Hugh Smith’s let­ter from Is­lay

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

Cen­tre cel­e­brates

THE Mac­tag­gart Leisure Cen­tre at Bow­more cel­e­brated its 25th an­niver­sary on Oc­to­ber 29 with lots of fes­tiv­i­ties.

Among the at­trac­tions were visit­ing en­ter­tain­ers, a surf sim­u­la­tor and a moon walker. Other ac­tiv­i­ties for young swim­ming pool users were face paint­ing, lots to eat and a ju­nior disco. The cel­e­bra­tion also in­cluded a pre­sen­ta­tion recog­nis­ing the con­tri­bu­tion made by vol­un­teers.

The leisure cen­tre came about through out­stand­ing com­mu­nity ef­forts and it was fit­ting that a num­ber of the orig­i­nal com­mit­tee mem­bers were present.

The fa­cil­ity is housed in one of Bow­more Dis­tillery’s for­mer ware­houses. It also taps in to the waste en­ergy from the dis­tillery which heats the water in the pool.

Fol­low­ing the gen­eros­ity of the dis­tillery, the com­mit­tee be­gan a tire­less cam­paign to se­cure fund­ing. Lo­cal es­tate owner Sir John Mac­tag­gart and his fam­ily gave fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance and their name to the devel­op­ment. Also help­ing to swell the cof­fers was the then High­lands and Is­lands Devel­op­ment Board, Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil and Strath­clyde Re­gional Coun­cil. Pri­vate donors also pro­vided, as did the late James Howat, the for­mer chair­man of the Bow­more Dis­tillery Com­pany who, along with his wife Chris­tine, made good the short­fall.

Build­ing work on the project was car­ried out by the Woodrow Brothers and the £950,000 devel­op­ment was of­fi­cially opened in a car­ni­val at­mos­phere in the sum­mer of 1991.

Since then, the fa­cil­ity has been ex­tended and, as well as the swim­ming pool, it now houses a fit­ness stu­dio, sauna and sunbed, ac­tiv­i­ties room, sports shop, laun­derette and hair­dress­ing sa­lon.

Over the years it has not been all plain sail­ing, with the fab­ric need­ing at­ten­tion and the quest for fund­ing an on­go­ing prob­lem.

The cen­tre staff are in good heart and have won a num­ber of awards, in­clud­ing the Queen’s Award for Vol­un­tary Ser­vice in 2015.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to the cen­tre on its achieve­ment over the past quar­ter cen­tury.

Sk­iff race on Loch Gorm

LOCH GORM in the Kil­choman district is not noted for its boat­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

This changed last month when the Is­lay coastal row­ing club held the John MacLel­lan Memo­rial Sk­iff Race on the largest fresh water loch on the is­land. The race com­mem­o­rates Port Char­lotte na­tive John MacLel­lan, for­mer man­ager of Kil­choman Dis­tillery, whose un­timely death ear­lier in the year greatly sad­dened his fam­ily, friends and col­leagues in the dis­till­ing in­dus­try.

The memo­rial race was fit­tingly spon­sored by Kil­choman Dis­tillery, which also pre­sented a sil­ver quaich in his mem­ory.

Re­ceiv­ing the tro­phy, along with other spir­ited prizes, was the win­ning team, the Fore­shots, whose row­ers were Aileas Colthart, Bry­ony Boyd, Don­ald MacPhee, Peter Craig and helms­man Gil­bert MacLel­lan.

The prizes were handed over by Kil­choman Dis­tillery owner An­thony Wills and all funds raised was do­nated to the John MacLel­lan Beat­son Trib­ute Fund.

Con­grat­u­la­tions

I WISH many fur­ther happy years to­gether to Bow­more res­i­dents Mau­reen and John Woodrow, who cel­e­brated their golden wed­ding an­niver­sary.

Their wed­ding cer­e­mony was held at the Round Church on Oc­to­ber 19, 1966, and car­ried out by the late Rev John Muir Wat­son. Con­grat­u­la­tions to you both.

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