From Brussels to Braemar for Euro MP...

Next Friday (August 9) a Euro MP will be swapping Brussels for Braemar and looking into the St Margaret’s church cultural project.

Ian Hudghton, Member of the European Parliament for Scotland, will be meeting the people behind the church venture in the village at 2.25pm.

St Margaret’s church was bought from the Episcopalian Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney by the e Scottish Redundant Churches Trust (SRCT) for £1 in June.

St Margaret’s had fallen into disrepair and hasn’t been used as a place of worship by a congregation since 1997.

The trust now plans to invest in a £1.3 million project to restore the building and transform it into a cultural hub and a venue for traditional music.

There has been a number of musical events already at the centre including a visit from the Dutch Youth Orchestra from Rijnstreek with the church praised for its acoustic quality.

Chair of the project, Brian Wood, has since written a letter to the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP highlighting the church’s cultural strengths in late July.

He said in the letter: “I read with interest reference to local “arts hubs” in one of your recent speeches. You may be interested to hear that in Braemar that is exactly what we are trying to create... The project has been supported by the Prince’s Regeneration Trust and HRH Prince Charles attended an event which we staged there earlier in the year.”

Now Mrs Hyslop’s SNP colleague in Brussels will be meeting with the residents as part of his tour of the North- east which will also take in Aboyne and Banchory.

Councillor for Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, and Braemar resident, Geva Blackett said: “Paul Anderson’s dream to start a world renowned fiddle school in this unique building (St Margaret’s church) will play a major part in putting Braemar on the map as one of the most important artistic centres of excellence for the Arts in Scotland. I am thrilled that Ian Hudgeton MEP has come to see for himself how this beautiful but very remote community is working to ensure a future for generations to come.”