Down Memory Lane

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This week’s Picture from the Past comes from the Deeside Piper and Donside Herald archives from 1997.

The Church of Scotland parish of Upper Donside - covering Lumsden to Corgarff - increased its kirk session to 29 in this week in 1997 with the admission of Jim Clark, Forbestown, Strathdon, as an elder at a service in Strathdon Church. Mr Clark is pictured being welcomed by Rev Chris Ledgard.

Also in the group is session clerk, Henry Duncan, front left, and other members of the kirk session. Mr Clark became an active church member in his early 20s and was ordained as an elder of Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen in 1975 and later at West Cults Church before he and his wife moved to Strathdon in 1993.

He was welcomed by Mr Ledgard in front of a congregation of 35.

We take a look at what was making the headlines locally on this week in 1997.

The health of children at Cults Academy could be at risk because of a mobile phone transmitter on the roof of the building, according to an Aberdeen scientist in this week 20 years ago:

Despite doubts over the implications of the mast, built on top of the school last October, Aberdeen City Council will not take any action until a meeting to discuss a policy takes place in the next few weeks.

Professor Julian Little, of the University of Aberdeen medical school, said he would not allow his children to attend a school with such a transmitter.

He said the evidence was “all rather messy” but it did seem possible that the electric fields can alter cells.

The Cults Academy School Board is due to discuss the issue in the coming week but so far pupils’ parents have not objected.

Cults Academy is believed to be the only school in Aberdeen to have such a transmitter.

Parents and teachers at Oldmachar Academy in Bridge of Don voted overwhelmingly against telecommunications giant Orange, also responsible for the Cults mast, to use their building.

Professor Little said some researchers do not view the transmitters and other electrical appliances as a hazard and he feels no conclusions can be drawn from the vast amount of studies that have taken place.

In this week 20 years ago, a Banchory theatre group took top prize in the local section of a national festival of one-act plays at Aboyne:

Banchory Theatre Club (C) won the Barclay Harvey Cup and a chance to appear at the divisional festival at the end of March with the play A Consummation Devoutly To Be Wished, written by local playwright Andrew Young.

Eight groups - three from Banchory, two from Laurencekirk, two from Stonehaven, and one from Aboyne - took part in the three-night Scottish Community Drama Association Festival, covering Kincardine and Deeside district.

Second place and the Emil and Helen Rzechorzek Trophy went to Laurencekirk Amateur Dramatic Society (B) with What’s For Pudding.

The youth award, the MacMillan Shield, was awarded to Stonehaven Youth Theatre for Shoeshine.

Two of the three nightly awards went to the winner and runner-up, with the Thursday title going to home group Deeside Players for Quake.

The winning play starred Mary Jo Rieger as Joan of Arc, seen in the final hours before her execution, with an added dimension of voyeurs who seem to be watching all the action through a telvision screen.

Producer Rita Spargue said the group is hoping to take the play to Canada in May.

A Deeside village could benefit from a new tourist attraction if funding to carry through the plans can be secured, it was reported in this week 20 years ago:

The Old Smiddy in Kincardine O’Neil will be returned to its former glory and used as a tourist information point if planning permission is granted and funding lined up.

The disused building is currently in need of repair but the plans, devised by Aberdeenshire Council, would involve the complete restoration.

It is hoped that the smiddy would bring tourists to the village while also pointing out other attractions in Deeside.

The application for listed building consent and a notice of intention to develop is the first stage and does not necessarily mean that the project will go ahead.

Stuart Carrie, service manager for planning and economic development services for the Marr area, said they would like to return it to a 19th Century smiddy, with the forge in place, as an attraction and to use as a tourist orientation point.

He believes funding will be the main barrier.

Aberdeenshire Council may meet part of the cost, but will be seeking assistance from the owners of the smiddy, Kincardine Estates, the tourist boards and the European Union.