Buckie & District Fishing Heritage Centre

Chairman’s Report 2015

Having now served my two-year period, later today I stand down from my post of Chairman of the Buckie and District Fishing Heritage Centre. In my report presented to the AGM one year ago I said my first year in office had proved to be a very busy year but above all a very enjoyable one. I can find no better way to describe my past year.

I will miss being Chairman of this organisation. I have enjoyed working with my fellow directors, management committee members and others connected with the organisation. On reflection, as Chairman, what will remain with me is that heart felt desire of everyone involved to work together for the good of the ‘Heritage’.

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 greatly improves the visitors view of the artefacts

When ideas are put forward to make improvements to the building or displays I always find it 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 my 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. I have received many complimentary words about our new website and my 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. My thanks go to John Addison, Hamish Carter, Adam Robertson, Eric Smith, Ron Stewart, John Fowlie and Jim Sutherland and for all their hard 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 and I would thank Jim Sutherland for his work. Jim has now taken on the post of Membership Secretary.

A woman’s hand is always required around the Heritage Centre to keep the place looking spick and span and my thanks must go to Margaret Sutherland and the lady members who always finds a job that needs doing and keeps everything sparkling.

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 Margaret Sutherland and Kathleen Whitham 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 all other 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. A grand total of £541.00 was raised. Special thanks must go to John Addison for his work on the whisky box game, Margaret and Jim Sutherland for organizing the raffles and bottle stall and to the team of volunteers who manned the stall throughout the day.

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. My grateful thanks must go to John Fowlie for the excellent work in producing the newsletters and hope that John will continue to do so to his usual high standard.

Our finances is in a very healthy state and I must thank Kathleen our treasurer for keeping a tight rein on the financial side and ensures we are always in the black.

We have had our share of sad news this year, 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 wish to thank everyone who has assisted me personally throughout this past year. I would like to wish John Addison my congratulations as he shortly steps into my present role and I hope that John will enjoy his time as chairman as much as I have. I thank again my fellow Directors, Post Holders, all Committee Members and volunteers for the support provided to me over the past two years.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to one person in particular who keeps the place running smoothly at all times. He carries out his duties as a matter of course and is always there to keep us right, (especially me). Of course I am talking about our very efficient and hard working Secretary Adam who makes the Chairman’s job a pleasure. Adam I thank you very much for your work for me over the past two years.

I wish the Buckie and District Fishing Heritage Centre every success for the years ahead and I am sure John will get all the help and backing he requires during his term of office.

My sincere thanks to you all.

Jim Farquhar, Chairman, 29th September 2015.