Stonehaven and District Probus Club were entertained at their last meeting with a talk by Jim Knowles, a former chief officer at Aberdeenshire Council. Now retired, Mr Knowles’ career in local government spanned 42 years and he said he loved every minute of it. A ‘Stoney Loon’ he listed some of the many changes he had seen in the Town and in the Council.
As Head of Economic Development his work involved a great deal of travel - both domestic and overseas- particularly since the oil boom in the North-East and he had a fund of stories for his audience. He described some of the places he had visited in Siberia and how primitive and dangerous they were in those days.
Houston, Calgary, Malta, Newfoundland were just a few of the places he became familiar with in his work. He recalled the time he was mugged in central Moscow, on another occasion when he was attending a Russia v Scotland football match in Moscow, he ran into 4 other ‘Stoney Loons’ at half time.
His remit also involved tourism and the food industry. He was once involved in organising a reception for a foreign visiting delegation. To be a little different they came up with the idea of holding a ceilidh in Aberdeen fish market, complete with fish suppers wrapped up in pages of the P and J.
Much of his work in the food industry involved working with the private sector and also involved much travel, in this case mainly to London.
It also involved mixing with celebrities and Royalty and consuming lots of food and drink. Jim was particularly proud of the part he was able to play in developing an organic whisky. He was also surprised to learn how important migrant workers had become in this sector. Since his retirement Jim has kept active; working for various charities, Government trusts and he is presently chairman of Stonehaven football club.
The vote of thanks was proposed by Charley McHardy.