Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Glen still paying the price of excess

How do we pass our Saturdays?
Good question indeed and one that has been put to the Wing Centre and all his wee pals in the Glen over the past two weekends. In fact it was uttered to him this very day at the entrance to the shop at the bottom of Balmacaan Road- of course the Wing Centre gives  the by now  well-rehearsed  line  “I go up to the Chairman’s  house and look at the MacAulay Cup.” by way of response. The real answer, however, is that he doesn’t really pass them very well.
 Last Saturday for instance he was raking up leaves: next Saturday he may be cutting kindlers- and truthfully the crack about the MacAulay Cup was just that-a crack…… because the Wing Centre has not seen the MacAulay Cup for some considerable time. The rumours are that the actual trophy is back in the Glen but nobody is really sure where it is: the Chairman is most likely keeping it at a safe house, probably up the Glen. It may even be at Shewglie, though if history teaches us anything e.g. The Raid of Inchbrine, it teaches us that keeping things at Shewglie is no guarantee that stuff kept there won’t fall into the hands of Lochabermen.
Outwith Saturdays much of the time is spent thinking about ways of raising money. As all shinty clubs know the real skill in shinty is not how to hit a ball but how to raise money to allow guys to hit a ball in other parts of the Highlands as well as the Glen.
Which is why the Wing Centre’s thoughts switched to fundraising and its importance in keeping the game afloat. It is a subject he had mused about a few weeks back when he cast his mind over Russ Cameron’s prodigious efforts in climbing the Meall and rowing the Loch. Then there was the sponsored swimming, the shinty on every park in the world and of course the ritual of letting the ducks go swim year about in the Coilty and the Enrick. The cycle tour of the Loch was another event which was referred to and illustrated with a photo- and the original was so sharp and clear that in order to balance matters it’s as well to include a couple of gritty homemade ones which turned up in a cupboard. Only it referred to a different and earlier cycle event which, until these grainy pics were unearthed recently, had been almost erased from the collective memory of the Glen
Talking of things which are gritty and homemade Mr Reid and Alan Bell fit that bill perfectly but that is only partly why the snap of that gruesome twosome is included here. The main reason is that they are at the heart of fundraising for the Club via the Lotto draw which takes place every Wednesday at a glamorous location somewhere in uptown Glen or downtown Drum. The Club has depended for the last year or two on just a few sources of funding: sponsorship, community events and of course the Lotto.
Of these the Lotto is probably the most labour intensive - and it is thanks to Mr Reid and Alan in particular that the show is kept on the road. Alan sells large amounts of tickets every week on his round while Mr Reid co-ordinates the uplift of tickets, organises the draws and generally keeps the Treasurer in check since he appears to resent the fact that from time to time someone pulls a winning ticket, as indeed happened this last Wednesday when a lucky punter picked up an early Christmas bonus of £1,500.
Amongst community events the most regular money spinner is the annual Shinty Sale of Work which draws the Drum public in greater numbers than you could imagine- and it is always the biggest earner of the season thanks to the garden produce, cakes and other delights which can be purchased on the night. Cue lots of photos. Surprisingly not. The archives have been ransacked and very little has been found apart from one snap from the 1980s and another from two years ago. The first is of course a nostalgia shot not least for the images of the folk who were in it, but also because of the fact that it shows us the bric-a-brac stall of not so blessed memory. We don’t do bric-a-brac stalls any more - nor do we do sponsored events any more - at least we didn’t until last weekend’s first leg of the Grand Bungee Jump in aid of the Highland Hospice.

Originally scheduled for early September after the Newtonmore away game the event was cancelled because of a power failure in the lifting winch at Highland Fling Bungee who run the Killiecrankie site.
The Highland Hospice has of course a special place in the hearts of local people and it is particularly dear to Glen co-manager Fraser Mackenzie in that it was the death of his mum at the start of the year and his gratitude to those that cared for her in the Hospice that confirmed his intention to initiate a fund–raising campaign. Everything was going very nicely indeed until Glen won the MacAulay- and everyone knows what happened next.

The cup got broken, then the boys got slagged and then after it had all gone viral people felt sorry for them and they also felt bad themselves. First they had a whip round which they sent to the MacAulay Association who passed on the cash to the Oban Hospice - and they then turned their minds to helping Fraser raise money for the Highland Hospice. First a pile of cash was raised at the Highland Games when people queued to have their photos taken with the MacAulay Cup which was on display with the    Olympic Torch.
Then it was the day of the High Jump carried out by Drew McNeil, Rory MacLean, Jack Hosie, Euan Lloyd, Ali Mackintosh, Garry Mackintosh, Fraser Heath, Dixie Maclennan, Fraser Mackenzie and youngster Ewan Ward, son of Fraser’s girlfriend Sarah.

A few guys could not make it
Neale Reid- broken arm, Arran MacDonald injured; David Smart unavailable but should make next jump; Liam Girvan bad back; Cameron Maclennan working but has been given the chance to do the next jump.
The follow-up jump which will include all the Aberdeen based players and the fabulous Mr Tembo is scheduled for the 2nd December- and after that the cash will be totalled. At the moment it is approximately £9,000- but there is every hope that it will creep up to and beyond the £10,000 mark.
You could help that by giving a little something yourself at
There is no truth in the rumour that when it is Billy’s turn to jump he intends to take the MacAulay Cup with him over the edge. The suspicion is that it is the fear of just such an outcome that has led Mr Chairman to conceal it in a Shewglie haystack.
Check out the Bungee Boys in the pics.Now we know what Drew meant when he said the boys were for the high jump after the MacAulay capers.
Surely the guys have paid their debt to society by now.

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