Local youngsters get Lonach funding boost

Lonach Highlanders inspect the new Astroturf during their visit
Lonach Highlanders inspect the new Astroturf during their visit

One of Aberdeenshire’s oldest and most iconic Highland Games has supported two youth projects in its local community this summer.

The Lonach Highland and Friendly Society has donated funds to assist with the running of a children’s summer club and the installation of new Astroturf at the local primary school.

The announcement comes after the society welcomed more than 7,500 visitors to Strathdon for the annual Lonach Highland Gathering and Games in August.

Upper Donside Parish received funding from the society to support the summer club which it ran during the first week of the recent school holidays.

Offering a range of activities, the initiative was well attended by primary age children living across the local area.

Strathdon Primary School Parents Forum received a four-figure grant to help upgrade part of the school playground.

New all-weather Astroturf has been laid at the school, providing an improved outdoor learning and play space for pupils.

Funding was also received from other partners, including Aberdeenshire Council.

Some of the first visitors to see the new Astroturf were members of the society on the morning of the gathering.

The school is the first stop for the Lonach Highlanders on their traditional six-mile march.

Jennifer Stewart, the society’s secretary and chief executive, said: “Community spirit and charitable giving are among the founding principles of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society. For these donations to benefit children is hugely significant.

“Our local youngsters are our future, something the society has always acknowledged. Its origins, after all, can be traced back nearly 200 years to celebrations that were held to mark the 21st birthday of John Forbes, the eldest son of our founding patron, Sir Charles Forbes.

“Each year, we welcome new young members into the society and onto the march, many of whom are brought up in the local area and schooled at Strathdon Primary.

“So it is only natural that the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society supports these projects and helps improve facilities for young people in our community.”

Pupils have heaped praise on the new Astroturf.

P2 pupil Katie said: “It’s really good because it’s big and the bigger ones get space and the little ones get space. It’s big enough for us all.”