Monday, 24 September 2012

Derek Murray - Chairman

The message below is reproduced from the main website because we know that many folk use the 'Blog' as a means of finding out what's happening

Message from the new Chairman - Derek Murray
I was delighted and honoured to be appointed to the position of Chairman of PCHG Ltd at the start of the summer and I thank those who have entrusted me to take the helm and try and guide the Group forward as we strive to regenerate the harbour area for the benefit of the whole village.

Having been involved with the Group in various capacities since its formation in 2003 I would acknowledge that it’s been a long hard road to get us to where we are today and at times progress has been undoubtedly slow.   However it should not be forgotten that the Group became a Limited company in 2005, gained charitable status in 2009 and have prepared detailed feasibility studies and robust business plans and are now in a position to move the regeneration project onto another level.

The scale of the task getting us through the last few years to where we are now should not be underestimated.  Much of this work has been done behind the scenes and goes relatively unnoticed  and credit must be given to those Committee members, past and present, who have given of their time on a voluntary basis in the hope that they can help make Portgordon a better place. 

While everyone in the Group have played their part I would particularly like to pay tribute to our immediate past Chairman, Ron Billing, who stood down at the last AGM after 9 years at the top and Bob Thomson, who has recently stood down as Secretary.  Both Ron and Bob were instrumental in forming the Group at the beginning and they jointly chaired our very first public meeting way back in 2003.

Ron was appointed as our first Chairman and he has steadfastly continued in this role for the last 9 years through thick and thin, steering the Group through numerous public meetings and endless committee meetings and always with his usual good humour.  He has also been instrumental in our annual galas, particularly bringing to the event a wide range of interesting and varied forms of transport, on land, air and sea.   Despite standing down as Chair, Ron remains heavily involved with the group and continues as a Director of PCHG Ltd.  In addition and in recognition of his services to the Group over the last 9 years, I was delighted at the AGM that Members agreed to the appointment of Ron into the role as our first Honorary President.

Bob was unquestionably the driving force at the formation of PCHG in 2003 and has served as a Director and Secretary throughout the last 9 years.  Bob’s contribution to the Group has  been massive and he has been the key player in establishing PCHG as a Limited Company with Charitable Status and guiding the Group through Feasibility Studies, Business Plans, local fundraising and of course the annual Raft Race & Gala Day.  Bob excelled as Chairman of the Gala Sub-Committee and took the event from humble beginnings to becoming a much bigger and varied event attracting large crowds.    Bob has decided that it’s time to stand aside in the hope that others will get involved in taking the project through to the next level.  PCHG Ltd are indebted to Bob for his huge contribution and it was agreed that the door would always be open for his return to the Committee should he wish to get involved again in the future.

In addition I would also like to thank Noel McGuile for his work as Treasurer over the last few years.  Noel has helped keep the Group on a sound financial footing and has ensured that our accounts are in good order, that they meet the requirements of our accountants and satisfy the scrutiny of OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Register).

I am grateful to all past Committee Members for their help and support they have given to the Group and to me personally.

I have lived in Portgordon since 1997 and joined Portgordon Community Harbour Group at its formation in 2003.  I was elected Deputy Vice Chairman in 2004, Vice Chairman in 2007 and became a Director of the Group in 2005. 

With all voluntary groups it is inevitable that members will come and go over time and there is no doubt that the loss of some key members over the last few years have certainly left a void that is proving difficult to fill.  Nevertheless I was greatly encouraged that new Committee Members were appointed at the AGM and that others continue to join the Group.  Interest in the project also continues to grow as demonstrated by visitor numbers to our excellent website  PCHG are also working on plans to improve the harbour area including creating a replica of the Gurkha plaque, tidying up or disposal of any old abandoned boats and creels and the creation of new bench seating.  There is also a tremendous opportunity to build on the good work done to date by the Village Hall Committee and their plans to build new Village Hall adjacent to the harbour.  The potential for regeneration of the area is clear and with everyone pulling together we can make this a better place.  

I therefore see this as the start of a new era for PCHG and we would love to see new faces at any of our meetings which are open to all.   There is much work to be done and we need your help to see through our 3 main priorities for the year ahead:   

·         Increase awareness of the project within the Village and encourage greater community involvement and support.

·         Update the Business Plan and concentrate efforts on major fundraising (despite the recession I remain confident that there are funding opportunities out there).

·         Ensure the return of the Raft Race & Gala Day in 2013.

There is lot’s to be positive about in Portgordon if we all work together!
Derek Murray


Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd                                     September 2012

Ron Billing - Honorary President

When Ron Billing stepped down as chairman of the Group many suggested it was the end of an era. That's a matter of opinion and Ron see's it as a new beginning as he reminds us that he is still in the thick of it as supportive as ever. The evidence was there at the last meeting.

The message below is reproduced from the main website because we know that many folk use the 'Blog' as a means of finding out what's happening

From the Hon President - Ron Billing
As elected chairman since the group’s inception in 2003 we have faced numerous challenges as the group has gone from strength to strength. It’s been a wonderful and fulfilling journey so far. We knew at the onset it would be a long haul but perhaps didn’t realise just how long it would take. Even so giving up has never been an option and the team go forward with determination and I am proud to have been at the helm

Several months before the Annual General Meeting in May I let it be known that I would not be seeking re-election as Chairman.

Stepping down was not a decision to take lightly and when I attempted to do so in the past I was persuaded to continue and happily remained in the post. However this was the right time to leave and hand over the reins and I am delighted that Derek Murray was elected to take on the role at the AGM. Derek has done a super job as Vice chairman for a number of years and has full support of the committee

What I had not realised when I made my intentions clear was the group were not prepared to let me go. They invited me to become the first ever president. I feel delighted and honoured that this position should be offered and I have willingly accepted. I relish the role and will do my very best to play a significant part in helping and shaping the future

 It’s a few months since the AGM and I’m now coming to terms with my new role as I look forward to the future with anticipation, secure in the knowledge that efforts to date have raised the groups profile and made folk realise we are going to build on our past success

There is no doubting the teams resolve in gathering strength to move forward with its stated aim of harbour regeneration. It’s just going to take longer that we thought but the determination is still there and I see it at our regular committee meetings

 I hope the future will be kind to us for no-one can deny our cause is a noble one. We all want to improve this wonderful village for the local community and beyond

 I want to thank the committee for their hard work and support over the years and also the many others that have helped us in so many ways in our quest

 The fight for regeneration continues and I am proud and honoured to be a part of it.

 Thank you for your continued support

 Ron Billing

President – Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Gurkha Plaque


We are making progress with the Gurkha Plaque

This is the latest photo of the existing and original plaque on the north wall of the harbour
July 2012

This plaque has been in place since 1987. It cannot be allowed to simply rot away, nor will it, for the Harbour Group are determined this symbolic piece of Portgordon's history will be preserved for future generations to appreciate. The Group feels it is very important that this original plaque remains in situ

The proposed additional plaque to be placed near the harbour notice board
note: the size, wording, placement, material and colours have not yet been decided
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The proposed information plaque to be placed below the one above
note: the size, wording, placement, material and colours have not yet been decided
This information plaque is shown well above scale size for clarity

More details including an example of how the plaques would look if sited by the notice board are available on our website which you can visit by clicking the link below

The Gurkha knife known as the Kukri or Khukuri is a symbolic weapon of the Nepalese Army. See how the Gurkhas left an 'impression' on the new harbour wall section.

Well to the right of the plaque - see how the Kukri's are represented

 A photo of the actual shield presented to the community by the Gurkhas. It was presented in 1985 after the first visit, two more visits were to follow.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Portgordon Pantomime 2011

Portgordon Theatre Group
Jack and the Beanstalk
(but not as you know it!!!)

2nd (Fri) & 3rd (Sat) December 2011

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It's good to hear the Panto Tickets are now on sale

A fabulous show for the whole family

Refreshments will be available

Lets pay tribute to the cast - those that give their time freely to entertain the audience. They do it year on year and believe me it's hard work learning the lines. Why do they do it? - It's because they enjoy putting something into the village and what better way than some good old fashioned entertainment

It's also true to say that without the support of the village it would be nothing - It seems unique that a place the size of Portgordon can put on a show of this kind time and time again

Christine Crammond does a fantastic job in writing, producing and directing the Panto each year, something she does rather well, I think we all agree on that

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Gurkhas

A replacement Plaque
What do you think?
click to enlarge
The Gurkha Plaque is located on the north breakwater

Whilst Portgordon Community Harbour Group was formed to regenerate the harbour it also seeks to make improvements to the area. These are some examples:
  • Notice Board
  • Signpost
  • Picnic Benches
  • Replica Barometer
  • Flower Containers
  • Harbour Plaque
As well as being practical, useful or simply cosmetic these features show visitors that the harbour area is not neglected and we hope they add value to the village...
...and now we consider

The Gurkha Plaque
click to enlarge

The Gurkhas arrived in the village in 1985 and began the job of repairing the harbour.This was the first of three visits in the eighties. On completion of the works the Gurkha's left a commemorative Plaque on the north breakwater to mark their works

The Plaque is no longer accessible to the public due to the poor state of repair of the link bridge

Portgordon Community Harbour Group has deliberated about this and feels that there should be more obvious recognition of the Gurkha's work, particularly for the benefit of the passing public, many of whom are walking the Speyside Way which takes them alongside the harbour

Here is a proposal put to the (PCHG) committee at their last meeting (26th September 2011)

Gurkha Plaque
The existing Plaque commemorating the Gurkha's part in Portgordon harbours history is looking worse for wear due to the combined effects of 1corrosion and weathering. In addition it’s placement on the north breakwater is some distance from the walking route past the harbour and as a consequence is not seen by the passing public. This means it is likely that many people may be oblivious of the part the soldiers played in saving the harbour and paving the way toward regeneration for the community. We (PCHG) really should do something about this.
A replica plaque be purchased and placed in a more prominent position, for example the north face of the wall at the head of the slipway (next to the notice board)
Funding options

Harbour Group Funds
Full cost of purchase and placement met by Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd
Find a suitable sponsor to meet the full cost of purchase and placement
Request donations from members of the public to cover the full cost of purchase and placement (see note 2)
Whilst the above may appear to be fairly straightforward there are possible challenges to this, assuming the committee agrees it should be done in the first place
Planning permission/consent – is it needed from the crown or local authority?
How do we get a plaque cast?
Would it offend the generation that were involved in the original placement?

Note (1) The existing plaque to remain where it is and given suitable treatment to prevent further corrosion, if possible
Note (2) Donations of a fixed sum (£5 cheque only) be requested from members of the public to meet the full costs of purchase and placement. A dedicated page would be created on the PCHG website featuring a ‘virtual stone wall’ with an impression of the plaque fixed on the wall. The idea being that anyone donating £5 would have their name added to a block on the virtual wall and this would be there for the life of the website


The meeting supported the proposals and a committee member is looking to progress matters with regards to costs and funding - There is no completion date for this, though it is anticipated it will be before year end. However, a more detailed submission will be placed before the committee when costs, funding and the required works are determined

What do you think?
If you have any views on this please submit your thoughts either in the comments box or the email link/postal address on the main website

This link will take you to our main website contacts page where you will find our email and postal address

Sunday, 14 August 2011

A welcome sight

RAF Search & Rescue

Sea King Helicopter
click to enlarge

One of the nice things about Gala Day is the support that we receive from the coastal emergency services like, Search & Rescue, the RNLI and Coastguard. Although the RAF Search & Rescue are national rather than coastal they are nonetheless always asked to visit us on Gala Day. Some would say it isn't the same if they don't put in an appearance. Of course their arrival depends very much on availability. If they are dealing with an emergency then they cannot turn up and we all understand that. Old and young certainly enjoy seeing the helicopter - You never know, maybe some of the youngsters watching will be inspired to join the RAF as a result of their day out at Portgordon
The big yellow bird (as it's fondly known) is a formidable aircraft - it's got everything, and if you add to that the finest aircrew in the world. You have something very special - so you can imagine how welcome this helicopter is when someone is in distress

If you want to know more about the RAF and Sea King Helicopter just click the link below

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Charity Raft Race

Portgordon Community Harbour Group
Charity Raft Race
Held on Gala Day - Sunday 17th July 2011

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The winning team

Worthy winners of a great race beating last years winners, 'Buckie Fire Fighters' into second place. They took the lead early on and despite a valiant effort by the firefighters they held on to claim a well deserved victory. Great bunch of guys and they really enjoyed winning

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Winners of the 'Best Raft' Trophy' -

Team 'PORT SCRUBBERS' won the Trophy for 'Best Raft' for the second year running. Apart from giving the crowd some super entertainment the girls in this team also claimed a very creditable third place. Amid all the fun and frolics these are serious contenders - Will they win next time? Have to wait and see. One things for sure, they'll be trying their hardest and the crowd are always behind them

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If determination won prizes then these girls would be in the top tier. They never gave up and warmed the crowd with their spirited efforts in this, their first raft race at Portgordon - We all very much hope they return next year

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The Firefighters never gave up. You wouldn't expect them to. It's not in their nature. They gave it their best shot and despite not winning they were as always a credit to Grampian Fire & Rescue Service

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Another debut team and full of spirit - I wouldn't bet against them next year. A few design problems with the raft seemed to have scuppered their hopes but they will live to fight another day

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Bit of a surprise as following their debut last year it was considered this team would provide a serious challenge. One for the future I think. Great bunch though

The old saying "it isn't about winning" may well be appropriate in some quarters but try telling these racers that. They all came to have some fun and also do their very best to win. Without a doubt they provided fantastic entertainment for an appreciative crowd and they'll all have the memory of this day of days for a long, long time

Thank you all for your efforts and for taking part in our event

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Please buy a Gala day programme

Buy a programme
You could win
click to enlarge

The Gala Day programme is now printed
The printer is on its last legs, the dogs eaten three programmes, I've stapled my finger to another and spilt tea over a few - the ones that have survived will be on sale at the Gala on Sunday

On a serious note, all proceeds from the sale of programmes go directly to the Harbour Group account

Portgordon Community Harbour Group is a charity registered in Scotland
Scottish Charity No SC040805

You could win £50 if you have the lucky programme number

The draw will take place at approx 4.00pm

The winning number will be displayed on this 'Blog' and the main website

Thank you for your support

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Northern Rough Riders

Northern Rough Riders are coming to town the village!
See them on Gala Day

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Northern Rough Riders are a serious re-enactment group who show the Wild West as it really was
Wherever they go they impress the crowds with a lifelike and versatile show

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Please note this show will involve discharging replica weapons and this should be considered when bringing young children and pets

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Gala Day Layout

This is the Gala Day Site Layout

click to enlarge

Please come along to a fun day for family and friends

The 'Fifie' 'Isabella Fortuna' is not coming due to mechanical problems, even so we have plenty on offer and more for the younger children than ever before

Still time to enter a raft

We have one that you can borrow

Just see the contact details below

click to enlarge

Sunday, 10 July 2011

One week till Gala Day

Portgordon Charity Raft Race & Gala Day

***Fun for all***

Sunday 17th July 2011 - starts 12noon till 5.00pm

Still time to enter a Raft

click to enlarge

Just get some friends together and go for it
You could even win £100 for the Charity of your choice

Friday, 8 July 2011

Stalls on Gala Day

Information about some of the Stalls on Gala Day
Sunday 17th July 2011 12noon - 5.00pm

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The Theatre Group do not have a dedicated website - instead they have a dedicated leader in the shape of Christine Crammond. if you are interested in joining a local Drama Group then speak to Christine - she'll be at the stall

There are lots of stalls planned for Gala day

HM Coastguard
Moray Sea Cadets
Buckie Fishing & Heritage Association
Let's Party
Alison Murray
Grampian Fire & Rescue Service
Loretta Quilts
Friends of Portgordon Primary School
Royal Air Force Association
Eileen Newton
Samsung Black belt
WDCS Spey Bay
Help for Heroes

More information of a general nature can be found in the Gala day programme available on the day
cost £1 includes entry into the Gala day Draw you could win