Charity benefits from learning the good life

Lord Lieutenant James Ingleby and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Lord Lieutenant James Ingleby and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

A Deeside charity is reaping the profits thanks to the sales of a 100-year old book on how to live the good life in Aberdeenshire.

Crathie Holiday Opportunities, a local Deeside charity, which provides holiday cottages designed and equipped for disabled people, is benefiting from the profits made thanks to the popularity of the book.

In 1910, Newburgh farmer Thomas Mitchell sat down aged 43 to pen his thoughts on how to live the good life.

The result of his work, which was completed in 1914, was a short book entitled ‘Essays on Life’.

Initially written to be read to members of the Mutual Improvement, the essays cover a range of topics from the art of living to the secret of success.

Many of his thoughts are as relevant today as they were then and several encourage us to consider what we have lost and gained.

The farmer come author wrote: “A life that is not useful in some way and does not help others in some fashion , is a wasted life

“Good reading is only one mode of cultivating the mind and is much less influential than practical experience.”

One hundred years later, with the agreement of Thomas Mitchell’s other three grandchildren, his granddaughter Sheila Harrison of Ballater submitted the essays for publication as a means of fundraising for Crathie Opportunity Holidays, of which she is currently chair.

It was just before World War One broke out, destroying a generation and dividing Europe, that Thomas Mitchell, in his rural Aberdeenshire village of Newburgh, turned his attentions to writing.

All royalties from the sale of the book are going towards supporting Crathie Holiday Opportunities.

Looking over the River Dee towards Balmoral Castle, the four cottages offer accommodation to disabled people, many of whom previously had never enjoyed a holiday in the company of their families, friends or carers.

However the equipment is expensive to maintain and the charity maintains disabled people should not have to pay more than others for their holidays.

There will be a book signing between 2 and 3pm this Saturday, June 21, at Deeside Books in Ballater, when the original handwritten manuscripts will be on view.