It’s Monte Carlo or bust for intrepid duo

(L-R) David Gillanders and Gordon Hutcheon with 'Miss Moneypenny'
(L-R) David Gillanders and Gordon Hutcheon with 'Miss Moneypenny'

CULTER-BASED traditional music group, Scotch Broth, held a memorial and fundraising concert last Sunday for one of their musicians.

Sadly, Anne Ward passed away in February after a long battle with cancer. Anne, who played and taught the clarsach (Celtic harp), was for many years a member of the group and rehearsed regularly with them on Sunday evenings in Peterculter Heritage Hall, where they have more or less become the resident band.

The Scotch Broth evening raised over £830 for cancer care charities CLAN (Cancer Link Aberdeen & North), Friends of Anchor at ARI, and Roxburghe House, and organiser Shirley Watt said: “It was good to see (the Piper) at the concert and we are just delighted with everyone’s support and generosity.”

An especially moving contribution to the concert was the guitar and clarsach performance by Anne’s husband Richard and daughter, Karen.

Like her mother, Karen also teaches clarsach for SC&T, the Scottish Culture and Tradition classes where many of the Scotch Broth musicians originally learned their skills.

Richard gave an emotional tribute to the other musicians for organising the fundraising concert in his wife’s memory, with special thanks to visiting guest performers flautist Peter Saunders (also from SC&T) and fiddle player Natalie Brown from the USA, who is currently doing post-graduate studies into ethnology in music at Aberdeen University.

VSA’s Linn Moor residential school in Peterculter, which caters for children with complex additional support needs including autism, is to benefit from the efforts of two adventurous Aberdonian rally drivers who plan to fundraise at least £6000 for the school by taking part in the forthcoming Monte Carlo or Bust Rally, reckoned to be Europe’s ultimate ‘banger’ adventure.

The old ‘banger’ in question is a 17--year-old Nissan Micra, affectionately called ‘Miss Moneypenny’, and the drivers will be former British and Scottish rally champion David Gillanders, and his co-pilot Gordon Hutcheon, chair of VSA’s ball committee.

David said that on being given race number 007 for a Monte Carlo race they felt they had to keep up the James Bond allusion by dubbing their car ‘Miss Moneypenny’ and painting her jet black with “big red lips” on her bonnet.

David explained that cars taking part in the Monte Carlo or Bust Rally (around 90 at the last count) should not exceed a value of £250, adding that Miss Moneypenny didn’t even cost that, though her repairs did.

David and Gordon drive off from Aberdeen next Wednesday, July 10, to undertake a 16000-mile journey which will take them down the UK, through the Euro Tunnel, on to Saint Quentin for the official rally start, on to Dijon, through Switzerland to Italy, and hopefully ending up at the finish in Monte Carlo, Monaco, on Sunday, July 14.

David commented: “We’ll be in a car capable of doing 50mph and blowing up at any moment.

“You’re judged on how much you spend in comparison to how good the car looks - the cheaper the car, the more points you get.’

‘‘Because Gordon is involved with VSA and I like Aberdeen-based charities, particularly involving children, it was a no-brainer. Our primary objective is to raise as much money as possible for Linn Moor but it’s going to be an amazing experience.”

Co-driver Gordon said: “If you haven’t been lucky enough to personally experience it, Linn Moor is a very special place. People with autism see the world as a mass of people, places and events that they struggle to make sense of, but at Linn Moor the committed staff nurture the unique abilities, strengths and talents of young people aged five to 18. It’s a truly incredible service but it depends largely on voluntary income to make its students’ lives as fun, meaningful and educational as possible. We’re over the moon to be able to help.”

Linn Moor’s registered care manager, Wendy Milne, said: “VSA is a huge, varied charity so it’s always touching when people choose to support Linn Moor specifically. We love to hear about people tackling ambitious personal challenges while fundraising for us so it’s amazing to have David and Gordon on board.

‘‘Generous efforts like this are essential to keep giving our students the best care, support and education possible.”

To support the school through David and Gordon’s adventure, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/GordonandDavidMonteCarloChallenge.

KEEN gardeners, photographers and craftsmen and women are being given a timely reminder to polish up their products and sharpen up their skills now if they intend to enter competitions in Culter & District Horticultural Society’s annual Flower and Handicraft Show on Saturday, August 17.

The event takes place in Culter Village Hall between 2-4pm, with presentation of prizes at 2pm and sale of produce at 3.45pm.

Leaflets are available in various venues around the area and further information can be had by contacting the president Miss C Lacy (01224) 733710, or secretary Mrs J Selfridge (01224) 734958.

RESIDENTS about to set off for their summer holiday breaks this month might want to note that Aberdeen International Youth Festival performers will give two concerts in the Cults-Culter area in July and August.

On Tuesday, July 30, Canadian classical guitar ensemble, La Isla, along with singers and instrumentalists from Russia, will perform in Cults Parish Church at 2pm.

On Friday, August 2, the 40-strong Viva Sandnes Choir from Norway will give a concert in Culter Parish Church.

The Aberdeen International Youth Festival, founded in the 1970s, offers people the chance to see young professional and semi-professional orchestral players, singers and dancers from all over the world in various venues through the city and shire.

Further details of both local performances will be given in the Piper nearer the time.