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
DONALD GAINS “LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT” AWARD – 2nd July
The Club congratulates Past President Donald Young on his recent and well-deserved award of a “Lifetime Achievement” Award at the 4th Lochaber VOSCARS event organised by Voluntary Action Lochaber as part of National Volunteers Week.
The event attracts a huge amount of interest and involves an independent panel who meet to assess all the nominations and to select the top three nominees for each of the seven categories. This year, nine individuals from across Lochaber were nominated for the “Lifetime Achievement” Award which recognises an individual who has over many years been involved in voluntary work. The independent panel, following careful deliberation, unanimously agreed that the award should go to Donald.
Extracts from the nomination forms include “Donald is involved with a number of charities simultaneously. He gives full support to each by taking a ‘hands-on’ approach. Donald is reliable, discreet, and adds value to any decision making”. Other comments include “Donald is a ‘gentle giant’, not seeking recognition, and is very supportive. It is only by getting to know him that you discover the extent of his voluntary work”
For many years Donald was secretary of the Rotary Club of Lochaber while, at the same time, continuing to volunteer help with Club projects. He has organised the Young Chef competition with the four high-schools and the Am-Am golf tournament on several occasions. He is also a Past President of the Club.
Donald is also a voluntary director of Linnhe Leisure/Nevis Centre where his quantity surveying background has proved invaluable in gathering together information in relation to the premises which has helped inform the Centre’s successful funding applications for much-needed refurbishment.
Donald chairs VAL Board of Directors and is secretary of Lochaber Rugby Club. In addition, he has been instrumental in restarting the Claggan Greenfingers Community Garden Project by enlisting volunteers and acquiring funding. He has gained the support of the M&S Food Hall through their new local store and Greenfingers was selected as one of their Community Projects for the year”.
Club President Iain Johnston said he was delighted that Donald’s support for voluntary and community projects had been recognised and added “This fits well with the Rotary ethos of ‘Service above Self’. In previous years the Award has gone to other fellows Rotarians, Sheana Fraser and John Hutchison”.
The picture, courtesy of Iain Ferguson, shows Donald receiving his trophy and certificate from Grace Grant.
The bronze £90,000 replica full-scale Model T Ford has finally arrived at Cameron Square and several Rotarians were there on Saturday 19 May to assist and support the project.
Our pictures show Rotarians Margaret Boyd, Robbie Robertson, George Bruce, John Hutchison and Charlie Moore.
We welcome this inventive iconic sculpture. … a visitor attraction as well as a commemorative statement of the town’s heritage … … no doubt it will rival “sair feet” as a photo opportunity!
Well done the West Highland Museum!
at Saturday’s unveiling of the bronze Model T Ford. Great to see Charlie out and about. He served our Club as Treasurer and as Auditor for many years and when he retired we recognised his decades of support by awarding him honorary membership.
At its weekly business lunch meeting on 23 January in the Alexandra Hotel, 32 members and guests of Lochaber Rotary Club celebrated the life and songs of Robert Burns with a fine meal of game terrine and traditional haggis with neeps.
In the absence of a piper, Rotarian musicians Sheana Fraser and Richard Baxter provided a fiddle and guitar accompaniment to the Alexandra Hotel’s Angela Nolan as she carried the haggis aloft on a silver salver before past-president John Hutchison ably and energetically addressed the beast with a stirring rendition of Rabbie’s “fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great Chieftain o’ the Puddin-race!”.
After lunch members continued their tribute to Rabbie when John led them in singing “Aye Fond Kiss” and in a lively performance of “Green Grow the Rashes”. President-Elect Iain Johnston thanked John, Sheana, Richard and Angela for an excellent and memorable session of lunchtime entertainment. Members applauded enthusiastically.
President-Elect Iain Johnston, Rotarians Sheana Fraser and Richard Baxter, and Angela Nolan with the haggis on the silver salver.
The book “Bedtime Stories from the Scottish Highlands” was launched on Saturday 18th November 2017 at the Highland Bookshop in Fort William by the Rotary Club of Lochaber.
Last week, the club’s treasurer informed me that sales of the book, over the Christmas period, had amounted to £2,548.86. As the only expenses was the printer’s bill of £1,495.00, this means that two months from the launch date, the club has already raised £1,089.86 for its charitable work. I would like to thank the Rotarians, and others, who manned the stall at the Christmas Festival and at Morrisons for their efforts in selling the book. Thanks to friends who sold the book and recommended it to others. Thanks to all the businesses who are now stocking it. Thanks for the very kind comments that some have made to me. But special thanks go to those of you who have bought it, and hopefully have used it as a bedtime story.
I have started writing new stories. My first one is on the now familiar theme of the Loch Ness Monster gong to someone’s aid. I read this story to the residents at Abbeyfield House a couple of weeks ago and they seemed to enjoy it.
My intention is to put an occasional update of the project onto this Facebook page.
A big thanks to everyone who supported me as I stepped out onto this very strange, and at times frightening, venture for me.
Best wishes for 2018.