Festive lights stalwart calls it a day after 40 years
FOR 40 years local electrician Alan Cruickshank has helped keep the festive lights shining in Buckie without any thought of thanks for his dedication.
However, at a special surprise celebration evening in the Seafield Arms, Cullen, it was time to give something back to Mr Cruickshank (63) as he marked his retirement from the Buckie Christmas Lights Committee.
Colleagues, friends and family gathered to pay tribute to a man whose self-effacing nature masked the huge contribution he has made to the committee over four decades, for many of these years while also helping run the family business with his brother.
As a mark of respect, committee chairman presented Mr Cruickshank with a decanter, glasses, hip flask and, of course, a bottle of whisky, while wife Margaret was handed a bouquet of flowers.
Looking back over 40 years of near continuous service – his only time off being due to a broken arm – Mr Cruickshank noted there had been so many changes.
"I first got involved as back in the early days they needed an electrician to run a flex from the top of the lamppost where the light was to the bottom where it was plugged in," he said.
"That's all different now and much easier.
"We used to have this scaffold we had to push around all over the place to put the lights up, we'd no machinery to help us. It was weeks of working evenings and Sundays to get them up. There were some scary moments up that scaffold with wind, rain and snow.
"The lights back then were very heavy but now they're really light and easy to work with.
"There's been a lot of changes in the faces that came along to help. I'm going to miss all those people and I'd like to thank everyone I've worked with over the years.
"I'm getting too old now, it's time to hand over to the young lads and give new blood a chance. I wish Adam Murray all the best in his new role as lead sparky with the lights."
Mr Milne stressed that Mr Cruickshank's retirement from the lights committee was an occasion which could not pass unremarked.
"We felt this was something we had to do," he continued.
"Quite often dedicated people like Alan, who don't go looking for thanks, don't get thanked for all they've done.
"He spent a good many cold evenings up at the old Cruickshank's building working and repairing the lights which a lot of people don't know about, then spending about for or five weeks to put them up. Alan was dedicated and dogged in his commitment to the lights.
"Alan made sure he didn't leave the committee until we were in a very position. Over the last five years we've significantly invested in Buckie's Christmas lights, replacing all the old ones I think we've got the best lights in Moray here in Buckie.
"We all wish Alan all the best and thank him for the last four decades."