunct technology in the sky.

STV News
03/14/2016
Unmaking a murderer: the team fighting miscarriages of justice in Scotland

Of all the TV shows to be released last year, none courted more controversy than Netflix phenomenon Making a Murderer. The ten-part documentary, first streamed in December 2015, introduced the world to Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man who served 18 years in prison for a rape he didn't commit, only to be released and then subsequently jailed for murder.

STV News
A lesson in forgiveness from genocide survivor Jean-Paul Samputu

"Imagine someone who kills you slowly. They start to cut your arm, then your nose. So slowly that it takes three days for you to die. That's how they killed my sister." Jean-Paul Samputu's voice is gentle, deep with the resonating tones of Africa. It's been almost 20 years since his sister's murder.

STV News
Morningside charity shop ladies celebrate decades of service

In a small charity shop in Morningside, surrounding a table of tea and cake ("and a bottle of bubbly dear, this is a birthday party after all") are a group of ladies who between them, have centuries worth of memories, experience and above all – giving.

STV News
Frozen and exhausted but no man was left behind

Thirty years ago a group of men, some barely 17 years old, were woken from their beds and sent 8000 miles over the sea to a group of tiny windswept islands in the South Atlantic.

STV News
All you need are friends: teenagers with epilepsy share their story

In an unassuming room, in a quiet corner of the city, one of the bravest girls in Edinburgh sits drawing. Her left hand traces the outline of a face on the paper in front of her. Strong steady lines sketch out bright eyes, a flick of hair and a smiling mouth.

STV News
03/25/2016
US drug hope for baby with rare dwarfism as she celebrates first birthday

But despite the odds, Cassidy, who has one of the world's rarest forms of dwarfism, has reached a major milestone by celebrating her first birthday on Good Friday. Now her parents are hopeful that a new drug being developed in America could provide her with life changing treatment.

STV News
Kings of Strathclyde: Govan according to a Govanite

Up and down the Clyde the horns sound out, echoing across the dark water as fireworks light the sky. It has just struck midnight at the turn of a new year, and the ships of Glasgow are calling in the year to come.

STV News
Alex Mackie: only the fans can keep Hearts beating now

If anyone ever needed any proof that Alex Mackie is a true Hearts fan they need look no further than his scarf. "I'm afraid I got pie gravy down it at the last match," he explains sheepishly. "I actually gave it to a new friend I made so I'm going to have to pick up another one before the match tonight."

STV News
05/12/2016
Father shows mettle to heave anvil up mountain in support of ill daughter

Diagnosed with type-1 diabetes, an incurable disease, he knew Roisin would be faced with a daily struggle to keep her body healthy and well. As her father, Davy wanted to show the 10-year-old how much he supported her fight so he pledged to take on a daily struggle of his own just for her.

STV News
'Do we at least get a hoodie?' Reaction as UK votes to leave EU

It was a case of the groggy morning after the night before on Friday when the UK woke to the news of a Brexit. After a wild night of results, the Brits shocked the world by voting to leave the European Union, suffering an immediate economic and political hangover that saw PM David Cameron pack his bags and The Bank of England begin to sweat uncomfortably as the pound reeled.

STV News
Mother's 'Walk of Love' to Scotland in memory of her young daughter

It was meant to be a simple chest infection but within a few hours, little Elizabeth Spencer was struggling for breath and fighting for her life. It was late November and the Christmas lights were already up, but the five-year-old ballerina, who loved Wallace and Gromit and trips to the seaside, was suddenly clinging to life support, her mother beside her.

STV News
04/06/2016
The Clutha owner 'devastated' after helicopter crashes into city pub

The owner of The Clutha in Glasgow said he is "devastated" after a police helicopter crashed into his bar leaving eight people dead. Alan Crossan told STV he was "still in shock" after 14 people were also seriously injured in the crash around 10.25pm on Friday.

STV News
03/23/2016
Before and after: St Peter's Seminary resurrected in eerie light show

It has been hailed as Scotland's greatest example of modernist architecture but for nearly four decades it has lain in ruin, quietly crumbling into the Argyll landscape. On Thursday night, locals got a first look inside St Peter's Seminary, near Cardross, which has been brought back to life in a vivid display of light and sound as part of a multi-million-pound transformation project.

STV News
Ex-soldier trekking 800 miles to play pipes over grave of fallen hero

A former solider who fought in Iraq is about to undertake an epic trek to honour a fallen hero who died in the Battle of the Somme. Piper Evan Finnegan will journey 800 miles on foot and by bicycle to play his bagpipes at the graveside of Private James Farr - 100 years to the day since the young lad was killed in one of the bloodiest battles in British military history.

STV News
Sister shaves head in solidarity with cancer-battling sibling

It has been three years since Babs Mcleod picked up the phone and heard her sister's first call for help. "I'm at the hospital and I'm being checked for breast cancer," Jen had said. "I'm alone. Please, will you come and sit with me?" Babs had grabbed her car keys and was already out the door.

STV News
Scots volunteer left 'heartbroken' over Thai Tiger Temple cruelty claims

A Scots volunteer who worked at the controversial Tiger Temple in Thailand says she has been left "devastated" by details of alleged wildlife trafficking and animal cruelty at the Buddhist institution. During a raid on Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua earlier this week, Thai police and wildlife officials found 40 tiger cub carcasses in a freezer while attempting to remove live animals from the premises.

STV News
Wrong turn from satnav leads couple to help save stranded dolphin

A wrong turn with a faulty satnav has led to a lucky rescue for a stranded dolphin left fighting for its life on a beach in the Highlands. Lorraine Culloch and her partner Mike Robertson were heading to a familiar spot in the Cromarty Firth to do some dolphin watching when their car's satnav sent them down the wrong road.

STV News
05/03/2016
BMX stunt rider joins Scots divers for the ultimate deep sea challenge

It's probably testimony to the daring lifestyle that BMX rider Jason Phelan has led so far that when asked about his latest stunt, he is seriously considering the possibility of sharks. "Do you think there will be any out there?" he asks hopefully. "I've been told you get sharks off the west coast of Scotland."

STV News
05/02/2016
Snap, crackle and shop: Scotland's first cereal cafe opens in Glasgow

Advertised as a dessert, cereal and candy store, Black Vanilla is offering breakfast connoisseurs everything from the standard Cornflakes and Shredded Wheat options to the more adventurous American brands such as Reeses Puffs, Marvel Avengers, Smorz and Hershey's Cookies and Cream.

STV News
05/04/2016
To infinity and beyond: Father and daughter capture Scotland's starry skies

She has travelled to some of the country's most secluded spots with her father Stuart to capture images for a project the duo call Bound by Starlight. Hitting the road in a vintage 1976 Land Rover nicknamed Starbug, they have witnessed an array of sights, from the Geminids meteor shower over Rannoch moor to the Milky Way above the frozen hills of Loch Restil.

STV News
Five-minute interview: TV nanny Jo Frost shares her top parenting tips

It has been more than a decade since Jo Frost shot to fame on Channel 4's hit show Supernanny. Sweeping into homes of unruly children across the country, her tough-love Mary Poppins approach to parenting pulled in the viewers and catapulted her famous "naughty step" into the global spotlight.

STV News
Scot finds fame selling tartan souvenirs in the United States

There's a small shop in the American state of Utah that could not look more out of place if it tried. In a region better known for its vast deserts, Rocky Mountains and Mormon tabernacles, the Edinburgh Castle Scottish Imports shop is thriving and its kilted owner is turning on the charm.

STV News
Puffin volunteers on mission to save Scotland's 'clowns of the sea'

Eileen Shields can still remember her first trip out to see the Bass Rock, home to more than 150,000 gannets and guillemots. There had been a queue at North Berwick harbour, she recalls. Eileen said goodbye to her husband Kevin and promised to see him back on shore in an hour.

STV
11/09/2014
The Whisper of Stars

In the biting ice-cold regions of Eastern Siberia there's a phrase used for the sound made when your breath turns to sparkling crystals in the freezing air.

Video

STV News
Brass band scales Britain's highest summit Ben Nevis for charity concert

Brass Sounds Inverclyde fought through high winds, soaking rain and even snow underfoot to hike up Scotland's most famous mountain with instruments strapped to their backs, including a heavy tuba and fully functioning trombone. The intrepid musicians reached the summit in time to put on an afternoon recital to raise vital sponsorship for the band to attend the National British Band Championships in September.

STV News
Father heaves anvil up mountain in support of his diabetic daughter

A father who promised to drag a 19st anvil to the top of a mountain to show how much he supported his young daughter has completed his challenge. Davy Ballantyne, whose 10-year-old daughter Roísín was recently diagnosed with type-1 diabetes, pledged to heave the iron block up the highest peak near their home in Arran to show her that she was not alone in her struggle with the disease.

STV News
Young daredevil Max taking his skateboarding skills to new heights

Laura Piper Of all the boarders hurtling off the ramps at Scotland's largest indoor skatepark Max Cameron is hard to miss. A tiny figure standing less than half the height of the other riders, he has a jaunty blonde quiff poking out from under his helmet and a bright blue Superman skateboard tucked under his arm.

STV News
Daring young amputees take on towering challenge to inspire others

Ryan Gregson and Liam Brown, who lost their limbs at a young age, ventured over the edge of Glasgow 's Atlantic Quay office block on Friday. They were raising funds for the charity that has helped them both to adapt to life without the use of hands or feet.

STV News
Bunny whisperers: Meet Scotland's dedicated foster care service for rabbits

Already the proud owners of three fluffy charges, the couple decided to look for another bunny to join their family when they uncovered a disturbing trend in rabbit welfare. Animal wellbeing campaigners report that while rabbits might be the UK's third most popular pet after cats and dogs, they are also in the sad position of being the pet most likely to be abandoned or neglected.

STV News
Odd child Labrinth on bagpipes, X Factor and Emeli Sande

At just 23 years old it could be very easy indeed to be jealous of Timothy "Labrinth" McKenzie. Only just out of his teens when he produced, co-wrote and featured in Tinie Tempah's massive number one hit, Pass Out the young producer has now shot into the charts with his own new track Beneath Your Beautiful featuring Aberdeen singer Emeli Sande, and it would seem his star is set to keep on rising.

STV News
Keane get spooky in their run up to Disconnected UK tour

Dusk has fallen, the trees are rustling as they settle into the gathering darkness and from a nearby vegetable patch the dull thud of a spade shovelling dirt rings out. After a few scrapes and morbid scratchings, the wood on wood bang of a mallet can be heard as a wooden cross is thumped determinedly into damp soil.

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