The Princess Royal has officially opened Banchory Men's Shed
Two charities have combined to provide vital support for men in the community.
Banchory and District Men’s Shed, the first shed in Scotland to be based at a Legion Scotland branch, is officially open following the unveiling of a commemorative plaque by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, to mark the occasion this month.
The idea for the shed to be based at Legion premises is the brainchild of a pioneering joint partnership between Legion Scotland and the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association (SMSA). Jason Schroeder, SMSA executive officer, said: “There are over 190 open or developing Men’s Shed groups across Scotland accessible to men (age 18 or over) from all walks of life offering a welcoming, supportive and intergenerational environment for local men to go for friendship, comradeship and/or to learn or pass on skills to others.
“It is hoped that this shed will also provide an avenue/pathway for ex-servicemen and veterans, based in and around Banchory, to join and see what it has to offer. Men’s Sheds are a place for men – no matter what their background - to connect and socialise with their communities for mutual benefit. Veterans can thrive in a shed environment which offers very similar types of banter, camaraderie and purpose which makes them unique when compared to other types of civilian clubs etc. The shed can also positively benefit from their involvement too.”
The Banchory and District Men’s Shed was conceived in 2015 as part of Legion Scotland’s Banchory Branch and Club. The shed premises, beneath the building on Ramsay Road, have been transformed into an impressive workshop and social area with a wealth of varied activities to meet the needs of its growing membership.
Following the lengthy conversion and fundraising project, the Shed finally opened its doors in February 2020 for a short period of time before being hit by closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. Shed chairman Paul Evans 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 valuable resource for men in our community who are looking to make new social contacts and take part in activities.”
Her Royal Highness was given a tour of the premises by the shed chairman and was greeted on arrival by the Lord Lieutenant for Kincardineshire Alastair Macphie, Deputy Lieutenant of Kincardineshire, Claire Maitland and Alastair Black, Legion Scotland area chairman for Aberdeen.
Shed members – Fred Harrott (silversmithing), Alan Pumfrey (bird table construction and model railway), John Dunnett (model steam engines), John Mason (clock repair) and Dr Bill Byth (bicycle maintenance) – had the opportunity to showcase some of the projects that they had been involved in to The Princess Royal before she spent some time talking to other members and invited guests including architect Gerry Robb and building contractor, Bruce McCombie.
MEvans then invited Her Royal Highness to unveil the plaque to commemorate the opening, which was hand-engraved by member, John Mason. Alan Pumfrey then presented Her Royal Highness with a gift of a bird box that he had made.
Banchory and District Men’s Shed is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays, 9.30am – 12pm. Activities on offer include the workshop, bridge sessions, silversmithing, computing, cycling and model building. For more information about Banchory and District Men’s Shed, visit the website and follow their journey on Facebook.
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