CHAIRMAN’S REPORT – 27th September 2016 Appendix 1
I have now reached the half way point in my period of Chairmanship of the Buckie and District Fishing Heritage Centre. My first year in office had proved to be a very busy year but above all a very enjoyable one.
One fact I quickly realised when I took over as Chairman was that, I had the privilege of working as part of a team with one common aim, namely to provide our visitors with the best possible experience when they visit the Fishing Heritage Centre. My grateful thanks must therefore go my fellow directors, post holders, such as our treasurer and secretary, the members of the Management Committee and the attendees who turn out each week to welcome and guide our visitors.
Our main achievement this year has been the award of a ‘four star’ visitor attraction from Visit Scotland. This now places our Heritage Centre on a par with many of the better known and professionally run museums throughout Scotland. No mean achievement for a volunteer run organisation. My thanks must go principally to the attendants within each of the squads for the warm welcome and the attention they bestow upon our visitors. Well done to you all!
Having a four star rating is a challenge in itself however as we need to maintain the standards now required of us. We have therefore made some further improvements to address the recommendations contained within the Visit Scotland report. We now display our opening hours on the permanent panel fixed to the entrance door, each of us are now identifiable to our visitors by wearing name badges, we are about to replace the rather faded sign at the end of the path and we now have a Facebook page. More on Facebook later.
It has been a year where we have reached out beyond the confines of this building with two successful displays of paintings. The first of these took place in Elgin Library in June when we displayed over fifty paintings and photographs. This was followed by a smaller display of paintings within the library at Buckie. Reviews from both displays have been excellent and most encouraging.
Our Fishing Heritage Centre is about allowing people a glimpse of the past and in particular that of the past fishing industry. We have had the privilege to welcome many parties to the Heritage Centre over the last year to enjoy looking around and learn from the artefacts and photographs we have available. Visits included Buckie Rotary Club, Keith Probus Club, Parklands residents, Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons’ Groups, and talks were provided in to the residents of Wakefield Nursing Home in Cullen.
Children and young people are important and we were privileged in January to have a visit by the young men of the 1st Buckie Company of the Boys Brigade. The young men adopted the Heritage Centre to receive their charity collection and we accepted a very generous cheque to the value of £400 from the young men. Two classes also paid a visit from Bishopmill Primary School in Elgin and we enjoyed visits by students of Moray College.
Keith Rotary Club now hosts an annual walk of the Fishwives path from Keith to Buckie. The Fishing Heritage Centre fulfils a need for a finishing point and last year we saw 93 walkers use our premises. The annual walk took place again last week with equal support from the public.
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 well over £3000 thus allowing 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.
In November we attended the Buckie Christmas Kracker and sold our books and calendars. We had a vey good raffle and bottle stall and my thanks must go to Margaret and Jim Sutherland for their work on the raffle and bottle stalls. We were fortunate in raising £329 at this year’s event.
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.
We continue to sell a large proportion of books. To fulfil many requests over the past two or three years we re-printed one of our original publications, Herd and Mackenzie, The Story of a Shipyard. It also seemed appropriate that, in order mark the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Fishing Heritage Centre, we published a small book containing some photographs taken from our photographic collection, ‘Scenes of Yore’ was published in early July which again has sold well.
As is our normal practice, the first three months of each year are devoted to changing displays and attempting to create a new look for visitors when reopening. This year was no exception. These first months saw all photographs displayed changed, and new display dedicated to a local football ace, Alex Wilson. My thanks go to Jim Farquhar, Hamish Carter, Adam Robertson, Eric Smith, Ron Stewart and Jim Sutherland and for all their hard work
Something completely new for this year was the formation of our ‘Listening Corner’. This allows public the opportunity to listen to the many accounts of people’s work careers and experiences around the early years of the last century but spoken in the local Doric with an English translation just in case of difficulty! I must thank John Fowlie for the research and preparation of scripts and to the John Sandison and the ladies of the ‘Buckie Bleathers’ for the translation to Doric.
To major tasks which has achieved great benefit are the replacement of our rather out dated computer system with two new computers capable of fulfilling our needs, a new Broadband installation and my thanks must go to to Bob Smith our computer expert, for this work. The ability to search and locate photographs and information at the touch of a button is now possible together with an endless loop of photographs on display. We have also a very accurate members data base and thanks to our membership secretary, Jim Sutherland we can now obtain accurate and up to date reports as to our current membership.
We were fortunate that in June, we were approached by Caroline Hood, a social media student studying at Robert Gordon’s University in Aberdeen. As part of her project, Caroline offered to design and construct a Facebook page for us. Not only has this addressed one of the Visit Scotland recommendations but has also provided Buckie people all over the country and much further afield with a means by which they may comment upon the various pieces of news and photographs that are displayed on our Facebook page. They can also post an enquiry and invite comments from others. Facebook, combine with our present website takes the Fishing Heritage out of this building to people all over the world where a Broadband connection is possible.
We have had our share of sad news, John Cowie, died at Seafield Hospital on 8th October was a long serving attendee and member of the Management Committee. Stuart Thain who passed away on 5th November. Stuart will be sorely missed as a very willing attendee, and for his cheery personality and his wealth of knowledge and also former Chairman and Director Hugh Patience. Hugh remained a member of the Management Committee until his death. Hugh will be sadly missed.
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 year.
I hope to support Buckie and District Fishing Heritage Centre over the next twelve months to the best of my ability, thanks to you all.
John Addison, Chairman, 27th September 2016.