Annual Progress Report – 29th September 2015
Our main achievement over the past 12 months has been the installation of low energy lighting. This also included providing lighting within the display cases which now greatly improves the visitors view of the artefacts
When ideas are put forward to make improvements to the building or displays it is quite astonishing the help that may be obtained from other organisations. In the case of the new lighting, our application to the Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation for help towards funding the project was accepted and thanks must go to Miss Kay Jackson of the Foundation for her support.
There is a new display cabinet and we have a new updated web site. Many complimentary words about our new website have been received and thanks must go to Neil Hedley who guided us through the various stages before arriving at what we now have. Much of our books and publications are now sold ‘on line’.
A new display cabinet has also been purchased thanks to grants received from the Buckie Welfare Society and the Buckie and Elgin Rotary Clubs.
On 10th June it was our privilege to invite representatives from The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation, The Buckie Welfare Society and the Rotary Clubs of Buckie and Elgin to view the Heritage Centre and allow us to thank these people personally for the financial contributions that we received.
As in years past, much work is carried out over the closed season. This year work was carried out within our store in order to catalogue and make a record of the artefacts held there. This was cold and at times dusty and dirty work. Also within the Heritage Centre itself similar work was carried out although cataloguing of artefacts such as photographs may become a never ending task. Leading up to our Spring opening date, it was also necessary to remove everything from the display cases to allow the electricians space and freedom to work installing the new lighting and, when completed, put everything back. This delayed the opening of the Heritage Centre by one week.
Much thanks must go to a dedicated team of volunteers who turned up each morning to undertake this work.
With the help of Bob Smith, work on the members’ data base has continued. The data base allows us to run various reports so that we may have a clear picture as to members who have paid their subs and those who are outstanding. The data base has been built up as this year’s subscriptions were received.
It has been a busy year for visits, particularly by schools. Over the winter, we had the pleasure of being involved with a project undertaken by Primary 6 and 7 pupils of Cluny Primary School. Their project, which looked at the development of the local fishing industry, involved visits to the Heritage Centre and Seamen’s Memorial Chapel and also some of our members visited the school to speak to the children. Cluny’s project provided an excellent example of how the artefacts and the personal knowledge of our members may be put to best use in passing on knowledge to the youngsters. It was also very gratifying to see the pupils taking such an interest in the past.
Other School visits this year have included, Buckie High School, Newmill Primary, Bishopmill Primary and St Peters Primary School. Special thanks must go to ladies for looking after the children and helping the children model our fishwives’ and fishermen’s costumes.
Visits by Guilds and Organisations continue with visits from South and West Church Guild, Buckie and Keith Area Parkinson’s Group, Buckie and District Cancer Support Group and St Peters Guild.
Two weeks ago the Keith Rotary Club requested to use the Fishing Heritage Centre
as a finishing venue for the third annual walk from Keith to Buckie using the Fishwives Walk. Over ninety walkers enjoyed tea and spent time looking around the Centre. Again I am indebted to some of the Board Members for assisting with this.
Like past years, visitor numbers have remained healthy. Although the area has seen a general downturn in visitor numbers, visitors to the Heritage Centre have remained quite steady and end of year figures are projected to show only a marginal reduction from that of last year. People have visited from as far afield as New Zealand, Australia and Canada with quite a number of American friends, many of who return.
Although no new books have been produced in the last twelve months, our sale of books remains very healthy. The decision was taken to reprint a quantity of the Herd and Mackenzie book – The Story of a Shipyard. Last week we received a delivery of one hundred copies. Although sold out two to three years ago, we continue to receive requests for this book and hopefully this latest delivery will ensure a healthy stock for some years to come.
Over the year we have had our three Coffee Mornings as usual. The first in May in the North Church Hall, Findochty Town Hall in July and again in the North Church Hall earlier this month. Together, these three events raised over £3000 thus allowing us to continue our work during these hard financial times. My special thanks must go to members who each time turn out to support the event.
The Buckie Christmas Kracker event was attended once more. This proved very successful in regard to sales of our books for Christmas presents.
Our Heritage Newsletters provides a very important link for all members and especially Buckie exiles around the world. I have no doubt that the newsletters are one of the reasons we enjoy such a healthy membership, especially those residing outwith the Buckie area. I have heard stories of newsletters being passed from family member to family member and then to friends.
We have had our share of sad news, Ian Wallace died on Wednesday 12th August and Andy Garden on Sunday 23rd August. These members will be sorely missed and our thoughts are with their families. At our AGM last September I had the pleasure of presenting Andy with an Honorary Membership Certificate for his service to the Fishing Heritage Centre.
To close on a happier note, I thank again my fellow Directors, Post Holders and Committee Members for the support provided to me over the past two years.
I wish the Buckie and District Fishing Heritage Centre every success for the years ahead.
Thanks to you all.