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January. More often than not, a dreich and miserable month, and this year has been no different, with just about everything being thrown at us, bitingly cold winds, rain, frost and even the odd flurry of snow. What better way, then, to be cheered up than to come along to Johnshaven’s Firework Spectacular at the harbour this Sunday, January 25. Beginning at 6.30 pm the hugely popular event will follow the usual pattern, with preliminary entertainment at 7 preceding the first of the fireworks soaring high into the sky at 7.30 pm. with hot and cold drinks being available throughout the proceedings.
The first community council meeting of the New Year, held in the Village Hall last Wednesday, was a fairly low-key affair with all the business completed in little over an hour. Nevertheless, there were a number of items on the agenda of considerable interest both to the councillors and the four members of the public present.
With regard to the Mill of Benholm which, of course, has been closed to the public since the spring of last year, the meeting was informed that the AGM of the Trust is scheduled to take place in the Village Hall this Sunday, January 25, at 3pm. This will be an extremely important meeting, as it is likely to determine the future of the A-listed building.
Until last year, it had been managed by the Mill of Benholm Trust, in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council, both as a tourist attraction and as a facility providing training and support for adults with special needs. More recently, however, Cornerstone, one of Scotland’s largest charities and leading providers for people with disabilities, expressed an interest in acquiring a lease which would enable them to take responsibility for the vulnerable adults and the running of the tearoom and gardens.
On Wednesday, the community council was informed that a business plan was now in place and that the adults who had previously been based at Benholm were keen to return. In addition, a further discussion paper will be presented to a future meeting of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee.
However, as Aberdeenshire Councillor, George Carr, stressed, the most important thing was to get the mill up and running before the summer. An injection of capital, to bring the tearoom and kitchen up to current health and safety standards will be needed, he added, as will the support of the whole community, particularly with regard to the operating of the mill itself and the tourist aspect of the amenity as a whole.
Should, as seems to be expected, a new group eventually replace the present Trust, the Community Council is hopeful that it will not be too long before the Mill of Benholm is restored to its valued place as a vital community asset.
Concern continues, over the dangers facing travellers alighting from the X7 coaches, on the unlit northbound carriageway of the A92.
This problem has been intensified by more traffic using the A92, because of the lack of a grade-related junction at the Laurencekirk/Marykirk crossroads on the A90 and community councillors were urged to keep the issues related.
The next meeting of the Community Council will be held in the Village Hall (small) on Monday, February 11, at 7pm.
Mearns Coastal Parish Church
There was a pleasant surprise, for the Rev Colin Dempster, at the morning service in Johnshaven Church on Sunday morning, when he was presented with a cake on the occasion of his birthday. He then went on to delight the congregation by leading them on guitar in singing “Jesus, all for Jesus.”
Prayer and Bible Study on our faith today has recommenced in the manse on Mondays at 7.15 pm, followed by a cuppa. All welcome.
The church’s recipe books are still on sale for £3 to raise funds for their missionary partner, Ellen Findlay’s, work in the medical camps in Nepal.
This Sunday, there will only be one service in Mearns Coastal Parish, and that will be a united service in St Cyrus Church at 11am followed by a time of fellowship.
Mearns Coastal Guild
At the first meeting of the Guild in the Church Hall of 2015, President, Mrs Armatage, welcomed members and visitors and introduced Dr Andrew Orr, who gave an interesting and fascinating illustrated talk on the sea dog, Bamse.
As Dr Orr explained, Bamse became famous, firstly as the symbol of Norwegian freedom during World War Two and then for his exploits in Dundee and Montrose, where he died in July 1944.
In 2006, HRH the Duke of York unveiled a bronze statue in his honour on Montrose’s Wharf Street.
Dr Orr was thanked by Mrs Armatage.
Mill of Benholm
The annual general meeting of the Mill of Benholm Trust will be held in the Johnshaven Village Hall this Sunday, January 25, at 3pm.
January has to be one of the dreichest winter months. But Johnshaven Village Hall is hoping to bring a little sunshine to the village this Saturday, January 24, with a screening of the Billy Connolly film, What We Did On Our Holiday (certificate 12A).
From the makers of smash BBC hit, Outnumbered, this is a heartwarming and very funny film and stars Billy Connolly, David Tennant and Rosamund Pike. Tickets for the showing at 7pm are priced £5/£4 and are available from Johnshaven Stores or on the door. This film showing is supported by NEAT and full details can be found on their website at www.neatshows.org.uk.