Inveraray’s unsung hero
This year’s Inveraray unsung hero is Donald John MacDonald.
Donald John, more commonly known as ‘DJ’, is a familiar sight around Inveraray and is often seen keeping the streets clean in the early hours. The Argyll and Bute Council employee is also a retained firefighter with the Inveraray crew and a faithful supporter of Inveraray Shinty Club.
His life on the streets started during the September weekend in 1989.
DJ said: ‘I remember saying to Jock Munro just after I started, “I won’t be in this job long” – and here I am 29 years later.’
His career as a firefighter is almost as lengthy, as he looks forward to the 29th anniversary of joining Strathclyde Fire Brigade on April 1 next year. His service to the community does not stop there.
For years, DJ has quietly collected Inveraray Shinty Club lottery tickets, bringing in more than £2,000 annually for the club. He was announced as this year’s unsung hero at the Inveraray Christmas lights switch-on celebrations by Inveraray Community Council convener Linda Divers.
DJ, who wins a champagne dinner for two in the Inveraray Inn as a prize, told The Argyllshire Advertiser: ‘Thanks to everyone who voted for me. I’m pretty stunned.’
Christmas has officially started in Inveraray.
A lovely fresh evening on Saturday December 1 saw people turn out in numbers to see well-known retired hotelier and Inveraray resident Niall Iain Maclean switch on the festive lights.
Mid Argyll Pipe Band led a parade of lanterns – each lantern made by Kirsty Smith – along the Main Street to the green, where Mr MacLean did the honours with a flourish.
Then it was on to the fire station where Santa was in residence to hand out presents to lucky children. Plenty of food, good fun and a bar manned by Inveraray Shinty Club members made for a sociable evening for all the family.
A delighted Mr MacLean said: ‘I was pleased to do the honours tonight, and thanks to the community council for asking me.’
Inveraray Community Council convener Linda Divers said: ‘Thank you so much to everyone who came along. Thanks to Mr MacLean for switching on the lights, Dennis for driving Santa, Cathie and Kairene for looking after Santa, Jim and Lorraine for the burgers, the shinty boys for supplying and running the bar, and Craig for the sound system. A massive thanks as well to Mid Argyll Pipe Band and to watch manager John Munro and all the boys at the fire station. Sorry if I’ve missed anyone.’
She added: ‘Thank you to all my fellow community councillors for their continued help and support.’
And Linda made two major announcements on the night – the recipient of Inveraray’s unsung hero award and a massive boost for the town’s minibus fund. Read more about these stories on pages one and three respectively.
DJ proudly shows off his hand-written certificate.
Wee Cameron waits to see Santa with dad Graham MacPherson and mum Beverley Watson. Daddy was slightly the more excited of the two boys.
Santa applauds as Niall Iain MacLean switches on Inveraray’s Christmas lights.
Guest of honour Niall Iain MacLean with Santa Claus.