HRH The Princess Royal unveils plaque at official opening of Banchory Men’s Shed
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, unveiled a commemorative plaque marking the official opening of Banchory and District Men’s Shed during a visit last week.
Her Royal Highness was greeted on arrival by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Kincardineshire, Mr Alastair Macphie, who introduced the Deputy Lieutenant of Kincardineshire, Mrs Claire Maitland, and Mr Paul Evans, the Chairman of Banchory and District Men’s Shed.
Mr Evans introduced Mr Alastair Black, Legion Scotland Area Chairman for Aberdeen, Banff and Kincardine, then invited the Princess Royal to enter the Men’s Shed workshop.
The Princess Royal toured the new facility, accompanied Mr Paul Evans, who said: “We are honoured to welcome HRH The Princess Royal to mark the opening of our Men’s Shed.
"It has been heartening to see this project finally come to fruition after many hurdles.
"It can now go forward as a resource for men in our community who are looking for new social contacts and activities, for example after retirement.”
In the workshop, Mr Evans presented members Mr Fred Harrott (silversmithing), Mr Alan Pumfrey (bird table construction) and Dr Bill Byth (bicycle maintenance).
Entering the Men’s Shed social area, Mr Evans presented members Mr John Dunnett (model steam engines), Mr John Mason (clock repair) and Mr Duncan Davidson (Treasurer). Mr Alan Pumfrey demonstrated his model railway and showed models of Banchory railway buildings that he had made.
Banchory and District Men’s Shed is the first ‘Shed’ in Scotland to link up with Legion Scotland and it was unfortunate that one of the champions of this, Mr Jason Schroeder - Executive Officer of the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association (SMSA) - could not take part on the day due to illness.
Jason is an ex-serviceman and championed this collaboration from its origin in 2015.
Mr Schroeder said: “After so many years in the making, I was personally gutted to not be able to attend the opening due to illness; however, the SMSA still ensured representation at this very special event.
"It was kind of HRH Princess Anne to convey her best wishes for a speedy recovery and I shall be concentrating on just that.
"I look forward to visiting the Shed and the guys as soon as it is safe for me to do so.”
The Princess Royal then spent some time chatting outside the Shed with other members and their wives and some invited guests including Gerry Robb, the architect upon whose plans the Shed premises were based, and Bruce McCombie, the building contractor for the conversion.
Mr Evans then invited Her Royal Highness to unveil the plaque to commemorate the opening, which was hand-engraved by member, Mr John Mason.
Mr Alan Pumfrey then presented Her Royal Highness with a gift of a bird box made by himself.
The Banchory Men’s Shed was conceived in 2015 and building of the premises beneath the Legion Scotland building in Banchory was complete and first opened in February 2020.
Covid-19 forced a lengthy closure but the Men’s Shed re-opened in June 2021.
The Banchory Men’s Shed is a member of the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association (SMSA).
Banchory Men’s Shed is building on the growth of the Men’s Sheds movement across Scotland and elsewhere, prompted by the work done in Aberdeenshire and in Scotland’s first ever Men’s Shed in Westhill.
Other Sheds in the region have been or are now being set up in Aboyne, Alford, Braemar, Dyce, Ellon, Inverurie, Keith, Peterhead, Portlethen and Stonehaven.
Banchory Men’s Shed works together with the Banchory Legion Scotland, with the Legion both supporting and providing the premises area for the Shed and with the Shed providing extra benefits for the Legion membership:
As well as providing the usual Men’s Shed facilities in Banchory there is the opportunity for ex-servicemen and veterans based in and around Banchory to join the Shed The link-up also helps increase Men’s Shed membership which helps improve the Shed facilities and also aids its long-term stability
The sole focus of the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association (SMSA) is to inspire and support men over the age of 18 with time on their hands to become engaged, in a healthy way, by voluntarily creating their own Men’s Sheds in their local communities across Scotland.
The Association provides practical help, information and advice for Shedders throughout their journey from the initial seed of an idea to the running of a successful and sustainable Men's Shed.