Newtonhill villagers raise cash for bench

Angie Finnie, Elma Wylie and  Heather Hopkins.
Angie Finnie, Elma Wylie and Heather Hopkins.

A group in Newtonhill are hoping a coffee morning this week will help to raise funds to buy a bench for the village in memory of a former villager.

Residents Angie Finnie, Elma Wylie and Heather Hopkins hope to purchase a bench in memory of WWII veteran Alistair Urquhart, who was born in Newtonhill.

During WWII, Mr Urquhart endured four years of incarceration by the Japanese, during which time he worked on the Death Railway and the building of the Bridge over the River Kwai.

Mr Urquhart wrote a book about his experiences in 2010, called ‘The Forgotten Highlander: My Incredible Story of Survival During the War in the Far East’.

Alistair was born in Fairseat, Elsick Place, Newtonhill on September 8 1919. A quote from his memoirs reads: ““In moments of adversity I would often think back to my childhood and I remember going barefoot during the long hot summers we spent down at the Aberdenshire fishing village of Newtonhill, where I was born. My mother’s parents had retired there and lived in a house called “Fairseat” which we nicknamed “Sair Feet”. My elder brother Douglas and I used to go to the beach in the morning. We stayed there all day until teatime, having great adventures that fortunately our parents never knew about. We explored caves, went cliff-climbing and dived off a breakwater that was probably fifteen to twenty feet high.”

He died in 2016, aged 97.

Elma Wylie said: “We were lucky enough to meet Alistair, through Angie, a few years ago and he was just such a nice man. He was a really genuine person and you could tell that the village meant a lot to him.

The fundraising coffee morning will take place on Thursday (February 16) in the Skateraw Hall, from 10am-12pm.

For those who wish to contribute but can’t make it to the coffee morning, Newtonhill Pharmacy has kindly allowed the ladies to put a donation box in the shop.