The Strichen Community Park’s newly refurbished Lodge restaurant and Coffee shop was officially opened on Friday by First Minister Alex Salmond.
Talking at the opening the First Minister said: “Strichen is my home and I am immensely proud of the work that has gone into creating this fantastic attraction which the whole community can enjoy. The volunteers who have run the community park deserve all our thanks for the extraordinary work they have devoted to enhancing the facility in the North East of Scotland.
“It has been a pleasure to see Strichen lake develop into a first class facility , which will attract thousands of people from far and wide to enjoy the tranquil surroundings and beautiful setting all year round.
“The new facilities allow the community park to be available to even more people and to earn vital revenue for the Lake Committee to plough back into further development of the community park.
“I represented this part of Aberdeenshire as an MP for 23 years and it is a place that is close to my heart. The SNP has a strong record of delivery in the North East, a record I fully intend to build on as MSP for Aberdeenshire East.”
The opening of the event saw the First Minister unveiling the plaque and officially declaring the Lodge open. Mr Salmond delighted the guests at the opening with reading some of the poem that Mr B Anderson wrote about the Strichen Community Park in 2001.
The opening was not all about the First Minister as treasurer of Strichen Community Park Company Peggy D’Inverno stated that: “It is well known that behind every great man, is an even greater women.” As she presented Mrs Salmond with a bouquet of flowers.
Stan Tennant the secretary of the Strichen Community Park Committee told the Herald: “ I would like to thank everyone who attended to help to make the day such a success, particularly our First Minister, who was so hugely instrumental in helping us with the initial acquisition of the land and latterly with the funding of the rebuild. I would also like to record the thanks and gratitude, on behalf of the committee and residents of the village of Strichen, for the dedication and hard work of those local volunteers who did so much to deliver a park and restaurant which does us all proud. And many thanks, also, must go to Joanna McCallum and her staff for providing a magnificent buffet and refreshments. We all wish her well for the future.”
The lodge has already created employment opportunities in the area and created 2 full time positions, as well as three part time positions and has been touted as the ‘jewel in the crown’ for the Park.
A handout from the opening event detailed the story of the community park and states how they were able to raise over £300,000 from the Big Lottery. It states: “Thanks again goes to the many volunteers over the years who have made the park a place the community of Strichen should be proud of and to Bert Fowlie who’s ambition to completely restore the lake and park to what it used to be when he was a boy has been full-filled.”
The coffee shop and restaurant is ran on a day to day basis by Joanna Mccallum, who brings a wealth of experience from being events co-ordinator at the Black Isles Show and Ackergill Tower exclusive use castle to the 5 star Dorchester Hotel in London.
The lodge has been open since May 31 but Friday was the official grand opening after months of work into renovating the derelict Lodge house. The future for the park has been envisioned since 1994 when the Strichen Community Park Company was incorporated in 1994.