Chairman's Report to AGM 2010

Category: Publications

Chairman's Report to AGM 2010 - February 22, 2010

Note of the minute of the North Tolsta Historical Society at the Schoolhouse, North Tolsta on Wednesday 13th January 2010 at 7.30 pm.

PRESENT: D. Murray, R. Murray, J.A.Maciver, M. Maciver, S. Maciver, C.M. Smith, C. Macleod, M. Murray, A. Macleod, A. Mackenzie.

 CHAIR: D. Murray.

1. Note of the last meeting.

The note of the last meeting on 1st September 2009 was approved.

2. Matters arising

Committee has purchased 1 copy of the following books:
When I Heard the Bell by John Macleod.
Scottish Customs from the Cradle to the Grave by Margaret Bennett.
Croft History of Back by Bill Lawson.
Mary Smith gave a complimentary copy of her book Sheòl Mi’n Uiridh to show her appreciation of help given by the Society.
Committee members are reminded that all these books may be borrowed at any time. Remember to sign book when taking any books from C.E.!

3. Garry and Cladach Project.

It has been extremely difficult to get estimates from people who may be interested in these projects. Chair said that he now has one estimate from Woody for erection of plinths at these sites. Chair and M. Murray accompanied Woody on site visits. Woody and possibly J.A. to enquire about suppliers and cost of suitable plaques for these sites. Committee agreed on the importance of erecting plaques which would last. Extra expense incurred in doing this would be well justified. Committee must have relevant estimates before applying for grants.

4. Social Evening on 16th October 2009

Social evening was very well attended. Everyone found the evening enjoyable and informative. 
Chair expressed his thanks to all the ladies who had helped that evening.
Chair also expressed his thanks on behalf of all committee members to Anna and Rhoda for their work scanning photographs, collecting press cuttings etc. Thanks also to ladies who had given the office a clean.

5. Spring Seanchas

Work in progress on next Seanchas, but more material needed. Anyone with any ideas to get in touch.

6. Inventory of materials in our collection.

This request for an inventory of resources has come from Annie Macsween.
Booklet will eventually be printed showing resources held by all the C. E. on the island. Committee filled in chart and this gave an indication of number of photographs, songs, publications, audio tapes etc.held by C.E.

7. Statutory Performance Indicator 11

Museum nan Eilean has requested statistics from C.E. for visits by members of the public and enquiries, through whatever medium by members of the public, for each quarter of the year. C.E. will now have to provide this information before it receives its small annual funding.

8. Finance and Correspondence

£2,395.33 recorded at 31st. December 2009.
C.E. had received an invitation to launch of Sheòl mi’n Uiridh by Mary Smith. Chair attended. Invitation to attend Angus Macleod memorial lecture. No one from C.E. had attended.
Invitation from Third Sector Hebrides for A.G.M. on 24 November.
Michael Robson (author of Rona-A Distant Island) intends to write a book about walks between Ness and Tolsta. He has requested permission to visit C.E. to look at materials and original manuscripts.
Enquiry from Dr John Halliday at Tiree Historical Centre for information about Rev. J. Macleod who was born at 36 North Tolsta.
Enquiry for information about Maggie Murray who taught at Tolsta School 1909-1912,
Request from Mairi Alice Bartlett (Researcher Mac TV) for photos of Massey Ferguson Tractors. Chair had sent 2 photos.
Thank you note from Sheila Smith Edinburgh for Croft History Vol.1
Several Christmas cards received by C.E.

9. A.O.C.B.

Anna to cancel telephone in C.E. This was agreed as it was not being used very often and line rental is costly.

Date of A.G.M. Monday February 22nd. 2010 in the Tigh Ceilidh.


Annual General Meeting 22nd February 2010

Chairman’s Report

Welcome to the AGM and thanks to the committee for their work throughout the year. Thanks also to all Society members and friends for their continued support.

For me as chairman, the past year has been a bit less arduous than the past few years, but nevertheless it has been enjoyable and profitable for the Comann Eachdraidh. Our Society still has strong public support. We have nearly 400 members; Seanchas sells well and generates discussion among our readers; our website is very popular; our public events are well supported and enquiries about the village continue unabated.

We in turn support local groups and we especially wish Tolsta Community Development Ltd all the best in their efforts to improve the village. All the enquiries about the village are from friendly, courteous people and it is a pleasure to attend to them. Occasionally a few surprises crop up. Among these surprises was a visit from a very nice couple, Donald and Careen Mackenzie from Drumnadrochit, who turned up at our house one morning last September, looking to trace their ancestors. They knew that Donald’s grandfather was a John Mackenzie from Tolsta and after some discussion I realised that Donald’s grandfather was John Macinnes’s son – Iain an Dem – who, as a youngster had left the army without leave, changed his name to Mackenzie and got married in Avoch. Apparently most of the older generation, now gone, knew about the name change, but never discussed it let alone report it. Great community spirit!

Another day, while photographing the plaque at Garry, a couple of new-comers to the village approached and gave a history lesson on the Garry Bridge etc. What could one do but politely listen? It is good to know that some of the new-comers are taking an interest in the village.

On 20th June 2009 we had a guided tour of the Garry area with Dr Mary Macleod, Archaeologist. About 25 people attended and indeed we all learned something new about the area.

On 16th October 2009 we had a well attended public meeting in the hall. The topic for the evening was Operation Cauldron, the biological weapons tests that took place off Tolsta on board Ben Lomond in 1952.

The meeting on the Eastern Townships of Quebec with Margaret Bennett, which was to have taken place last October had to be postponed. Margaret hopes to have this meeting in the Community Hall in April.

We were less involved in Homecoming events than had been anticipated by An Caidreachas Eachdraidh. We had a bookstall in the Town Hall foyer on 6th and 7th August 2009 along with the Ness Historical Society. All the Homecoming Events appeared to have been based in Stornoway and ended with the spectacular Tattoo and fireworks at the Castle Grounds. The Stornoway Amenities Trust deserves to be commended for organising these events.

Alasdair Nicolson, secretary of Third Sector Hebrides attended a meeting with us on 13th May 2009 and gave us information on the funding that could possibly be available for our projects on the plaques in Garry and The Cladach. Progress on these projects has been slow, but I hope they will be moved forward this coming year.

A few of our committee members attended a seminar on 3rd March 2009 in Stornoway, entitled Preserving the Recorded Memory of the Western Isles, with representatives from Dundee University. Comhairle nan Eilean have responded to their recommendations and have secured funding for the appointment of a Project Manager, an experienced Archivist and a Gaelic speaking Trainee Archivist. The project will initially be based in the Stornoway Library. I hope that all the volunteers from the Comann Eachdraidh will also be involved and that this project will not become another bureaucracy.

I attended a few promising meetings of An Caidreachas Eachdraidh at the beginning of 2009. However there have been no further meetings since June 2009.

Hebridean Connections appears to be on hold.

Village populatio (as accurately as we can make it)

AGM 2010  AGM 2009  AGM 2008  AGM 2007  AGM 2006 AGM 2005  AGM 2004
Pre school children   22   31   33   28   32   30   32
School age children  77 76 75 70 70 64 65
Age: 16-18 6 8 6 9 11 11 7
Age: 18-59 215 237 250 243 243 244 242
Over 60s 175 167 165 158 147 140 140
Total 495 519 529 508 503 489 486
Births (in 12 month period) 1 4 6 0 7 4 7
Deaths (in 12 month period) 2 6 6 2 1 7 11
Holiday homes 15 13 12 15 14 16 13
Unoccupied houses 10 8 4 7 6 5 5

There has been a drop in some categories this year, but it only takes the movement of a handful of families to affect the demography of a village. Like all villages in the Western Isles the statistics indicate that the population is an ageing population.

I hope this report has given an indication of some of our activities over the year.

Thanks again to all those who contributed to another successful year at the Comann Eachdraidh. 

Donald Murray, chairman.