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Stonehaven Rotary club

The speaker at last Wednesday’s lunchtime meeting was Rotarian Donald Mitchell. Over the years, Donald has spoken on a number of topics of particular interest to him, among them football. However another great favourite of Donald’s is music and it was this that he chose for his talk.

Donald told members that when he started his hairdressing career in Aberdeen, he spent his lunchtimes in Chalmers and Joy, a music shop in George Street where he could listen to the new releases. He spoke about buying two weekly music newspapers- New Musical Express and Melody Maker and said that he had recently discovered that the NME and Melody Maker had been condensed into book form called History of Rock which chronicles over six decades of key events in rock.

Donald spoke about the singers and groups he had seen in live performance over the years, including the Rolling Stones at the Capitol in Aberdeen in 1964 where the ticket price ranged from 5/- to 15/- and the programme cost 1/6! He recalled Friday nights at the old Palace and Saturday nights listening to big name bands such as Manfred Man and the Beatles at the Beach Ballroom.

Tickets for that event on 5th January 1963 cost 3/- and it was billed as “The Johnny Scott Band Show, featuring The Beatles” as this was just before the group was famous.

As well as Aberdeen, he has travelled to Perth, London, Murrayfield, Banchory and Pittodrie to hear top stars such as Cliff Richard, Bryan Ferry, the Eagles, Elkie Brooks and Rod Stewart and to see musicals featuring the music of groups such as Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia and We will Rock You. Closer to home he recalled Saturday nights listening to bands in Stonehaven Town Hall. Donald finished his talk with a short musical quiz. Vote of Thanks for this entertaining talk was by Rotarian Gordon Ritchie.

Every year, Stonehaven Rotary Club sponsors one boy and one girl to attend one of two Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) camps. RYLA is Rotary International programme fro young people of physical and intellectual activities, which will develop skills in team working, positive leadership, communication, problem solving and decision making. Participants are selected by the local Rotary Club who select applicants they consider to have leadership and development potential.

The age range is between 15 and 18. There is no cost to participants as the cost of the week, including travel, is covered by the sponsoring Rotary club. The week-long camps, one for girls and one for boys, take place at the Abernethy Trust Centre in Nethybridge, near Aviemore a Centre which is staffed by course leaders, who are professionally qualified in the specialised field of outdoor pursuits. In all activities, the highest standard of safety is paramount and there is a daily programme of outdoor activities including gorge walking, mountain biking and kayaking as well as talks on leadership. The RYLA camps take place in July, with selection normally taking place between January and March.

As happens every year, members of Stonehaven Rotary Club have made a presentation about the camps to all S5 pupils at Mackie Academy to encourage them to apply but while we have a number of applications from girls, we have none from boys. This was the case last year also.

We want to give a boy the opportunity to go to RYLA camp – the dates are 9-16 July 2016- so if you know of someone who is interested, please contact Youth Service Convener John Balsillie (740684) or Assistant Secretary Jennifer Macdonald (764750).

Laurencekirk Bridge club

North/South - 1st Hazel Wiseman/Hamish McLauchlan, 2nd Susan Robson/Jim Gammie

East/West - 1st John & Jean Clark, 2nd Alan Cunningham/Lesley Fotheringham

Stonehaven bridge club

North/South - 1st Mrs P Kemp and Mrs D Leishman +950, 2nd M Clowse and A Gran +910, 3rd Mr G Shanks & Youseff +870

East/West - 1st Mrs V Davies and Mrs S Towada +1230, 2nd Mrs M Cornow and Mr S Watt +920, 3rd Mrs D Grey and Mr J Payne +70

Stonehaven probus

Members learned how they could look back into the lives of their own ancestors. Betty Taylor who runs classes in Family History spoke of the remarkable upsurge of interest in this absorbing pastime, no doubt fuelled by such popular TV programs as ‘Who do you think you are’ and ‘Long lost Family’. Betty’s own interest began as a child when she listened to the family stories told by her grandfather. But it wasn’t until much later in life, with the creation of the Internet, that a whole avalanche of information became available to Betty and to the rest of us.

Government legislation introduced in Scotland in 1855 made it a legal requirement to register births, marriages and deaths together with exact dates, parent’s names and occupations etc. A little earlier in 1841 a national census survey was introduced where, every 10 years, every household in the land had to provide details of anyone residing under that roof on a particular night.

What about information on even earlier generations? Well, some Parish Registers go back as far as 1550. There were more than 900 parishes in Scotland and these contain records of marriages and baptisms. And the Church has more to offer to the history hunter in the form of gravestone inscriptions. The Church in fact was the Social Work Department of its day until in 1845 the new Parochial Boards took over. Their records, along with Valuation Rolls, Immigration Records, and School Registers etc are all sources that Betty recommended. On our own doorstep is the Family History Society in Aberdeen with records covering the whole of Scotland, not only of family history but social history to.

Perhaps the most fascinating part of a fascinating morning was when, by way of an illustration, Betty recounted in detail the story of one of her Stonehaven pupils’ detective work to reach back into the life and times of her N.E. ancestors. The picture it produced of what life in Stonehaven was like then was truly remarkable. President Ron Ballantyne proposed the Vote of Thanks.