Our colleague, Past-President Ken Johnston has been made a Paul Harris Fellow recognising his service in Rotary, where he has done various jobs, particularly in community service and publicity. Keeping the members connected through Covid was of crucial importance and this he did, more or less single-handedly, maintaining members’ morale.
Ken and Kath Johnston are well known in the community. Ken as former Divisional Planning Manager with Highland Council and more recently supporting the Upper Achintore Recreation Group project, currently underway. For many years Kath has recycled Christmas cards into gift tags, to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation.
Commenting on the award, Ken said; “I’m proud to have received this award from Rotary. The weekly newsletter was a collaborative effort. I enjoyed collating and editing all the articles and photographs contributed by our members and others with an interest in Rotary over the eighteen months of lockdown. The feedback and general response was good and encouraging. Many thanks to everyone and in particular to our Press & Publicity Convener John Hutchison for his continuing support.
President Simon Hardiman, said; “At a time when we were unable to meet in person, Ken maintained the spirit of our existence by producing 75 weekly updates which made one and all feel less isolated and part of the family that is Rotary.”
On Saturday 24 November, the Rotary Club of Lochaber, supported by principal sponsors Ferguson Transport and Shipping, laid on a pre-Christmas event packed with entertainment and activity as well as showcasing Lochaber’s wide range of quality crafts and food products on display in the Nevis Centre. Blessed with a bright clear November morning, Santa and his team of Cairngorm reindeer were the highlights of the all-day festival. Supported by little elves David Rodgers, nine, from Roybridge and Aine MacPhie, six, from Mallaig, and led by the Lochaber Pipe Band and the young cheerleaders the Ben Nevis Allstars, Santa’s sleigh paraded from Cameron Square to the Nevis Centre followed by hundreds of enthusiastic youngsters and their parents.
Aine and David, winners of the Lochaber Times’ Christmas Card message competition, then joined Santa in his Grotto to help hand out gifts and toys to well over 300 children over the ensuing three hours. The stallholders reported steady business peaking in the early afternoon when the hall was packed with visitors enjoying the vast array of craftwork merchandise and festive products much of it unique to Lochaber. Also entertaining the crowds was non-stop music from Buskers’ Corner where seven acts, including the Great Glen Swing Band and the Lochaber Showstoppers, who performed live over the course of the day.
The Bouncy Castle, Santa’s Postbox and the Light Garden tearoom were also major attractions and the “6 Classic Malts” whisky raffle, won by retired teacher Gail Young from Banavie, raised over £1,000 for local charities. Alasdair Ferguson, managing director of Ferguson Transport & Shipping, said “We were once again delighted to continue this year as main sponsor for the Rotary Club of Lochaber’s 11th Annual Christmas Festival. The event, as always, was a great success building on previous years’ successes. We were delighted to once again fund the cost of bringing the reindeer and sleigh to Fort William”.
Club President Iain Johnston, while emphasising that the festival is more about a community event than about raising money, thanked Ferguson Transport for their continued sponsorship and said “I would like to thank everyone who has made this such a successful day – the stallholders, the Nevis Centre staff, the Cairngorm reindeer company, fellow Rotarians and most of all the general public. Thanks again to everyone, and we hope to see you all back next year at our twelfth festival”.
Photos courtesy of Abrightside Photography
The Rotary Club of Lochaber was pleased to welcome several visitors to its lunchtime meeting on 8th November.
Pictured are (from left): Scott Greenlees, who was inducted into membership that day; Alastair Nicolson, son of Angus Nicolson; President Donald; Sean Sessions of 6th Lochaber (The Braes) Scout Group; Simon Hardiman, guest of Robbie Robertson; and Sheana Fraser who gave a talk at the meeting on her recent trip to Peru.
Lochaber Rotary Club stalwart and long-term Club treasurer, Cameron Sommerville, is presented with a certificate to recognise his 25 years of membership.
Presenting the certificate is Club President Donald McCorkindale flanked by past-president David Robertson and members of the club. Cameron was the manager of the Fort William Branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland for many years and, in recent years, has worked closely with the local Cancer Research shop in its “Bags for Life” fundraising campaigns. Cameron is leaving the area to be closer to his family. Club members extended their appreciation of Cameron’s many years of community work and conveyed their warm wishes for the future.
Thanks to Iain Ferguson for the photo’ of the presentation.
At the Club’s Lunchtime meeting on 9th August, Anja Ruijlarsdaam, of the Rotary Club of Borgenopzoom, in Huijbergen Holland, joined us for lunch and presented us with her club’s banner.
Pictured is Terry presenting her banner to President Donald at the meeting on 23rd August.
Thanks to Iain Ferguson for the photo.