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By Hugh Boag
A new memorial garden has been created within the walls of the restored Clachan Church.
The Trustees of the Clachan restoration project have devised a scheme that enables anyone who wishes to retain a connection with a place they hold dear, to do so by means of a plaque of remembrance.
George Bannatyne is one of the people who has been involved in the project from the the very start and is passionate about the new garden which he describes as a multi-faith/no faith location and is available to anyone on or off the island.
A new website has been created to help people find out easily about the garden and it is on there that beautiful high quality 8in x 6in bronze plaques can be purchased only from the Shiskine Valley Trust, at a cost of £299, which are attached to commemorative boards.
Besides allowing relatives and friends to be remembered, part of the proceeds from the cost of each plaque goes directly to the restoration fund, ensuring that the Arran Memorial Garden (Old Clachan Preaching House) will always be properly maintained for future generations to enjoy.
George, along with the late Jack Murchie, were the primary coordinators behind the project of restoring the Old Clachan Church near Shiskine referred to as a preaching or a meeting house in documents from the time of its construction in 1805, as was its predecessor Duchess Anne’s Chapel in 1708.
The Clachan Glen has been a place of Christian burial since medieval times and continues to be the present day local burying ground for the people of the surrounding district. Restoration began in 2009 and was completed four years later.
Chairman of Shiskine Valley Improvements Robert Waine, which oversees the work of the trust said: ‘The Clachan is also a regular place of pilgrimage for families tracing ancestors, who left these shores on emigration ships generations before. Alas nowadays, many choose to be cremated and so there is no headstone to visit, beside those of old friends and relatives who lie there amid its tranquility.
‘Many seeking their fortune oversees, lie forever in distant lands, no trace of them left in the place of their birth and infant nurture. Besides this, many regular Arran visitors, some with connections to the island going back generations, have no memorial in a place they loved and enjoyed. This has for some time been a cause for concern to many.
‘However, it is now possible to place specially designed plaques within the walls of the old preaching house, which has been dedicated as the Arran Memorial Garden, he added.
Visit: arranmemorialgarden.org.uk for more details.
Robert Waine and George Bannatyne in the new Arran Memorial Garden. 01_B06clachan01
The Clachan Church as seen from the path leading to the new cemetery. 01_B06clachan02