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Ellon could soon boast a Friends Of Cemetery group

By Kirsty Brown

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A PUBLIC meeting to look at the possibility of forming a Friends of Ellon Cemetery volunteer group was a success.

The meeting took place in Ellon Primary School last week and was led by local councillor Gillian Owen who was inspired by the impact that Friends Of Turriff Cemetery had made in their area.

She was joined at the meeting by Formartine community planning officer Samantha Rawlins, landscape services officer Andrew McInyre and vice-chairman of the Turriff group Morag Lightning, as well as members of the public who were interested in finding out more about forming such a group.

Speaking on the night, Ms Owen said: “The purpose of this evening is to see if we can create our own Friends of Ellon Cemetery.

“Many of you will have family members, friends, acquaintances or colleagues resting in the Cemetery and we want to ensure that their surroundings are well kept and a lovely place for us all to sit and reflect.

“Aberdeenshire Council's landscape services really do their best with the budget they have available; we all know it is restricted so I hope that we can provide that little bit extra.

“My attention was drawn to the fantastic achievements that Friends of Turriff have made to create a really lovely environment.”

Leading the meeting were Andrew McIntyre, Gillian Owen, Samantha Rawlins and Morag Lightning. Picture: Phil Harman
Leading the meeting were Andrew McIntyre, Gillian Owen, Samantha Rawlins and Morag Lightning. Picture: Phil Harman

Those attending the meeting heard from Ms Lightning about Friends Of Turriff Cemetery's journey – from an idea shared by a few people to the thriving, award-winning community group that it is just two years later.

They then heard from Mr McIntyre on some of the jobs that volunteers could do to complement the work of Aberdeenshire Council, and how a partnership between volunteers and landscape services would work.

Continuing, Ms Owen said: “I think this is a real opportunity to enhance what is achieved at the Ellon Cemetery.

“We also have the opportunity to shape the new Cemetery and decide from the start what we would like to see we could actually be part of the bigger picture - we can decide where the baby memorial is, the tribute to the fallen and the general shape of what the Cemetery looks like - but our first priority has to be the Cemetery in Castle Road, what will make it look better and how we can work to ensure that happens.”

Following the public meeting it was agreed that the next step would be a meeting for all those interested in joining a Friends Of Ellon Cemetery group which Ms Owen will organise.

Anybody who has not already stated their interest but would like to volunteer as part of the new group should contact councillor Gillian Owen at: cllr.g.owen@aberdeenshire.gov.uk to be added to the list of interested volunteers.

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