Afternoon tea for Newtonhill’s Tom

An afternoon tea will be held to raise funds for a memorial of Tom in the village.
An afternoon tea will be held to raise funds for a memorial of Tom in the village.

Friends and neighbours of Tom McGregor, a well-known Newtonhill resident who died earlier this year, are holding an afternoon tea this week.

Funds raised from the afternoon tea this Saturday (August 29) will go towards a memorial to remember him within the village.

The event, which will take place at the Skateraw Hall from 2-4pm and cost £4, was the idea of Tom’s neighbours Jim Woodley and Thelma Wilson.

Tom was 83-years-old when he died in April, and until that moment he was a keen gardener attending to his garden and allotment every single day, come rain or shine.

He was a retired farmer from Skilmafilly, Auchnagatt and moved to Newtonhill with his sister Elizabeth and sheepdog Meg when they inherited a cottage and smokehouse on Skateraw Road.

The land and farming was Tom’s life, a way of living that remained ingrained in him until his death. Nothing went to waste and everything had a use, from scrap wood to old paint.

He transformed the untamed garden of the smokehouse until it sprung with all things bright and beautiful. The petals of the flowers as perfect as you’d see at a flower show and not a dying plant in sight, even in the harshest of weather. Every single space was taken up by delicate, bright coloured plants, some quite ladylike and precious for such a practical man.

They were, however, often planted within old fertiliser tubs, buckets or scrap wood. He grew things, he built things, he created things.

Tom took great pride in entering various horticultural shows in Stonehaven, with the precision and attention to detail conspicuous and consistent.

He’d proudly show off his entries, all laid out in a orderly manner. A few days later, he’d be showing off his medals with the same smile and modesty.

What he grew wasn’t only great for winning medals, they also fed most of Skateraw Road and the surrounding area.

Many residents were often greeted at their front door by a bucket-full of tatties, beetroot or turnips. He was popular in the village with neighbours, fellow bowlers and gardening enthusiasts.

To many of his neighbours he played the role of unofficial neighbourhood watch, bin-day reminder and parcel-signer, while being a gentleman with good stories and a true Oor Wullie sense of humour.