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8 August 2006

Reaping a hairst o' community spirit

THE summer break gives me the opportunity to meet many people in their environment, instead of the usual office surroundings. Indeed, I have already seen a number of folk, most notably at the Turriff show.

This event always highlights the wealth of quality local produce on offer. This year marked the 142nd show and, I must say, it was the best yet.

I am always pleasantly surprised at the continuing popularity of the event and it seems to be going from strength to strength. We all know that biggest fixture in the Turriff calendar, and it attracts more than 40,000 visitors from a wide geographical area, including overseas.

With this number of visitors attending, it has a positive knock-on effect for the commercial success for the whole of the North-east area.

I must say the Turriff Show is a great family day out and it also harvests a real community spirit which I hope continues for a long time.

Fight continues

I was deeply concerned, and distressed, over NHS Grampian’s recent decision to recommend the closure of maternity units at Huntly, Banff, Aboyne and Fraserburgh.

As we know, Fraserburgh is the only town in Scotland, with a population exceeding 10,000, which is more than one hour’s travel away from an acute services hospital, and this is yet another blow by the NHS in Aberdeen against the community here.

It is time that they started to listen to the community in providing services they require

This is, of course, a decision that, ultimately, has to be taken by the Health Minister in Edinburgh. The community has time to make their views known to the Minister and I will be supporting them.

The policy of the Scottish Executive is based on Professor Kerr’s recent report which requires that health services are delivered as close as possible to the local communities that need them. That should mean that maternity services in principal will continue to be delivered in that community, and I call upon everyone involved with this matter to make sure that their views are known when the Minister makes his decision.

One silver lining is the news that Peterhead’s maternity unit is safe. However, I will not be satisfied until the communities in Banff and Fraserburgh also have their maternity units safeguarded; so as far as I’m concerned, the campaign continues and the fight goes on.

Trawlermen

I WAS glad to see the BBC broadcasting a programme which portrayed the difficulties and general work life of fishermen. The 'stars’ of 'Trawlermen’ were from Peterhead-registered vessels.

It meant that between 4 to 5 million people got to witness the real dangers these men face at sea and the camaraderie that exists between them; this was an excellent piece of television.

However, my one slight gripe was that the BBC subtitled parts of the show, as I personally think there’s a huge value in diversity and linguistics and culture, and one of the things we should do is make the effort to listen carefully when we meet something new.

I believe that the show has not only highlighted the fishing industry but also Doric, and, hopefully, the people that watched the show will have engaged in the language. After all the Scottish programme 'Still Game’ which also airs in England did not need the use of subtitles.

But like I say, I do welcome and congratulate all those involved in 'Trawlermen’, as it is one of the best made about this subject matter.


Stewart Stevenson
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