Family gather for bench unveiling

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Descendants of Jane Whyte the New Aberdour Heroine who saved 15 sailors from shipwreck in 1884, gathered on the site of her memorial at Aberdour Beach recently.

They were there to see the unveiling of a beautiful stone bench.

The bench is in memory of Willie and Gertie Kelman, Willie being Jane Whyte’s great grandson, and was donated by his grandchildren.

Present at the ceremony were many of Jane’s family members along with the local community council and the Jane Whyte committee.

Mark Duguid from Strathaven, said: “This bench is to honour both our great, great, great grandmother Jane Whyte and my late grandfather and grandmother Willie and Gertie Kelman.”

Willie was formerly owner of Aberdeenshire haulage contractors, Kelman of Turriff and he used to take his family regularly to the beach at New Aberdour.

It was his stories of Jane’s heroics that led his young son Robbie to be inspired and fall in love with the surrounds and heroic mysticism of Jane Whyte. It was a cold October’s morning in 1884 when mother of nine Jane Whyte rescued 15 sailors from the stranded ship the “William Hope” less than a 100 yards from where she lived on a small cottage on the beach. For her brave action she was awarded the RNLI Silver Medal.

A few years ago the only part of her cottage which remained, the gable end wall was turned into a memorial.

Last year an information board was erected on the site on the 100th anniversary of her death and the area is now enhanced with the addition of the stone bench.

The bench idea was Robbie’s and approved by local farmer Robert Michie and his family who own the land.

A short memorial service was held and with music on the pipes and songs by the Average Whyte Band, featuring Trish and June Macleod.

The family members then left to attend the preview of the Jane Whyte Exhibition at the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses which was opened by Fraserburgh Lifeboat Coxswain Vic Sutherland.