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Page history last edited by fiona-jane 16 years, 2 months ago

News & Events






  • New Archive Access Page -  see sidebar for link - this will give you all the information about how to get access to the archive


  • Archive Open for Business - over 100 people attended our party on 19th April and our guests, Bruce Robertson, Director of Education, Dr Ian Russell, Director of the Elphinstone Institute and David Catto, Local Studies Librarian for Aberdeenshire, were given a CD sampler of interview clips to take away - representing the archives going out to schools, the university and libraries.. The presentation was done by John Slack of Turriff, who was originally from Glasgow, but ended up in Turriff as a santiary inspector, he was also a PoW during WW2 in Wolfsberg Camp, in Germany, and some of his experiences were recalled in his interview.  He took over the presenting from Mary Webster, our oldest interviewee from Turriff who was unable to come.  John charged Bruce and the others with looking after the memories of his generation, and said it was important that these stories are told.  We were entertained by Irene Watt, local clarsach player and singer, Stanley Robertson and Russell Taylor.  Jimmy Mackie of Methlick got the divine seal of approval to end the proceedings by his recitation of The Methlick Grace, re-named the Formartine Grace, which we pinched fae David Ogston.  Brian Martin, Formartine Partnership's chairman reiterated my thanks to the interviewees and said he hoped the recording would not stop now, and groups would continue to use the equipment to collect more stories.  I am so relieved we got as many as we did, and now, I'll be bidding farewell to the project, though still running the website, as I start my new job as the Curator for Grampian Police on April 30th.  It's been a rollercoaster, and it's time to get aff noo! (FJB) I also have to say that my supporter and friend David Atherton was there, as was Hugo Manson, both David and Hugo were the people who inspired me in oral history along with Lisa Savijn (now Ingram) who were the three founders of the Aberdeen & Region Oral History Association.  It was not actually mentioned how AROHA had offered advice and support to Craig Whyte, the original development officer at the beginning of the project, and that David and Hugo were also both involved in the training of volunteers at different times in the project.  And I would like to mention Val Fowlie who was the first project co-ordinator, whose father, Sidney Rose was one of the early interviewees.  Val started the ball rolling and I was glad I was able to keep it going.  Sidney played for Formatine United JFC and was also a publican.


  • Big Day Dawns!  It's here, archive launch day!!  12.30pm Fyvie Castle, April 19th, 2008, the day I thought would never come.  96 interviews and a heap of work later, we made it, thank you EVERYONE for your efforts.  Watch the Press& Journal rural edition on Saturday for a report.  The public libraries are all ready with the CDs so you can go in on Monday and ask to listen to whichever one you like! More details on the new archive page - see sidebar link


  • Room for one more? That's what John Allan thought, and sent me a really great interview from Jim Mathers of Collieston to add to our total, so I said ok, but this is the positively last ane!  Anyway, at 96 interviews we have gone a third over our proposed total which is fantastic.  The transcripts are almost finished, the disk copying is almost finished and really, we're only tidying up between now and the 19th.  Thank you so much to my wonderful transcribers who have done a third of that work.  More news on the launch in a wee while.


  • Formartine Grace?  Burns had the Selkirk one, but did you know we in Formartine have our own special grace?  David Ogston who now resides in Scone, Perthshire (which equally deserves to be mentioned as the seat of Scotland's ancient kings - and it's SCOONE nae SCONE!) wrote in response to Charlie Allan's suggestion in his Farmer's Diary in the Glasgow Herald about what would constitute a Doric Denner.  David said in his correspondence that the Methlick Grace has been around for generations.  If you have heard of this one, which now features on Methlick's page as well as the home page, do let me know, I'd be interested to find out if it has an author other than anonymous!  


  • Gallery of Meldrum Memories: Evelyn Munro of Meldrum Heritage allowed me to scan her collection of photos that belong to the Society.  You can now see them on a specially designed web gallery on Meldrum's own pages.  It will be great to be able to associate faces with voices as more audio clips come online.  Please write/email the MBHS if you want to download a copy of any of the images as the copyright belongs to them. (evelynamunro@aol.com)


  • Noses to the grindstone!  the fun bit is now over - 95 interviews were collected, well done to all the volunteer teams throughout Formartine - Meldrum & Bourtie Heritage get a metaphorical Tufty Badge (get the cultural reference anyone?) for having 26 interviews, the most collected.  Woodhead and Turriff come a close second and third.  So now, the transcribers are at it full-time getting all your words in print to go along with the CDs; the designs have gone to the printers and will soon be ready; and the venue for our launch has been booked!  We also hope to have a very special guest, but we'll keep them under wraps till nearer the time.  The launch date of the audio archive is Saturday 19 April.  More news on that as it comes.  Meanwhile, spare a thought for me and my helpers engaged in the endless task of taking down all the stories and consulting the Concise Scots Dictionary to ensure all our lovely Scots words are spelt as correctly as possible!  (17/2/08)


  • An embarassment of riches... yes, that's what we have! The interview total as you will see from the front page has reached 89, which is way more than we expected to get! There are more to come too! Tarves, Newburgh, Collieston, Ellon Academy. Methlick and Belhelvie all have more interviews to send in, so the grand total may end up making a century! I'm overwhelmed that so many folk were willing to share their treasured memories with us, and that our interviewers have been so prolific! The interview stage officially finishes at the end of December to catch all these stragglers, and now the final processing begins. Most of the interviews have already been transferred to CD and a number have been transcribed also. January to March will see things like the educational resource kits, index and library access policies being created, and then it will be countdown to the big launch! So Merry Christmas folks, and a happy New Year! (FJB)


  • Now Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding!: Me and the volunteers are going out for our Christmas feed at Redgarth Inn, Oldmeldrum mid-December. I hope this will be a great chance to record the volunteers' feelings about the project, meet up with eachother from the different groups and generally have some fun and fine food.


  • Cash for Jungle Kids: Saturday 17th November saw a variety concert at Ellon Kirk Centre in aid of Ellon Academy pupils' trip to Ecuador for the World Challenge Expedition, 2008. Headed by the Ythan Fiddlers, Shona Donaldson and a heap of other great local artists, the concert was held by the Aberdeen & Region Oral History Association, but Formartine OHP has secured a recording and a video/DVD of the occasion which raised £500 for the school.


  • Belhelvie Parish joins in again: A surprise phone call from Margaret Murison of the Balmedie Friendship Group tonight (11/10/07) means that we will now have another two interviews from the Belhelvie Parish, and possibly more from Eigie House Sheltered Housing Complex. This is great news! I'll be popping down to Balmedie in March to speak to the ladies at the Friendship Group, hopefully I'll have some seasoned quotes for them from their own folk by then! Thanks, Margaret, and hope to see you soon.


  • Winners Announced: The pupils who will be taking part in the workshop in the October Hols are: Nick Breed, Kimberley Smith (Meldrum Academy), Eilidh MacInnes, Finlay Milne, Sam Murdoch and Duncan Henderson (Turriff Academy)


  • Judges Gather for Design Comp: The judges for the CD-Cover Design competition will meet at Peacock Visual Arts in Aberdeen this week to decide which 6 lucky pupils will be picked to participate in the 2-day workshop with designer, Lynne Strachan in the October holidays. Peacock (named after the first teacher of Scottish Country Dance in Aberdeen, Thomas Peacock) have very kindly allowed us to meet in their project room for the afternoon. The winners will be announced at the end of this week. Judges include local artist, and son of Formartine, George Cheyne, whose mum, Alice was the first of Methlick's interviewees! Entries were recieved from Turriff & Meldrum Academies, thanks to Ian and Irene, heads of Art at both schools respectively.


  • Dragons' Den Winners: Well done to local Collieston business, Loaf Face who won the Dragons' Den Competition at the annual Formartine Forum this evening (Thursday 13 Sept). These green and clean bakers from one of the project's locales also won the public vote, gaining them £2000 to spend equipment and packaging that will enable them to keep pace with demand from local stockists. Helen Taylor, our own doyen of Woodhead entertained us with the able contribution of grandson Liam, with her plan for 'swap cards' featuring 'Countryside Creatures'. Well done to the other two finalists, Grampian Hawks and the Balmedie Youth Regeneration Project. Aberdeenshire council's Economic Development department has offered help and support to all the competitors to help them get their ideas off the ground. Another two well dones to Matt Kaye, our man from Udny, who proved a timely compere, and to Lorna Harris who organised the event, and of course to the Dragons, who were nothing like as nasty as Duncan Ballantyne and the rest of his crew from the real TV series!


  • New Face at the Helm! Welcome to our new Development Officer, Morag Wright, who lives in the Formartine village of Cuminestown. Morag takes over from Sonia as of this week, and we hope she settles down soon to enjoy this and the other Formartine Projects.


  • Neebra joins the fray! David Atherton, Aberdeenshire Arts Education Officer and resident of Newburgh has agreed to do interviews for the project in the Newburgh area, which is great as it gives us another coastal area alongside Collieston. David and I will be starting interviews in a few weeks' time. We would be glad to hear from anyone there who wishes to share their memories!


  • Busy Bees at Meldrum! Meldrum and Bourtie Heritage Society have been out and about interviewing in their area, and to date, Evelyn Munro tells me they've done NINE interviews! Well done, Evelyn and co. Once those interviews are edited, that will push our total near the mid 50 mark, which is 75%!!


  • Visits to Turriff Rotary Club and Ellon Probus Club - last Tuesday and this Thursday (9th Aug) I was giving a report to these preeminent bodies on the project. They all seemed to enjoy hearing the clips and some even volunteered eachother as interviewees! Thanks to Alan Richardson at Turriff and Stanley Smith at Ellon for inviting me to talk to them.


  • Sonia's leaving us! - Formartine Partnership Project Manager, Sonia Stephen is leaving us to go back to university and do a teacher training certificate. I, for one will miss her help and support on the oral history project and I'm sure the other projects in the partnership will agree she has done an excellent job. We wish her well when she goes on August 24th.


  • New Interviewer - John Sleigh of Newseat of Tolquhon is our new interviewer for the Tarves area. John's grandfather Jack Sleigh owned the farmhouse where the family now live. John has just returned from his history degree in Glasgow and has his ambitions towards Holyrood, Working on the project will give him great experience hearing many shaggy-dog stories as he will surely encounter a few as he plans to become a political researcher! Welcome on board, John!


  • Tales fae the Gaels - After a visit to the Outer Hebrides the last fortnight, I met Chrisella Ross, who runs the Gaelic Arts Agency in Stornorway, Isle of Lewis, and she told me about their Gaelic Storytelling project - similar in concept to Formartine, but focusing on folktales as well as memories. From their website, this quote describes Proiseact Sgeulachdan:


Established in 1999 the Gaelic Storytelling project has developed numerous events throughout the Western Isles to capture and regenerate this ancient tradition. The Project has enabled events within the community, local groups and societies, schools, youth groups, festivals, arts centres and many others. A Database of stories and storytellers has generated great interest in the community and with further events being planned the Project is receiving a very positive response.


  • Magic Circles The other fantastic idea from this project is the 'i-paq', an MP3 player device which people can borrow in the community shop, Uig (Lewis), and walk across Traigh Mhor (The Big Beach) hearing stories and tales recorded by academic, educationalist and storyteller himself, Finlay MacLeod. Perhaps Formartine Oral History and the Ythan Project Volunteers could do something similar for a walk along our local river? It's an idea! Anyway, we are happy to link up with Chrisella and the Gaelic Arts folk. The link to both the project and the Gaelic Arts Agency is now in the sidebar


  • Thanks to Les Donaldson, of Tarves Heritage Society - our latest interviewee, who showed me round the heritage centre last week. I did a wee bit of filming as well as interviewing, so that will appear here soon!


  • Auld Folk Rock! Having listened to all these fantastic interviews from people who are chronologically advantaged, I was delighted to hear about a gang of old folk all over 80 have recorded a cover-version of the Who's rock favourite My Generation at Abbey Road Studios, and have taken the charts by storm! Our Formartine oldies have proved equally valuable, they are repositories of folklore, history, morality, great knowledge and expertise, THEY are the treasures we are chasing in our work towards the project, as are my lovely volunteers who are going out doing the interviews! Thanks again! Here's that video of geriatric supergroup - The Zimmers!!


  • Design Competition is now launched. See DesignComp for details. Thanks to Aberdeen College and Aberdeenshire Council for their help with this competition.


  • Welcome Meldrum & Bourtie Heritage Society who did their training on Monday 14 May. Evelyn Munro and friends enjoyed testing out the equipment and discovered many new stories about eachother they didn't already know! Meldrum are our tenth and final group to join the project, cos we've no spare recorders to offer to anyone else! But there is a chance that I will get out to other folk later in the year. But for now, folk o' Meldrum, we'd like to hear your stories!


  • Welcome on board to Collieston Over-60s group, who I spoke to on Tuesday 24th April. They have been inspired by hearing clips of the current interviews and wish to join in the project. We hope to hear from them soon.


  • Delighted to welcome Methlick Heritage Society onboard. Margaret Middleton and Ronald Buchan invited me to visit the group on 3 April, and happy to report a very enthused bunch of potential interviewees and interviewers. More from them soon!


  • If you love traditional stories told around the fire on winter nights, then Grampian Association of Storytellers have the very thing for you! Oor First Tales is a compilation of nine stories recorded by the GAS team including our Honorary President, Stanley Robertson, a well-known Traveller storyteller and ballad singer. The CD costs £10 and can be purchased online at www.grampianstorytellers.org.uk or at the following outlets: Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, and Better Read Books, Neil Ross Square, Ellon. Radio Scotland featured the CD on their NE Bulletin (14/3/07) listen here


  • Another Footballer reminisces - Alister Shewan, another Formartine Utd player who went on to the heady heights of playing for Aberdeen FC in the 1960s & 70s, and managed Elgin City FC, was speaking to me this week (6/3/07). He presented me with a fantastic photo of the Formartine JFC team in the early 1960s, which you can see on Formartine JFC's new page.


  • Eigie Cottage lives again! Those folks that live in Balmedie will be aware of the Tarts & Crafts cafe and craft shop. I got a call from Becca Gould who runs it, with news that two members of the Strachan family who lived there wish to record their stories for us! This is wonderful news. Becca plans to investigate the whole history of Eigie Cottage which is now her shop and cafe, but wants to include these two stories from father and son in the Formartine Archive. We hope to be hearing from them soon.


  • Thanks to Peter Mitchell of the P&J's 'Mitchell's Diary' for highlighting the need to contact former and current players of Formartine United JFC. As a result of Peter's column, two people, former players from different generations, have contacted me, Jack Larnach and Alister Shewan. I saw Jack in Inverbervie today (16/2/07) and interviewed him, making him our 25th interviewee! So, don't stop, we want to hear from the lads playing today!!


  • Spirits of the Past - Can anyone help us out - we would love to interview anyone who worked at Glendronach Distillery, (SW of Turriff) or had family who worked there. Please get in touch at the usual email address!!


  • Old Soldiers - again, another request for interviewees. Do you know anyone who was a member of the 5th Battalion (Buchan & Formartine) Gordon Highlanders? They were a local Territorial Force who served in the Great War (1914-1918). Having newly discovered their website, I am intrigued to know if any family members are willing to tell us about their great-grandfathers or grandfathers who may have fought in that regiment. Please get in touch with us!




  • New to the links page - Belhelvie - a Millenium of History by my good friends Dr's Steve Murdoch & Alexia Grosjean. Steve is a Formartine Loon, (South Orrock), and will be contributing his own lifestory interview to the project soon. Now a history lecturer in St Andrews University, Steve has written many books about Scots abroad. Founder of the Scots Leid Quorum a group to promote the Scots Language, while teaching at Aberdeen, Steve hasn't forgotten his roots!


  • For more from Belhelvie CC - look at the main page Belhelvie.Org or email Shuna Jenkins from the site


Plans for this year include:


  • A 'story walk', where some interviewees and interviewers will join up on a favourite walk and record memories from the place - Stanley Robertson already did one with Helen Taylor in Fyvie, recalling the stories, ballads and legends there.


  • A visit to the North East Folklore Archive in Mintlaw, where your interviews will be stored eventually


Meanwhile, do email in with your memories!



MRI Coastal Heritage Project

Our friends in Kincardine, headed by Craig Whyte, former Development Officer for Formartine, are carrying out their own oral history project. We'll be supporting them in their endeavours. Their new project, Saving Lives – Rescuing the Coastal Heritage, aims to record the traditions and ways of life of coastal communities in Kincardineshire. Songs, stories and dances stemming from the communities’ traditional links with the coast and the sea will form the basis of the project, and those collected will be kept alive for current and future generations to enjoy.


Craig is keen to hear from any groups or individuals living on, or with an interest in, the Kincardineshire coast. He can be contacted at the Marine Rescue Institute on 01569 765768 on Wednesdays and Thursdays, or at: coastalheritage@yahoo.co.uk. You can read about their project at the MRI website - |http://www.maritime-rescue-institute.org/news/lottery2.htm







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