Village hall faces confident future

Village Hall Committee

Following a recent meeting, the Village Hall committee is virtually back to its full complement and ready to face the future with renewed confidence.

It will be remembered that, following the retiral of three members in the course of last year it had not proved possible to elect a committee at the November AGM.

An EGM was called in December when, although several new and enthusiastic members were elected, a chairperson was not. However, on Thursday all was put to rights when Mrs Chris Alexander was elected Chair and Mr Robert Dunsire, Vice-Chair.

Mrs Cathie Williamson and Mrs Sheila Simpson had previously agreed to continue as Secretary and Treasurer respectively and the rest of the committee comprises Mr Robert Alexander, Miss Rebecca Chambers, Mr Gordon Dunlop, Mr Ewan MacKenzie, Mr James Mathers, Mr Clark Simpson, Mrs Isobel Townsend and Mrs Karelia Wright.

Opened in 1879 as the Good Templars’ Hall, the building was bought by the villagers in 1957 and is the hub of the vibrant social life of the community. While over the years organisations have come and gone, currently its weekly users are the Bridge Club, Games Club (badminton and carpet bowls), Arts and Crafts Group and Patchwork group and it is also the regular venue for the monthly meetings of the Community Council, Horticultural Society functions including the Flower Show and seed and plant sales, the annual Christmas Fayre and the afternoon teas provided at the annual Fish Festival.

Importantly, though, because the premises comprise two halls, each with independent access and toilet facilities and, now with a modernised kitchen fully equipped to cater for 60 people, it can host a wide variety of activities ranging from small committee meetings to dances, birthday parties, weddings and professional drama productions.

Nevertheless, as busy as the Hall is, as times change so do trends in leisure pursuits and there may well be notions “out there” just waiting for an opportunity to be turned into reality and should the Village Hall fit the bill then any queries regarding bookings should be made to Mrs Sheila Simpson, Adelaide Cottage, Castle Street. Tel 01561 362280.

Mearns Coastal Parish

The theme of the Rev Colin Dempster’s service in Johnshaven Church on Sunday morning was the pressure and problems facing the young people of today and, preaching from the Book of Ruth, said that Naomi’s example of refusing to deny God despite her difficult circumstances was an example which should be followed by all.

Earlier, the minister informed the congregation that Sunday would be the last occasion, for the time being at least, that young organist, Alexander Jones, would be accompanying the praise and thanked him for his valued contribution.

This Sunday the services will be held at the usual times of 10 a.m. in Johnshaven Church and 11.30 a.m. in St Cyrus Church.

Mearns Coastal Guild

The next meeting of the Guild will be held in the Church Hall on Monday, January 24 at 2.30 p.m. and will take the form of a Scottish afternoon.

Fireworks Spectacular

The annual Fireworks Spectacular will take place at the harbour on Sunday, January 30. The event will be run along the usual lines with refreshments available from 6.30 p.m., the fire dancers performing from 7 p.m. and the first fireworks set off at half past seven.

Since its inception the Fireworks Spectacular has provided lots of enjoyment for both young and old and, whilst it always draws large crowds, there is ample on-street parking to be had in and around the harbour area. It is almost entirely self-financing and the organisers depend to a considerable extent on a collection taken on the night.

Answers to Quiz

It was the Tangleha’ Ceilidh Band who provided the music at the “alternative” New Year’s dance.

The dazzling fireworks display was created by Fireworx Scotland.

The acronym SHARK stands for Safe Habitat Alliance Rural Kincardineshire.

The annual Thinking Day Service in Johnshaven Church was conducted by locum minister, Mr Gordon Anderson.

Mr Don Blease was re-elected Chair of the Wairds Park Committee.

CHAP Construction is the name of the firm who began construction of the new houses at Golden Acre.

The Rev Colin Dempster previously ministered at Tayport in Fife.

It was Mrs Fiona Dundas who had the honour of throwing the first jack at the opening of the bowling green.

The Johnshaven artist who had two photos of the Old Course unveiled was Stephen Shankland.

The art exhibition in the Lifeboat House was held by the Artists and Makers.

Ten year-old Blair Dunbar spent a fabulous week-end in London representing the Primary School in the final of the Generation Green Top Trumps competition.

The “Johnner Mail” successfully delivered the best designed car at the Shell Greenpower competition at the Alford Transport Museum.

It was Joyce Marr who won the award for the pensioner’s best kept garden.

The father and son partnership who won the Major L. Kerr Trophy for the ninth successive year was Michael Craig, Snr and Michael Craig, Jnr.

It was the Caledonian Deeside Pipe Band who performed at the August Fish Festival.

Kate MacKenzie was delighted to have been invited to Haddo House because her Starfish Studio received a Highly Commended award at Aberdeenshire Council’s Design Awards event.

The two groups who organised café days during the NEOS event were SHARK and the Friends of Johnshaven Primary School.

The Johnshaven Church in Castle Street celebrated its 150th anniversary in October.

The production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” was unusual because all the actors wore masks.

The Project Manager at the Mill of Benholm is Mr Mike Burleigh.

If you scored between 16 and 20 you really have your finger on the pulse of the community. Between 10 and 15 you are at least likely to have been part of the community. Fewer than 10 and perhaps yours is a parallel universe.

The Past is never far Away

Twenty five years ago this week-end life returned to the site of the former railway station and sidings when most of the tenants of the local authority’s 12-house development at Station Place moved into their new homes.

After the last passenger train had puffed its way back to Montrose on 26 May 1966 the buildings, which in the hey-day of the Bervie Express were a hive of activity, were demolished leaving the area to lie forlorn and neglected for almost 20 years.

In 1985, however, Kincardine and Deeside District Council embarked on a building programme which included increasing their housing stock in Johnshaven and when occupation time came in January 1986 some of the tenants did not have to flit very far, seven of them moving the very short distance from the prefabs in Golden Acre.

Built shortly after the end of the Second World War the prefabs were intended only as temporary accommodation but they long outlasted their anticipated lifespan. Indeed, the families who lived in them found them to be very much to their liking and in time grew to have a certain affection for their compact and cosy homes.

It was only in their last two years that the Johnshaven prefabs began to show any obvious signs of deterioration and, in fact, it was just in the week before the change that one dwelling at least required its first repair, when the lady of the house slammed a door and a pane of glass in the kitchen window fell out!

Although the tenants had been happy enough in the Golden Acre prefabs there was little controversy about their move “across the road”.

The same could not be said, though, about the naming of the new street. The original proposal was to call it Finella Place and it took some pressure from the Community Council before this was changed to Station Place, not so aesthetically pleasing perhaps, but certainly more historically appropriate.