Another successful Rotary Club Annual Charter Dinner was held on Saturday, 1st December. Nearly 70 Rotarians and guests were treated to an excellent 4-course meal at the Alexandra Hotel, Fort William and enjoyed a sparkling after-dinner talk from their constituent MSP Kate Forbes – just fresh from being awarded a “Rising Star” accolade at the Herald’s “Scottish Politician of the Year” award. Kate’s talk focused on Scottish identity and our perception of ourselves. She, herself, had a “very confused upbringing”. Originally from Dingwall, she lived in India for eight years (the only Scottish child who went to school in a rickshaw!), then Glasgow, before returning to Dingwall Academy. She then studied at Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities graduating with a BA Honours in History and an M.Litt in immigration studies.
Kate admitted that “politics is my bread and butter”. She worked in Dave Thomson’s support team before succeeding him and being elected MSP for Skye, Lochaber & Badenoch in 2016. She described her constituency as the “best in Scotland”.  Turning to Rotary, Kate said she was very aware of the work of the Rotary Club and its involvement in mentoring youth, advising on career choices and opportunities. Kate said “I’ve benefitted enormously from the work that you do” and concluded by proposing a Toast to the Rotary Club of Lochaber”.

Club President Iain Johnston thanked Kate for a very engaging and relevant talk before inviting past president John Hutchison to propose a vote of thanks on behalf of the Club
John reminded those present that the Herald had also picked out Kate as “one to watch” in the Scottish political arena and added his own accolade – “you’ve done no bad hen” – before wishing her well in the future”.


Photo courtesy of Iain Ferguson
Back row: Margaret Boyd, Celia Talbot, President-Elect Clive Talbot and Jane MacIntyre
Front row: Kate Forbes MSP, Vivien Johnston, President Iain Johnston and Oban President Iain MacIntyre.




With good support from both locals and visitors, the Lochaber Rotary Club opened the first of its three Saturday pop-up café events on the 14th of July.

The pop-up café, which is situated in the hall at the Duncansburgh MacIntosh Church on the Parade Green, will be open again on 22nd September and 27th October when, once again, tea/coffee and cake/traybake will be available from 11 am till 3 pm, with soup and sandwiches being served from 12 till 2 pm.

All the dishes are homemade, with a range of amply filled sandwiches, a choice of three soups and an array of cakes and traybakes. Apart from the cost of renting the hall, the Club has no other overheads. All the income goes to worthy charitable causes.

Club President Iain Johnston said “While we were delighted with the public support we could have comfortably welcomed more. We entertained around 60 people in the café. It was a fantastic atmosphere and a great time was had by all.” Iain added, “Thanks also to my Rotary colleagues for all their hard work and to Sheila Sutton, widow of the late Past-President Mick Sutton, for her support”.

Photo – The Rotary “Pop-Up” Team who made the event a great success… Missing are Mike MacGruer and Terry Lee.

Book launch  November 18th 2017

Book launch November 18th 2017

Thanks to everyone who came to our book launch at The Highland Bookshop. A report with pictures will follow. Thanks to Sarah Lou and everyone at the bookshop for their incredible hospitality.

Illustrators Connor, Kerr and Rocco were there too.

The next big event for the book will be our sales at the Rotary Christmas Festival.

See you there.

Santa’s Elves are chosen to ride on the sleigh at the Rotary Christmas Festival on 25th November 2017

Santa’s Elves are chosen to ride on the sleigh at the Rotary Christmas Festival on 25th November 2017

At the lunchtime meeting of the Rotary Club of Lochaber on Wednesday 15th November, Jodie Ferguson and Mairi Sandison from Ferguson Transport judged the Christmas Card Message competition which was set to decide who would ride on the sleigh with Santa along Fort William High Street heading towards the Nevis Centre for the Rotary Christmas Festival on Saturday 25th November.

Chosen as best out of 123 entries from the primary schools of Lochaber was Faolan Hunter, age 9, Lundavra Primary School and Kayla Duncan, age 8, Caol Primary School. We congratulate them both and hope that they enjoy this memorable experience. Their poems are below.

The Club hopes to promote a Christmas Card design competition in the run-up to Christmas 2018 and the messages will be used in the cards.

Ferguson Transport and Shipping pay all costs for the reindeer to come to Fort William for the festival.

Pictured are Jodie and Mairi along with Rotarians Margaret Boyd and Geoff Heathcote.

Here are the winning messages –

Faolan Hunter, age 9, Lundavra Primary School
It’s time to decorate your tree
it’s time to be full of glee
Christmas time is full of joy
for every girl and every boy
Watch Santa fly
and zoom through the sky
Look at the snow
and its amazing glow

Kayla Duncan, age 8, Caol Primary School
Wishing you lots of Christmas cheer
Santa’s coming with his reindeer
Snow is falling from the sky
Children making snow angels as they lie

Who is coming down the chimney tonight?
As quick as a flash Santa is out of sight
Listen to the angels sing
Isn’t it the loveliest thing