Happy anniversary for Friday Coffees

From the left - Dora, Sheila and Mary cut the cake
From the left - Dora, Sheila and Mary cut the cake

A Banchory church group has celebrated a special milestone.

Friday Coffees - which meets weekly in the West Church Hall - is 30 years old and continues to play an important role in community life.

Last Friday members marked the landmark occasion with a birthday cake which was cut by Sheila Waugh, one of founding members in 1986.

Dora Holmes, another of the original four women who formed the group, also attended the anniversary celebrations.

The group meets from 10am-noon in the Centenary Hall and welcomes people of all ages.

Over the last 10 years it has raised an amazing £50,000 for local, national and international charities through members’ contributions.

Group convener Mary Marshall told the Piper: “We ask for a minimum donation and people just put the money in.

“It accumulates and by the beginning of December we know how much we have to disperse.”

Members are asked which charities they would like to support and these are considered at the annual general meeting which this year will be on December 1.

The group attracts people from across the community who are guaranteed a warm welcome from the friendly volunteers.

Mary said: “It’s not like going into a cafe, where you can go in and not meet anybody. You’ll always find somebody to chat to and I think that’s one of the main things in terms of outreach.

“We get quite a mix of people. Older people are very appreciative of it, we get a lot of the young mums coming in, which is a good sign, and we also have what we call the youth table with representatives from the local youth project.”

Volunteers play a vital part - including the baking - and there is a rota of five teams spread over the month.

Sheila Waugh is delighted that the group is still going strong.

She said: “I had no idea when we started out that it would still be here 30 years later. It has grown so much. I’m thrilled to bits with it.”

West Church minister the Rev Tony Stephen praised the group.

He said: “It has grown into one of the highlights for the church of a place where folk come together and serve the community but also they give away so much money to all these different causes.

“It is one of the biggest gatherings we have in the week and something we are all very proud of.”