My first year in office has proved to be a very busy year but above all a very enjoyable one.
It has been a pleasure working with my fellow directors, post holders and committee members and looking back over the year I feel that we have achieved a lot to promote the Heritage Centre.
Our main achievement over the past 12 months has been the landscaping work that was carried out in the early part of the year. Although work commenced ‘on site’ at the start of February in some respects this was the culmination of a lot work by a team which was led by Ron Stewart and Adam Robertson who used their past experience to get the project completed. This work involved securing the funding for the project, obtaining planning permissions, agreeing final designs, and obtaining and accepting the contractors for the project. Once work commenced there were ongoing questions that required answers and decisions that had to be made. Upon completion of the work, contractor payments and grant reimbursements had to be finalised.
On 29th May 2014 we were honoured by having Mr Oliver and Mrs Clare Russell as guests at the official opening of the new landscaped area. The official opening was carried out by Mrs Russell. The event was attended by representatives of our grant funders, local Councillors and others involved with the project.
I am glad to say that all the hard work that the landscaping project involved has proved well worthwhile with many compliments on our achievements having been received.
October saw the delivery from the printers of Volumes 1 and 2 of our BF Motorboats series. The books were dedicated to our past Chairmen Sandy Sutherland and Willie Mair and we were delighted that both families could attend the informal launch of the books on Friday 25th October. Volume 3 of the BF Motorboats series followed in June this year and, although no formal launch took place, John held a very successful book signing at Meadowlands in Banff on Saturday 14th June. A very concise index has also been produced by John that covers all three volumes.
I must offer my sincere thanks and congratulations to John Addison. The level of knowledge and dedication required in producing these three books and index is vast. The three volumes have proved very popular with many sales now recorded. The books also support our aim to record and preserve the fishing heritage of this area for future generations.
Staying with the publication of books, the official launch of the book ‘Toons Fowk, Fermers and the Fisher folk at War’ took place in the British Legion hall on Monday 18th August. This book, researched and written by John Crawford with some assistance from John Fowlie, records the main events of WW1 with the emphasis placed on the north east of Scotland. After reading this book you will be amazed at the amount of time and research it must have taken to produce the final article. Our thanks go to John for turning out an excellent publication.
Although published by the Heritage Centre, any profit made from the book, once all printing costs have been recovered, will be shared with the local branch of the British Legion.
On a very sad note we lost one of our main stays when John Anderson, known to us all as Johnnie Hughes died last year on 5th November. It goes without saying that we all benefited from Johnnie’s wealth of knowledge. Johnnie will be sadly missed.
The Buckie Christmas Kracker event was attended once more. This proved very successful in regard to sales of our books for Christmas presents. A grand total of £506.76 was raised due to a great extent to the excellent bottle stall organised by Margaret and Jim Sutherland.
At the end of December we were successful in purchasing the three model ships, ‘Shapinsay’, ‘Captain Scott’ and ‘Star of Loretto’ from Mr Steven Raeside of the Scottish Industrial Preservation Trust. We were able to purchase the models for the price paid at auction and in addition to the models we were gifted a water colour of timber boats under construction within the Buckie Shipyard. It was therefore very sad news when we learned of Mr Raeside’s untimely death in May of this year.
With the help of Bob Smith, work on the member’s data base has continued. The data base allows us to run various reports so that we may have a clearer picture as to members who have paid their subs and those who are outstanding; it also allows us to produce standard letters for our members and can be used to send newsletters by email. My thanks go to Bob Smith and to the team who have been regularly meeting to enter the details of our members into the data base.
Our membership remains stable with many of these members being spread throughout the world. I also wish to thank Peter Charlesworth who manually undertook these duties prior to our data base being created.
We always receive great feedback in relation to the Heritage Newsletters. These provide a very important link for exiles around the world and locals alike. The Newsletters are probably the reason why we have so many members residing out with the Buckie area. Great credit and thanks must go to John Fowlie for the excellent work that he undertakes in researching, editing and producing these newsletters. I know that this year has had its difficulties in obtaining the newsletters from our printers within the timescale required and this has increased the workload on John.
Over the year we have had our three Coffee Mornings, two in Buckie and one in Findochty, the last one being on Saturday past. As usual, these are always very well supported by the local people and together raise much needed income. This income allows us to continue our work during these hard financial times. My special thanks must go to Kathleen and Margaret and all other members who each time turn out to support the event.
Like past years, the last twelve months has seen an increase in visitor numbers. One aspect of this has been the increase in the number of organised visits by guilds, local groups and most importantly, by local schools. Many thanks must go to John Addison for his work in providing slide shows and commentaries for the visiting groups, Kathleen, Elsie and Margaret for carrying out the catering and wardrobe duties for these events.
Visiting groups over the last twelve months have included,
o Portknockie Primary School
o Bishopmill Primary School
o Cluny Primary (2 group visits)
o Findochty Primary School
o Buckie High School (5 group visits)
o Newmill Primary School
o Cullen Church Guild
o Netherdale SWRI
o Buckie BALL Group
o The Parkinson’s Group
Other bookings are also in the diary for later in the year.
To close, there is much to look forward to and hard work planned for over the winter. It is hoped that we may improve the lighting within the display cabinets and possibly expand on these. There is also much work needed to record our artefacts into our computer system.
I wish to thank everyone who has assisted me personally throughout this past year in my role as Chairman. I would like to thank John Addison in particular who stood in for me when my wife Margaret was ill at the start of the year.
There is one person in particular I have omitted to name in my thanks up to now and that is Secretary Adam. Without a good Secretary we would find it difficult to function and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Adam for all his work up front, and behind the scenes, during the past year.
With the support of my fellow Directors, Post Holders and Committee Members it is my wish that we may progress the advancement of the Heritage Centre to maintain the high standing that it has earned in the eyes of the many visitors who enter the premises.
Thanks to you all.
Jim Farquhar, Chairman, 23rd September 2014.