Community stalwart Elizabeth steps down after 30 years service

ONE of the founding members of the New Aberdour and Tyrie Community Council has stepped down after 30 years service to allow her more time to spend with family and friends.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 11th February 2010, 7:18 am
Updated Thursday, 11th February 2010, 7:19 am

Mrs Elizabeth Pittendrigh has just stepped down as the secretary after a number of years in that role.

The Herald was keen to find out about her connections with the organisation and invited her to talk about her involvement and highlight some of the achievements of the organisation over this time.

She began by explaining how she first got involved: "In the mid 1970s, local communities were invited, by Aberdeenshire Council, to set up community associations with the ultimate aim of each area having a community council.

"All the groups in the area, such as Guides, Brownies, Young Farmers, Tyrie Church, Farmers Union, the Boyndlie SWRI, Tyrie School and several others were invited to send a representative and the Tyrie/Boyndlie Community Association came into being.

"After several meetings with other local associations it was agreed that the Tyrie/ Boyndlie and the New Aberdour/Pennan group would go together to form one community council to be called the Aberdour and Tyrie Community Council. Each area of Tyrie/Boyndlie, New Aberdour and Pennan would send four representatives, giving a membership of 12."

She recalled that the first meeting of Aberdour & Tyrie Community Council took place on October 18, 1977 and that she was one of the members, representing Tyrie/Boyndlie.

Mrs Pittendrigh said: "Over the years, most members have been office bearers and I did my turn as secretary and chairman. During my years as headteacher at Tyrie School I did have a break from the community council but on my retirement in 2000 I returned to the community council and for the last four years, under the chairmanship of Mr Robin Michie, I have served as secretary."

She explained that Aberdour & Tyrie community council is proud of being one of the few community councils to have an unbroken record of service since it was first constituted in 1977. This was commemorated with a party in 2007 at the 30th anniversary, when as many as possible of the former members attended.

Mrs Pittendrigh is passionate about the role that community council's hold within local communities, saying: "The community council is the first rung of Local Government and as such has had a very important role to play in the life of the community. It provides everyone with direct access to Aberdeenshire councillors, to Aberdeenshire Council and if necessary to National Scottish and UK Government.

"Aberdour & Tyrie Community Council has been very fortunate, over the years, with the quality of the Aberdeenshire councillors who have served the community."

She paid tribute to the former regional councillors, Allan Wright and Robert Watson, district councillor Joe Mitchell from Coburty, followed by Councillor Mitchell Burnett from Tyrie who attended the meetings.

At the latest reorganisation of local government the areas were changed, so, along with Councillor Burnett, they then had councillors John Duncan and Sydney Mair.

Mrs Pitendrigh said: "These three gentleman, regularly attended the community council meetings until the untimely death of Councillor Burnett. They all ensured that we were kept up to date with what was going on at council level and we could make them aware of what was required in our area.

"The third councillor for the ward of Troup is now Councillor Robert Watson and all three look out for the needs of the people of the Aberdour & Tyrie community council area.

"A representative from Grampian Police usually attends the meetings. We can have our community policeman, our community wardens or a traffic policeman, depending who is available and this proves very useful. Any worries can be passed on to them and they make us aware of anything that is happening in our area, that we should know about."

Over the years, the community council has been invovled with a wide variety of local projects including coastal protection in Pennan, the improvement of the electric cable that supplied Pennan and Tyrie and they have spoken up in support of the schools in the area.

"We have made many representations to the planning department - sometimes for and sometimes against - a particular planning request. We have spoken about road gritting, the provision of rubbish bins and repairs to car parks.

"Perhaps our biggest failure has been not to have the public toilets replaced at New Aberdour beach after they were vandalised. I am sure the community council members will not give up in this endeavour."

Lately the community council has also been very supportive of the provision of Christmas lights in New Aberdour and also work very closely with the roads department and inform them of repairs needed and they coordinate the distribution of the summer flowers, provided by Aberdeenshire Council.

Looking back over her years with the community council, Mrs Pittendrigh said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed my involvement with Aberdour & Tyrie Community Council. There has always been a friendly atmosphere, with the whole group supporting problems from all areas.

I have decided to retire at this time so that I have a little more time to spend with family and friends.

"I am very grateful to Mr Steve Garratt, from New Aberdour, who is taking on the role of secretary. I wish him and all the members of Aberdour & Tyrie Community Council every success in the future," said Mrs Pittendrigh.