The Foggie Gossip
January 2011 Edition      

NEW ZEALAND REUNION

When on holiday in New Zealand, three school friends, who were all in the same class at Aberchirder Secondary School, met up for the first time in 50 years. Chris Stephen and Josephine Murray were going to New Zealand for a month in an organised trip of 41 people and they knew Ray Henderson (nee Addison from Dundee Farm just outside Foggie) stayed there.  Chris got in touch with her to see if they could meet up.  Ray was delighted and so they spent an afternoon with her at the farm 'Happy Valley' (South Island) where she and her husband Duncan live.  They have 3 of a family.

Ray emigrated to New Zealand in 1967 (her sister Rosiland was already out there) after she had completed her general nursing at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. She qualified in midwifery when she went to New Zealand and also took her pilot's licence.

Old school friends
L-R:  Chris Stephen (Myreside, Aberchirder), Ray Henderson (New Zealand) and Josephine Murray (Aberchirder).

ST MARNANS FC PRESENTATIONS

St Marnans FC held their annual presentation of trophies in the Fife Lodge Hotel on Saturday 21st November 2010.  Prizes were presented by Neil Murray, seen below holding the football club's new strip which he presented on behalf of his company Neil Murray Housebuilders.

St Marnans winners

Receiving trophies are L-R:  'Player's Player' - Ross Lawrence, 'Top Goal Scorer' - Kevin Blanchard (collected here by Alan Mair),
'Most Improved Player' - Mark Willox, 'Young Player of the Year' - Jordan Smith and 'Player of the Year' - Shaun Gray.

WINTER STORMS

2010 came and went like a lion with heavy snow causing disruption to travel in many parts of the country.  Aberchirder, and the north east generally, had more than its fair share of snow.  The December storms caused havoc with many events being cancelled, people unable to get to work and snow and ice causing damage to many properties.

Initially many complaints were made regarding the lack of action in clearing streets of deep snow but following representations to Aberdeenshire Council by the local Community Association, the Council enlisted the help of contractors to clear and remove snow accumulations from streets and pavements. The contractors are to be praised for the excellent job they did under difficult conditions.
 

Winter over Marnoch
Scene from viewpoint on Cleanhill
 
Snow laden trees
View from Cleanhill towards Gowanhill wood.
 
Mist over park
Mist on McRobert Park.
 
Parkview
Parkview with the Medical Centre on right.
 
Wellfield Crescent
Snow clearing on Wellfield Terrace
 
Digging out car
Digging-out on Corskie Drive
 
Cranna View
A snowy Cranna View
 
A97
The A97 down to Mill of Auchintoul
 

'Snow wise!

There is a story from a church in the Western Isles of a minister who is rather fond of a drop of cherry brandy.

Knowing of his favourite tipple, one of the church elders offered to present him with a bottle on one condition - that the minister acknowledge receipt of the gift in the church newsletter.

"Gladly," responded the good man. When the church magazine came out a few days later, the elder turned at once to the "appreciation" column. There he read: "The minister extends his thanks to Elder Brown for his gift of fruit and for the spirit in which it was given."

Now having seen the following pictures of Aberchirder's Rev. Paul van Sittert, one has to wonder what spirit he has been worshipping.

BBQ fanatic?

Certifiable or what?
These pictures were taken by Paul's wife Michelle to prove he was certifiable.
However we know Paul is simply game for a laugh. or is he......................?

LOCAL ARTISTS DISPLAY WORKS

Three Foggie friends embarked on a watercolour painting course after finding out that they all fancied trying their hand at art again. Not since their school days had they put brush to paper.  They attended an evening class at 'Zantara' in Turriff under the tuition of Linda Evans.

District Nurse Wendy Kean, Teacher Ruth Graham and Beauty Therapist Tracey Stuart have all produced a number of watercolours since starting the course, some of which received prizes at Foggie Show.

They currently have a small exhibition of original paintings and prints at Aberchirder Library. They will be on display until the end of January 2011.

Artists Exhibit
L-R:  Wendy Kean, Ruth Graham, Tracey Stuart & Librarian Brenda King.

HAIR RAISING EXPERIENCE

Jamie McKinnon (20) of North Street was dared by friends to wax his chest in aid of Children in Need (He had a LOT of chest hair).
Despite one attempt being postponed by the weather, Jamie was waxed in the Fife on Sunday, December 20 by Beauty Therapy Student Rachael Pirie.
Over 500 raised for the charity.

Hairy Chestisoff

Pictured with Jamie and Rachael are:
L-R:  Michael Paterson, Ross Lawrence, Stuart Gray, Ian Massie, Gary Harris, Kevin Morrison, Mark Chalmers and Christopher Ross

ABERDEENSHIRE COUNCIL - BUDGET

Aberdeenshire Council held a series of meetings across the shire in December 2010 to advise community groups of the affects of the Scottish Government's reduction in funding for the 2011/12 financial year.  A large number of representatives attended the area meeting held in New Pitsilgo and were welcomed by Anne Robertson, Leader of Aberdeenshire Council. The main speakers were Colin Mackenzie, Chief Executive and Derek Yule, Head of Finance.  Heads of Council Services, Grampian Police and N.H.S. also attended to answer specific questions.

The reduction in the Government's grant settlement for Aberdeenshire means that cost savings have to be made. It is anticipated that the Council faces a funding gap of 58 million over the next 2 years and that it may be another 10 years before public spending rises again.

Anticipated cuts to services will be as follows:

16% Transportation & Infrastructure
15% Chief Executive
13% Corporate Services
13% Planning & Environmental Services
8% Education, Learning & Leisure
5% Housing & Social Work

Since the abovementioned meeting, it has been announced by the Government that due to an error in calculation, the grant has been reduced by a further 511,000 meaning further savings will have to be made. Aberdeenshire Council now expects to receive only 426,477,000 for the 2011/12 financial year.
Some of the proposed actions to be taken:

2 year pay freeze for all Local Government Employees 2010/11 & 2011/12.
Increase charges for a range of services including transport, trade waste, car parking, licences and some care services.
Generate more income from Council's estate (land and property).
Increase income from third parties through harbours, quarries etc..
Review, modernise and streamline services.
Review Primary School provision and reduce teachers in line with falling school rolls.

Service Reductions:

Discontinue street orderly provision and replace by existing services.
Reduce hours at household waste and recycling centres.
Payments to community composting schemes
Grounds and Verge maintenance
Caravan parks
Street lighting including overnight switch offs in small hamlets
Local bus services and reduced opening hours for Park and Ride
Concessionary travel
Aberdeenshire Towns programme
Other Savings:

Savings will be made by reducing the workforce by 10%, reviewing business practices and reducing mileage and office rationalisation. The Authority aims to cut the equivalent of 900 full time posts in the next 2 years.

The Council made it clear that they are not able to continue to deliver the range or extent of services that communities have received in the past.  Therefore they are looking to and working with communities to take on more responsibility for the initiatives that matter most to them.

Police

In respect of Government cuts on policing in Aberdeenshire, Chief Superintendant - Divisional Commander Mark McLaren reported details of anticipated reductions in staffing and the affects on coverage.

In December 2010, the Force had an establishment of 381 Police Officers (all ranks) and 83 support staff. That is 14 'under' establishment at 367 Police Officers. They cover 2500 sq miles utilising 23 stations and 77 vehicles. Staff are dedicated to the 7 local teams - Banff and Buchan East, B&B West, Buchan, Formartine, Garioch, Kincardine & Mearns and Marr.

Around 100 staff provide 'support' with about 60 'CID' (pro-active teams/Intelligence units/monitoring of Sex offenders etc). The remaining 40 are Schools Liaison Officers, Crime Reduction, Licensing, 'Support', dedicated custody officers and 5 Senior officers (Mark himself, a Superintendent and 3 Chief Inspectors).

Realities:-
283 staff (uniform officers local bobbies) spread between 7 teams. Subtract 30% (85) abstraction at any given time (Annual Leave/Sickness/Training/Court etc) = 198. Divide by 23 stations = 8.6 per station.  Divide by 5 teams (they need 5 teams to operate a 24/7 shift system) = 1.72 officers per station, per shift, per day.  Obviously, there will be more at busier stations (Peterhead) and less at others (Alford).

Future:-
The anticipated 6% cut in budget for Shire = 1,022,897 less.  This alone, would wipe out the Revenue budget - they would not be able to pay for fuel, uniforms, equipment, postage, stationery, overtime etc.  Obviously, with the numerous unpredictable operational issues occurring through the year (helicopter crashes/severe weather, hiring of 4x4 vehicles etc, etc) and the requirement to provide a 24/7 service (including public holiday working - Christmas/New Year etc Court & unexpected overtime adverse weather etc), they cannot simply denude the revenue budget.

It is possible therefore that there may have to be a reduction of some 60 staff across Aberdeenshire police staff over the next 4 years though there are currently no plans for compulsory redundancies.  It is likely that back office and support functions will suffer most and they may be unable to continue to provide enhancements such as dedicated Schools Liaison Officers and some front office services.  All options will be considered but every effort will be made to protect the level of front line policing.

The good news is however that, as the 3rd safest Local Authority area out of 32 in Scotland, we remain one of the safest areas in which to live and work in Scotland.

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Copyright 2002 ADCA Aberchirder, North East Scotland.