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Mearns Probus Club

There was a change from the usual male speaker at this month’s first meeting, with Mrs Patricia Pirie addressing the members present. Patricia lives locally and she talked about her career to date, since leaving school when she was 16-years-old. Her advice from the school was to consider nursing as a career and, with this in mind, she applied to train at Aberdeen. Being too young to start formal training, she worked as a cleaner at the hospital and stayed there until she reached the age of 18. On completing her training some three years later, she then worked in various hospitals including Sunnyside near Montrose. Leaving nursing as a married woman, she then spent the next 10 years with her children, but had always intended to follow another career path. In partnership with a Fettercairn man, they decided to set up a call centre and gradually progressed as the business grew to start a company known as “Journeycall” in the Industrial Estate in Laurencekirk. This was a big local employer and after winning contracts with Stagecoach, Megabus, London’s Oyster Card and then railway companies, the business continued to grow. Winning the contract for London’s Oyster Card business took a lot of persuading for the company to agree to consider Journeycall but, after making some visits to the area, the company representatives were convinced it was the right business and location for supplying all forms of travel ticket to the rail companies’ clients and passengers. The firm then decided to move to Arbroath in order to increase staff and have larger premises. Patricia had wanted the business to stay to the south of Aberdeen, so she decided to part company at this juncture. Starting with Scottish Enterprise she was then involved in advising, assisting and encouraging smaller businesses to grow. Between times she even managed to squeeze in a sandwich type course with RGU to successfully gain a degree in business management. She continues to work in this field and recently won a national award as Business Personality of the Year – a fitting recognition for the effort she has put in to achieve her present day status. Bill Sommerville thanked Patricia for an excellent talk on behalf of club members present.

Fettercairn WRI meeting

The speaker at Fettercairn WRI, on Tuesday, April 5, was Lyn from Ashbrook Nursery near Arbroath. She demonstrated original ways for planting out pots and bowls for this time of year. Her main message was to try to have your planters and baskets looking good all year round. She also had some plants for sale. The meeting was presided over by Mrs Christian Milne, president.The winners of the monthly competitions were as follows: Table centre arrangement – 1 Irene Robertson, 2 Sheena Kelly, 3 Mary Allan; jar of lemon curd – 1 Sheena Kelly, 2 Morag Christie, 3 Sandra Japp; flower of the month – 1 Nancy Brown, 2 Sheena Kelly, 3 Chris Milne.The vote of thanks was proposed by Nancy Brown.

Kincardinshire Community council

The next meeting of the North Kincardine Rural Community Council is on Monday (April 18) at 7.30pm at Lairhillock School. Aberdeenshire Council’s roads manager Philip Leiper and senior engineer Wendy McLaren will be discussing roads issues affecting the area. This will include the perceived lack of maintenance to roads, ditches, gullies and signage which has been compounded by all the additional AWPR works traffic from light vehicles to abnormal loads using them, plus the actual works causing damage through water run off and single track roads not having passing places created in advance of the project. This is a public meeting and all are welcome to come and share their views on these important matters.

Laurencekirk Dellavaird WRI

Members enjoyed a sewn bag demo by Joan Nicoll from Auchenblae. A few members made bags with tuition from Joan. We also made fabric flowers and there was also a quiz. Joan judged the monthly competition which was a spring floral arrangement in a sugar bowl. Results were: 1 Aileen Ross, 2 Elsie Airth and 3 Lorna Bey. The flower of the month winner was also Lorna Bey. After a lovely tea served by Angela Robson and Jane Stear, the raffle was drawn and the business was dealt with. Shona Hutcheon proposed the vote of thanks.

Portlethen SWRI meeting

On Monday, March 14, John Callander gave a very interesting and informative talk on his personal experience of polio and post-polio syndrome. Many of our members know someone who has had polio, but I believe very few of us were aware previously of the myriad of long-term after effects. John very kindly agreed to judge our competitions and the results were: Easter bonnet – 1 Jane Sanders, 2 Liz Cook, 3 Eleanor Main; two hot cross buns – 1 Jane Sanders, 2 Hazel Webster, 3 Betty Silver. Our April meeting was an outing to Stonehaven where we enjoyed a delicious and very efficiently served high tea at the Villa. After our meal we made our way down to the harbour where volunteers from the Tolbooth Museum had opened the attraction especially for our visit. We enjoyed seeing the old schoolroom exhibits, a prison cell, an extensive display of fossils and geological exhibits and a display of fishing and maritime artefacts. The visit was much enhanced by the volunteers who had first-hand experience of the local fishing industry and gave a demonstration of net making and who had extensive knowledge of the fossils on display. Many of the everyday household items on display would be remembered by our members or used by older generations of their families.Competition winners were: A favourite brooch – 1 Lorna Harrison (pretty beaded brooch), 2 Liz Cook (colourful perspex brooch), 3 Eleanor Main (dainty green brooch). Thanks have been extended to our speaker, John Callendar, those who fed and watered us at both meetings and to all the volunteers at the Tolbooth Museum who enhanced our visit by telling us more about the exhibits.Our next meeting is our annual business meeting at 7.15pm on Monday, May 9, at Portlethen Academy community wing where office bearers will give their annual reports and members will be given the opportunity to elect a new committee.

St Cyrus WRI meeting

Kathleen Masson presided over an evening of fun and games at our April meeting. Kath Scott organised a few games of bingo and this was followed by a beetle drive. Competition results were: Fancy deck of cards – 1 I. Paterson, 2 M. Taylor, 3 V. Fotheringham; four peppermint creams – 1 M. Taylor, 2 V. Fotheringham, 3 K. Masson; flower of the month – 1 H. Keith, 2 M. Bowker, 3 J. Stirling.

Stonehaven Library exhibition

In 2010 Haiti was devastated by a massive earthquake but the spirit of the people remained unbroken and, five years on, they are reclaiming their lives and building a better future. This new exhibition from Christian Aid brings stories showing the difference that gifts can make and continue to make in the future. The ‘I Witness’ exhibition consists of 22 panels showing photographs of work supported in Haiti and will be on show in Stonehaven Public Library from Tuesday, April 19, from 4pm until Thursday, April 28.

Stonehaven Rotary Club

The case for Doric’s survival was made by speaker Dennis Daun to his fellow Rotarians at Stonehaven Rotary Club’s last meeting. Mr Daun said that preservation of the “broad rustic dialect” might be difficult against a background of diminished use, but the fact remained that the Doric still remained part of north-east culture and it was important to try to ensure that it survived, although that could be difficult. Pointing to the unquestioned popularity of ‘Scotland the Wha’t and its Doric humour, Mr Daun said there had been other moves to try to keep Doric going, although factors like the influx of new population into country areas had been a diminishing effect for the north-east’s distinctive and traditional tongue. Mr Daun also paid tribute to the legacy of Alford-born Charles Murray who had done so much to promote the literary use of the Doric dialect and was easily the best known and most popular Scots poet of the period from 1910 till the 1960s. Though there was nothing amateur in his approach to his poetry, Murray was not a professional literary man and had to compose in the time he could spare from a busy working life, first as prospector and mine manager, then as a senior colonial civil servant, in the newly created Union of South Africa. His first volume, ‘A Handful of Heather’ was privately 
printed and he withdrew it shortly after publication to rework many of the poems within it. His second volume, ‘Hamewith’ was much more successful. It was republished five times before he died and it is this volume for which he is best known. He returned to Scotland when he retired in 1924 and settled in Banchory where he died in 1941. The Vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Kenny Reid.

South Church

The spring coffee morning will be held in the church hall, Cameron Street, from 10am to 12 noon. Tickets are£2.50 for adults and £1 for a child under 12years. There will be various stalls and fine pieces to have with coffee/tea.

Copy deadline

We welcome contributions for the Community News pages but submissions must be with us NO LATER than 4pm on the Monday and must be in the format published above if they are to be considered for publication.