Sign of the Times

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Over the years the face of Stonehaven has changed with shops and businesses closing and making way for new ventures. With the changing face of the town, some historical buildings have been lost along with their signs which, for many residents, will have been very familiar and an iconic part of the town. However, there is now a chance to own on a piece of the heritage of the town as some of the town’s historic signs are set to go under the hammer in the Town’s first auction on the green which will take place this weekend (Saturday July 28).

Signs from the St Leonard’s Hotel and the Press and Journal office in Stonehaven will be auctioned off in aid of the neonatal unit of Aberdeen Hospital.

These lots will take place during the auction on the green at Stonehaven Bowling Club. The auction is the idea of Stonehaven Community Councillor Phil Mills-Bishop who explained that he feels that it is important that Stonehaven has an auction as it is a market town.

While organising the auction, Phil decided he wanted to have a charity lot to raise money for the Neonatal unit in Aberdeen which provided care for his family.

Phil’s daughter Kirsty experienced the care that the neonatal support unit offers when her twins were born prematurely last year.

Kirsty said: “Kai and Aiden where born on December 3 2010 - I was 25 weeks at the time. Aiden was 1lb 9ozs and Kai 1lb 10ozs. Aiden passed away a little while later. Kai went on to spend just over 14 weeks in the Neonatal Unit.

Kai has had many ups and downs, infections, blood transfusions, double hernia operation and oxygen support for 13.5wks to name a few things.

“Kai would not be here without the Doctors and Nurses from the Neonatal Unit. SANDS (Still Born and Neonatal Death) Aberdeen and “Friends of the Special Nursery” have also been such a great help with helping me cope with what happened to Aiden.”

Phil came up with the idea of “Sign of the times” to support the unit and to also protect a piece of the Town’s heritage. He contacted people and businesses in order to get access to some of the Town’s historic pieces.

He explained that if nothing was done with the signs they would end up in a skip and would never be seen again. He explained that he didn’t want this to happen as many of the signs have monetary and historical value.

He said: “Signs have a value, people collect them. Also, in this case, there will be some people who see this as an opportunity to own a piece of Stonehaven.”

He also explained that the signs being taken down and then bought by someone would provide closure.

He said: “Changing conditions in the town mean there have been numerous articles about the lack of accommodation and the closing of the hotels. Auctioning the signs is almost a full stop.

“I think there are some things we should try to preserve and I think this is a little bit of the history that we can keep. A piece of the history of the Stonehaven hotels.”

Phil hopes that this will be the first of many auctions in Stonehaven, and if demand is there, is planning on making them a regular occurrence, holding one every two months.

He has been contacting a number of people and businesses in the town and is hoping to get more signs for later auctions and is hoping to therefore continue raising money for the Aberdeen hospital unit.

The Collectable and antiques sale will take place on Saturday July 28, from 12-4pm at Stonehaven Bowling CLub.

For more information contact auctiononthegreen@hotmail.co.uk or call 07906114158.