In­ver­aray’s un­sung hero

Argyllshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Colin Cameron ed­i­[email protected]­gyll­shiread­ver­tiser.co.uk

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.

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DJ proudly shows off his hand-writ­ten cer­tifi­cate.

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Wee Cameron waits to see Santa with dad Gra­ham MacPherson and mum Bev­er­ley Wat­son. Daddy was slightly the more ex­cited of the two boys.

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Santa ap­plauds as Niall Iain MacLean switches on In­ver­aray’s Christ­mas lights.

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Guest of hon­our Niall Iain MacLean with Santa Claus.

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