Balmoral estate supports festive initiative

The Pheasants for Presents initiative is in its third year
The Pheasants for Presents initiative is in its third year

The Queen's Balmoral estate is donating logs and vegetables to the needy this festive season.

It is part of the Pheasants for Presents initiative started by Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside Councillor Geva Blackett to ensure vulnerable people in the area have food on the table and wood for heating.

Now in its third year, the Christmas event has been expanded to cover Strathdon and Braemar in the west, to Blairs in the east.

It involves setting up partnerships with estates, including Balmoral, and supermarket giant Tesco.

In addition to donations from the Queen's estate, Dunecht estates have contributed venison, Invercauld have provided pheasants and partridge, Ballater butcher Sheridan’s did the meat preparation, while Tesco in Banchory and the Lang Stracht teamed up to supply crackers, mince pies and also food for pets.

Councillor Blackett said: "Many people are feeling the pincers of austerity through absolutely no fault of their own and with so many job losses in the oil industry this year we are seeing even more folk facing a bleak winter.

"I just want to make sure that on what is meant to be a happy time for people, I can do a bit to help out.”

Alex Hogg, Scottish Gamekeepers Association chairman, said: “It is good to see the Pheasants for Presents initiative run again.

"SGA members have been involved since the first year, helping to source the game which I am sure will be much appreciated."

Aaron Philip, manager of Tesco in Banchory, said: “I am extremely supportive of this initiative because I know that everything that is donated goes directly to those who need it.”

Vulnerable individuals and families have been identified through the Westhill Citizens Advice Bureau and churches in Upper Deeside.