Crathes celebrates 15 years a volunteer at garden party

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Staff, friends and family gathered in the gardens of Crathes Castle last week to recognise one volunteer’s long-standing dedication to the property.

The team of gardeners at the National Trust for Scotland castle hosted a party on July 10 in the Golden Garden to celebrate Michael Coutts’ dedication to volunteering in the castle grounds.

Michael, who has Down’s syndrome, has been volunteering in the gardens for 15 years in partnership with the Scolty Centre.

Head Gardener at Crathes, Toby Loveday, gave a speech at the event, recognising Michael’s hard work over the years.

He described how Michael has come to be a very valued and much loved member of the team over his 15 years at the castle.

Michael came to work in the gardens through the Scolty Centre in Banchory, which provides day care for adults with physical or learning disabilities.

He has been coming in every Thursday to help with anything from painting to raking paths and washing plant pots.

Toby said: “Michael’s favourite job is taking much pride over keeping the area around the glasshouses neat and tidy.

“He likes nothing more than a bottle of coke and a wee sleep in the bothy at lunchtime before getting back to work in the afternoon.”

Head of Volunteering at the NTS, Violet Dolton presented Michael with his 15 years’ volunteering certificate and badge.