Granny surprise at distillery for Roddie

Roddie at the distillery mural.

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Plenty people took the opportunity to leap to Lagg for a look round the new distillery last Saturday.

The distillery opened its doors for the day to let people see round. Free tours and tastings were on offer and there were special guests and performances throughout the day, including songs from Kilmory primary pupils and book readings by Arran children’s author Alison Page. Terry Southall gave talks on ornithology.

There was also a display of the family history of Roddie Thompson of Lamlash, who made a remarkable discovery on his first visit to the distillery last year.

Mr Thompson, who can trace his ancestors on Arran back five generations, told the Arran Banner: ‘My wife Alison and I were visiting the new distillery last summer for the first time. Alison screeched as she recognised my grandmother, Annie Thompson, smiling back at her from the photo montage on the wall of the distillery where the tours start. Annie Frew, as she was then, is the girl with the big smile and the straw hat sitting at the left of the mural.

‘We quickly identified all of the members of granny’s family – her parents, two of her brothers and her sister. Harry, the youngest, is being held by the family’s nurse. He was born in April 1898 so his presence establishes the year the photograph was taken,’ Roddie added.

The photographs were taken by George Stewart, a pioneer of early photography, when the family were on holiday in Dippen.

Fifth generation Roddie and Alison have been residents on Arran three times but they spent many years on the mainland where Roddie was a teacher before returning to run The Shore bed and breakfast in Lamlash which they gave up in 2007. The still live in Lamlash.