Arran Banner letters – week 24

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The Buteman


My father’s family members are from Bute, grew up, were educated there, and went on higher education in Glasgow. Thereafter they lead various professional lives on the mainland, but returning regularly back ‘home’. Similarly many kids from Arran were boarded and educated in Rothesay during term times.

This recent news about the closure of The Buteman newspaper title after 165 years makes me very sad, and I feel a deep sense of personal loss because of it’s historical connections to my family’s heritage since 1900. In a previous world of no social media the paper has been an integral part of my family’s lives over many years and an important local news medium, allowing them to keep in touch when elsewhere. I am certain many others believe this also.

Bute has a higher population than Arran and more could surely be done to promote development of the title and boost circulation level on a par with the Arran Banner.

The Oban Times group, having successfully driven the The Arran Banner forwards in recent years, would seem to be an excellent natural new home for The Buteman if that were possible. Could it be that your group might find a way to do something to help to support the saving of this other historic title?


Andrew Hamilton,

Eaglesham and Lochranza.

Festival thanks

This year marked the 25th Arran Folk Festival, the ninth under the  guardianship of ArranEvents, and what a festival it was.

However, there is no way the three of us in ArranEvents could run this with out a lot of support so, on behalf of Jon, Robin and myself I would like to use your columns to extend thanks to everyone who has contributed to making this year’s festival another resounding success.

What turns the weekend from a couple of concerts in Brodick Hall into Festival is surely the afternoon sessions, and these have grown arms and legs over the years thanks to many fine returning musical visitors and the stewardship of the force of nature that is ‘Uncle’ Keith Robertson – we genuinely cannot thank Keith enough.

We also must thank the Douglas Hotel and Faye’s teams from Lochranza, and now Lagg, distilleries for their continued and invaluable support over the years.

Personal thanks must go to the long-suffering significant others who continue to stand by us – so far! Lindsay, Lorna, Nicola and Trixi.

Of course, no Arran event is complete without a raffle!  Many thanks to the local businesses who year after year donate so generously, and to this year’s super-sellers Bethan and Robbie.

This year saw our ever-growing late-night sessions move to the larger surroundings of the Brodick Bar, so heartfelt thanks to our gracious host Graeme McKinnon and his team.

Finally, but most importantly, our deepest thanks go to all those, from near and far, who put their hands in their pockets and spend their increasingly hard-earned cash on concert tickets, raffle tickets, t-shirts and CDs, travel and accommodation, food and drink.  Your support of both live music and our beautiful island is the real reason this festival exists.

So once again, to everyone involved – not just this year but every year – thank you!


Andy McCallum,


Sing Messiah


For the last 10 years, part of the McLellan Arts Festival in September has been the formation of a community choir to come together with the talented students from the Opera Summer School, organised by Peter Alexander Wilson. and  Arran Theatre and Arts Trust under the baton of, the kindly but rigorous, Alex Crowe.

These years have been both successful and inspirational for all those taking part and everyone is welcome. This year, we are returning to The Messiah. No previous experience is necessary and there will be three rehearsals, before the arrival of the students, with Diana Hamilton as well as rehearsals with the conductor, Alex Crowe. In addition, there are helpful websites available which ‘sound out parts’ which can be very useful.

The main thing is that, if you like to sing, this is an experience not to be missed.

The performance date is Sunday September 8 at 7.30pm with a rehearsal that morning. The other fixed rehearsal date with Alex Crowe is Wednesday  September 4 at 7.30pm at Arran Lodge, Altachorvie. Other rehearsals to be confirmed but if you cannot come to all rehearsals do not be put off – the support of singing with the students really does carry the singers along with inspirational results.

If you would like to take part  please give your name to Margaret Wright who also has scores available. Phone 01770 700384 or email

Looking forward to singing with you!


Heather Gough,

McLellan Arts Festival.

Summer Fair


The staff and pupils of Corrie Primary School would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported our Summer Fair.  A big thank you to all the local businesses who donated raffle prizes as well as the parents and residents who brought along home baking and items for the stalls.

Thank you for the huge turnout of locals and visitors who contributed to the happy atmosphere despite the wet weather. We raised over £750.00 which we are all very proud of. All money raised will benefit the children.


Staff and pupils,

Corrie Primary School.

Lighting issue


We arrived on the island on May 7 and have noted that the street lights in Brodick and Lamlash have been lit constantly, night and day.  Given the reductions in council funding of flower beds and other items on the island, I am surprised to see this waste of energy and unnecessary expenditure.  As the days grow longer, why are these lights continuing to operate?


Sharon Shenhav,


Editors note: The Banner highlighted the situation in our April 27 edition, which is not just confined to Brodick and Lamlash, and will advise on the progress being made in our next issue.