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Stonehaven hit the headlines around the world in July, when the Carron Fish Bar, home of the deep-fried mars bar, received an official letter asking them to remove the banner which celebrates their famous invention. Owner of The Carron chipper, Lorraine Watson, received a letter from Aberdeenshire Council, explaining that a “walkabout and inspection” had been conducted in the town, and they felt that the banner on the side of the building should be removed. The letter, which was sent in partnership with several community groups including Stonehaven and District Community Council and Stonehaven Town Partnership, asks them to consider removing the banner “for the greater good of the wider community”.
Mrs Watson added that she is supportive of the attempts to smarten up the town, but added that the letter was “silly”.
Aberdeenshire Council responded by saying that they were happy for the banner to stay up.
Party in the Park, a one-day music festival organised by local music shop Ma Simpsons, was a huge success. A massive 210kg of food was donated by party goers that went on to be split between three organisations.
Aberdeen Cyrenians, Instant Neighbour and South Aberdeenshire Food Bank all benefited from donations which were part of the entry fee.
Brighter Bervie chairman Tom Campbell and the rest of the volunteers met with Carole Baxter and members of the Beechgrove Garden production team as filming took place in August. The group were working on a community gardening project next to the church on King Street.
More than 800 cyclists were welcomed to Stonehaven by community groups in August as the popular Ride the North finished in the town. Going back to its routes the popular cycle challenge finishing in Stonehaven for the first time in five years. Many of the most successful fundraisers came from Kincardine and Mearns and more than 115 took part this year.
Local clubs, Stonehaven Rotary, Lions and Round Table pulled together once again to put on the third annual Stonehaven Harbour Festival. The Viking theme proved popular with thousands descending to the harbour on a sunny day at the end of August. South Mainland Vikings led by the first ever female “Guizer Jarl,”
It was a month of cycle rides as the Great Stonehaven Bike Ride, Auchenblae Sponsor Cycle and Catterline Bike Ride all took place in September. In Catterline 70 hardy and determined riders of all ages took part with a longer and harder route than in previous years, locals pushed against the wind to cover the 50, 35 and 10 mile distances, and returned smiling and triumphant. In Auchenblae almost £700 was raised.
Stonehaven swimmer Kieran Preston brought back a Bronze medal for Team Scotland in the Youth Commonwealth Games held in Samoa in September. Kieran won bronze in the 50m Breastroke making Stonehaven proud in the process. Kieran was unlucky to add to his medal tally finishing in 4th in his Breaststroke event. The Scotland team will return with a medal haul of 21; three gold, ten silver and eight bronze.
The first ever Laurencekirk Beer Festival took place in October with organisers hoping it will be the first of many. The festival raised £2000 for two local charities Mearns Allsorts and The Thursday Group in Banchory.
Brothers Gary and Dave Metcalfe were behind the event, which was held over three days from Thursday October 22 to Saturday October 24 in the St Laurence Hall.
An experiment by Stonehaven and District Rotary Club to light up the town’s War Memorial received huge support from local residents in October.
The iconic monument could be seen across the town after dark, and many took to social media to comment.
The experiement was hailed a success with the group hoping it would lead to a feasibility study aimed at making it a more permanent feature at the famous local landmark.
Five local black belt students from the Boydell Blackbelt Academies (BBA) attended the Taekwon-Do European Championships in Motherwell in November. Jodie Boydell (14), James Craik (14), Katie Louise Davidson (14), Danielle Simmers (16) and Katrina Carr (17) were selected for what would be only the second time in history for Scotland to host this prestigious tournament. The five returned with one Gold, four Silver and seven Bronze placing Scotland 10th out of 24 countries.
November saw the start of the festive period in Stonehaven as we covered the Christmas tree journey from Banchory to Stonehaven and all the hard work put in by volunteers to ensure Stonehaven had a Christmas tree in the Market Square. Preparations for the big parade switch on were months in the making from the Stonehaven Business Association and Stonehaven and District Community Council.
The 20ft tree was switched on at the end of November with residents, community groups and children in attendance taking part in the parade and Christmas extravaganza. five year-old Heidi Podlesny did the honours and switched on the Christmas lights.
The last month of the year started like November ended with another light switch on. However December started with the lovely residents of Malcolm’s Way having their switch on party. The cheerful scene in Malcolm’s Way, saw several houses light up for the festive season. However this year was tinged with sadness, after original organiser, Tom Bruce, sadly lost his battle with cancer in August. This year, the group decided to raise money for Friends of Anchor.
Laurencekirk was also lit-up for the Christmas period thanks to the efforts of five local lads at the start of December. The lads came up with the idea of a new artificial tree after the disaster of the two previous years of storm damage to the lights and the tree being broken last year.
The lads involved in the design and fabrication of the new tree, Ryan Arthur, Stuart Murray, Neil and Peter Reid and fabricator Calum Rae of Donald Rae & Sons were applauded for giving up their time and commitment for the benefit of the community along with the help of the Gammie families and drivers Sandy Duncan and Andrew Gammie with erection of the lights and tree.