The Foggie Gossip
September 2013 Edition      


It was a proud day for Ian Esslemont, who passed out of the British Army at Pirbright, Surrey on 26 April 2013. After living most of his life in Aberchirder, Ian has lived in Cornhill for the last two years after making the move with his family. Mum Ria, dad Ian and sister Lyn, all travelled south to join him at his Passing Out parade.

Private Esslemont has now completed Phase 2 training for driving and communications specialists at Leconfield in Yorkshire and is awaiting confirmation of his first posting as a full time soldier with his battalion in the Royal Logistics Corps.


Aberchirder woman Wendy Gray (holding balloon) raised £1260 for MacMillan Cancer Support on Sunday, May 5 2013, as part of the charity's 'Really Good Night In' campaign. She was joined by friends and family at the event, which included a raffle, quiz and lucky squares. Wendy was  inspired to raise the funds for the charity after the care she received by her own MacMillan nurses, Jane Edwardson at ARI and community nurse Moira Gordon. Following the event, Wendy wished to thank Jazz Hair in Rothienorman for their support and everyone who attended and helped raise the money.

Picture courtesy of Bruce Graham



Aberchirder Day Club members and helpers went by bus to Balmoral Castle on the last day of July. They were fortunate the weather was glorious, allowing a leisurely wander through the grounds. Also to be seen was an exhibition in the castle ballroom. On the return journey after lunch, there were stops at Ballater for ice cream and at the Bognie Arms Hotel for high teas.

A welcome seat.
(L to R) Betty Bain, Gladys Miller, Beth Ferguson, Alison Peden.

With a tour guide in period costume.
(L to R)  Betty Bain, Hilda Wood, Helen Lyon, Dot Brown, Lil Robb.


In July of this year, Banff & Buchan Guides travelled to Mexico to visit 'Our Cabaña', one of four World Centres of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). Foggie Guides Rebecca Paterson and Chloe Auchnie were part of the group of nineteen Guides, Young Leaders and Leaders. They flew from Aberdeen to Amsterdam then onto Mexico City. They stayed 3 days in a Youth Hostel and during that time the visited a water park and the famous Floating Gardens and canals to the south of the city. They then travelled to 'Our Cabaña' in Cuernavca where they stayed for eight days.

Our Cabaña

Our Cabaña

The activities at Our Cabaña all focused around the guiding community, learning about the other World Centres, peace ceremonies and how guiding helps girls around the world become equals. During their time there, the girls enjoyed three organised outings including a trip to Silver City.

Foggie Guides Rebecca (left) and Chloe (right) with Mexican Guides
Sofia and Monica.

Dormitory in Our Cabaña.


Joyce Duncan, Assistant District Commissioner for Beaver Scouts, arranged for the Marnoch Beavers to visit Tranquility, a wild west town near Forgue, a few miles from Aberchirder. Their visit was arranged for 15 September 2013 and they were joined by other Beaver Scouts from Cornhill, Huntly, Macduff and Whitehills. The Beavers, leaders and parents all had an excellent day seeing around the town, listening to the stories and watching enactments. They also met a number of new friends in Scouting.

To find out more about the wild west town, visit Tranquility. The following images are from the day the Beavers hit the town!

Tranquility Main Street

Mending a Horseshoe

Another Man Down

The Town Jail

Medicine Man

Shoot Out

Round 'em Up


Gotcha Cowboy

Grub Up

Cowboy Grub Time and a Story About the Wild West

All Eyes on the Action


Dr Gatenby and Dr Lyons, who have served the community of Aberchirder and surrounding area for 29 years, retired on 30th September 2013. 

Dr Robin Gatenby took over the practice from the late Dr William Black after he retired in 1984.  Having moved to Aberchirder from Aberlour, Robin consulted from the existing surgery which was at the time located within the local Primary School.  Kate joined the practice as a part time partner in 1986.  In 1994 they set up the Aberchirder Medical Centre in a new building on Parkview. This provided much improved consulting rooms, office space, storage and waiting areas. Having now to attend to some 2500 patients, the team of four medical and five support staff provide an excellent and very efficient service to all those requiring their help and advice.

In recognition of the excellent, professional and dedicated service they have provided to people in the district, Donald Graham and Linda Farquhar organised a collection by way of a thank you from those in the community. A total of £3,270.00 was donated and a gift token and presents were handed over in appreciation of the special care they have afforded their patients.

Gifts and Vouchers on behalf of grateful patients, were presented to Dr Robin Gatenby and Dr Kate Lyons
by Donald Graham (left) and Linda Farquhar (right), organisers of the collection.

The organisers would like to thank all who assisted with the distribution of leaflets, Aberchirder Pharmacy staff for collecting the proceeds and, of course, those who donated so generously to the fund.

Staff at Aberchirder Medical Centre also presented Kate and Robin with gifts

Dr Gatenby and Dr Lyons gave the following statement of thanks and appreciation:

"We would like to thank the community for the astonishing retirement present which we received today at the small ceremony at the surgery arranged by Donald Graham and Linda Farquhar. We are overwhelmed by the generosity shown by everyone. We would also like to thank our practice staff for their inspiring present and their great loyalty and support over the years. We also thank the pharmacy for their lovely presents.

We well remember coming here to Aberchirder in 1984 with two small children and taking over from Dr Black who had been here since 1969. We never thought we would have been the doctors here longer than our predecessor and to have extended our family to include four foggieloaners!

We have been very lucky in having such good and understanding patients -and staff - and it has been a privilege to have worked as doctors in a small community over such a length of time and to see the different generations grow up over the decades.

We have witnessed many changes in the health service over the years some for the better and some not so good but through this time we have valued the opportunity to give personal and continuing care to our patients and appreciated their support.

We will still be working part time as locums in the practice to help the incoming doctor who is taking over which means that we will not in fact be leaving the area and stop working altogether as we feel too young to do so! However we will have more freedom and time off with the opportunity to catch up on numerous different activities.

We cannot emphasise how thankful we are to have had the privilege to experience the best of rural General Practice in Aberchirder".

The practice has been taken over by Dr Natasha Usher who has moved to the area from Dunbeath in Caithness. As the practice requires two doctors to cater for the number of patients on the list,  Dr Gatenby and Dr Lyons will continue as Locums until such time as a second doctor is appointed. Although they will still be involved at the medical centre, having less responsibilities will give them more time to spend with their family and to enjoy their leisure pursuits.


A new system of co-mingled recycling is to be introduced across Aberdeenshire, meaning recyclable materials will be collected together in the same wheeled bin, replacing the blue and black boxes currently used. The phased roll out of the new service will commence in early November covering the Aberchirder, Turriff, Portsoy and Banff areas.

Materials which will be included in future collections, which are not currently picked up, will include brown cardboard and other plastic packaging.

The changes mean that each household will have two wheeled bins, one (provided with a blue lid) for recyclable materials and the other for residual waste, and the smaller food waste container already in use in Aberchirder and some other areas. Recycling and waste will be collected on alternate weeks, with food waste picked up each week.

Unfortunately the new recycling scheme will not allow for the collection of glass, because of difficulties separating different colours of glass to a high enough standard. Residents will be encouraged to take their glass items to one of over 200 recycling points in Aberdeenshire.

More detailed instructions and information will sent to residents prior to the new service being introduced.


1764 - 2014

Aberchirder was founded in 1764 by Alexander Gordon, the Laird of Auchintoul. The settlement was originally known as Foggieloan, after a nearby ferm toun. The planned village was designed and built on a grid pattern around a central square.

To celebrate the 250 years since the foundation of the village, an event is being organised for Saturday 17th May 2014. A commemorative plaque will be unveiled and whilst plans for entertainment and other activities are at an early stage, there will be fun for all the family.

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