All fired up and ready for the big occasion

The Banchory fire pump has been restored to its former glory.
The Banchory fire pump has been restored to its former glory.

Banchory’s historic first fire pump has been restored and will make its public debut this weekend.

The shell of the Banks O’ Dee, which dates to 1885, has been returned to its former glory by a dedicated team from the Rotary Club of Banchory-Ternan.

It has been a delicate task, requiring specialist input, as so little of the original remained

Ken Lennox Rotary Club President

And the resplendent unit - operated by hand during the Victorian era - will go on show at the Crathes Vintage Car Rally on Sunday and will eventually be housed in Banchory Museum.

Rotary Club president Ken Lennox said: “A dedicated team of local Rotarian enthusiasts have been working on the restoration of the pump, under the leadership of the late Jim Thomson, for several months.

“It has been a delicate task, requiring specialist input, as so little of the original remained.

“To facilitate the restoration, the Rotary Club have donated a substantial sum, and additional generous donations have been made by individual Rotary members.”

The initiative gained momentum when the remains of the pump were offered to the club for restoration by Dennis Scott, who had the appliance, and Alistair Murison.

Rotarians were greatly assisted in the £7000 project by Tom Ironside who donated the different types of wood for the main box structures and Garry Murray, a local joiner, who replicated all the wooden parts...both of whom gave their services free of charge.

The team then approached Ian Grant, a wheelwright and carriage builder in Cupar, Fife.

Ian undertook to make the four new wheels using the metalwork from the old wheels, to manage the reconstruction of the pump with all the other metal parts which had been saved, and have all the painting completed.

The actual pump mechanism was restored by Rotarian Richard Bridger at no cost.

It operated by drawing water from a convenient local source at low pressure and was powered by three men on each side alternately working the handles.

The intention is to have the Bank O’Dee as a permanent feature in the local musuem.