New business manager to put museum at top

BUSINESS MANAGER: Gary Campbell looks to the future with the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses.
BUSINESS MANAGER: Gary Campbell looks to the future with the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses.

Business manager Gary Campbell took up his position at the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses earlier in the year, and has wasted no time in getting to work to increase the profile of the tourist attraction since its opening on April 1.

Recently, the Fraserburgh Herald caught up with Mr Campbell to find out more about one of the Broch’s newest faces.

Mr Campbell told the Herald that he had applied for the job believing that he was “at that stage in my career, where I’ve done a lot of jobs, and it seemed to be ideal opportunity to make a difference.

“When you get that opportunity to move to somewhere like Fraserburgh, all the better.”

Mr Campbell’s proved to be ideally suited for the job, with a history in both tourism and heritage, both with Northumberland County Council and English Heritage.

The business manager added that, as part of accepting the job, he has set up home in Fraserburgh, commenting that the role is such that it needs “that kind of commitment.”

But this is not the first he has been in the Broch, as he recounts the last time he was in Fraserburgh before accepting his new job: “Bizarrely enough, it was almost 25 years ago to the day. I was playing Highland League football for Fort William.”

His visit to Fraserburgh all those years ago may explain, then, why he has been able to get to grips with life in the Broch so quickly.

He and his team at the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses are now focusing on driving the attraction forward into its 225th anniversary.

Most recently, the team at Fraserburgh took part in a Diamond Jubilee celebration, lighting a torch as part of a national chain of lights to commemorate the event and lightning Kinnaird Head Lighthouse for the first time in several years.

“The Broch has a lot going for it,” said Mr Campbell, adding “People need to be proud of what they’ve got.

“As a Lighthouse Museum, we need to face outwards and involve the community.

“There were 80 people on tours of the museum (as part of the Jubilee celebration) and we could have filled that five times over with the response we got.”

Mr Campbell also spoke of the museum’s good relationship with Fraserburgh Heritage Centre and Banff and Buchan College.

“Every bit of support we get from people coming in all goes into the Lighthouse staying open,” he said.

“We have keen new staff who really understand what we need to achieve to stay open. People here are really passionate about staying open, and are working hard to make sure we don’t close.

“Realistically, if we get it wrong this time, the consequences could be significant, but the first couple of months of this season have been really positive.

“The board has genuinely done an amazing job in keeping this place open. Not a single one of them wanted it to close. They made a decision that has, probably, secured the future of the Lighthouse, and the whole of the staff appreciate that.

“For a town the size of Fraserburgh to have a national collection is really quite something, it just doesn’t happen, we’re amazingly lucky to have it.”

Later this year, in November, Mr Campbell told us that the museum will feature performances from Theatre MODO.

As well as this, the museum hopes that the Scottish National Opera will perform a commissioned piece on the Lighthouse in the same month.

Closing the interview, Gary Campbell wished the Fraserburgh Heritage Centre all the best for the upcoming open day, on Saturday, June 23, from all the staff at the museum.

The lighthouse will celebrate its 225th anniversary on December 1.