Unsung heroes praised for saving Tolbooth

MEMBERS of the Stonehaven community who pulled together to re-open the Tolbooth Museum were praised at this week’s meeting of the community council.

And it was also revealed that the newly re-opened museum, which opened its doors to the public on May 28, has so far attracted over 700 visitors through its doors.

The ancient 16th century building has housed the museum since 1963, but the attraction was closed and the building emptied earlier this year as it fell victim to Aberdeenshire Council’s budget cuts.

Volunteers in Stonehaven have since banded together to reclaim some of the displays and it is now being run entirely be volunteers from the community, and is open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1.30pm-4.30pm.

Speaking at Tuesday’s community council meeting, chair David Fleming said: “Congratulations to everyone who put a lot of effort into getting the Tolbooth open on May 28. A lot of people were working very hard behind the scenes to make it happen.

“It was a real community effort and it shows what we can achieve when we all pull together to do something in a crisis.”

Stonehaven and Lower Deeside Councillor Peter Bellarby added: “The success of getting the Tolbooth Museum up and running again is due to a large number of people who have contributed their time, skills and effort. There are a lot of people, whose names have not been publicised, who have given a lot of time and effort to this being a success. Our thanks must go to them.”

Community councillor Phil Mills-Bishop said that, while there had been a large amount of support and encouragement, only a small number of volunteers remained who were actually wiling to work there, meaning that the museum is only able to open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The community council nominated three of its members to join a committee in conjunction with members from the Stonehaven Town Partnership and and the Stonehaven Heritage Society to form the Tolbooth Group, who will be responsible for the day to day operations and security of the site as well as for recruitment and deployment of volunteers.