Galloway Gossip

Two of the newton Stewart Mini Major Twirlettes club's athletes successfully qualified to compete in the British Baton Twirling Sports Association National Individual Championships.

Friday, 8th April 2016, 10:55 am
Updated Friday, 8th April 2016, 10:58 am

The girls competed over the Easter weekend in London.

Molly aged 10 progressed to the semi finals of her very competitive class and Katy aged 6 came home with two 7th places and a 3rd.



President June Dinnell welcomed members to the meeting on 15th March and Secretary Barbara Wilcox read the minutes of the February Meeting, which were then agreed as a true record. June then introduced Roger and Barbara Sykes, to explain the logistics of running the Food Bank in Kirkcudbright. This was the first occasion that they had given a talk together.

Roger gave members an insight into the origin of the Food Bank, which was set up when ‘Churches Together’ asked if there was a need for a Food Bank in the town. This was in January 2012, and when the answer was a resounding ‘Yes’ from the council’s Social Services Department and the local surgery, members set about organising their response.

Their most important focus in such a small town as Kirkcudbright is that of anonymity. Referrals are made to the Food Bank from various agencies, including Social Services, local clergy, health professionals, and police. In response to these referrals, the questions “Who?” or “Why?” are never asked.

The primary focus of the Food Bank is to respond to the dual problems of short term food shortages, leading to emergency food parcels, and the increase in on-going food poverty, to which the response is a maximum of two ‘top-up’ food parcels per month. The difficulties which lead to these needs is neither known nor documented by the Food Bank.

A brief description was then given of the contents of the food parcels which are given out. They consist of 2-3 days’ supply of non-perishable goods, which are kept in store, and fresh provisions. The only questions that are asked are those which allow the Food Bank to cater for the needs of the recipients, such as if young children or babies need to be provided for, and what cooking facilities are available. No cash is ever given out, but advice is offered as to where to go for help.

The actual supplies are provided from a variety of sources. Some are donated by members of local churches and non-church members. Members of the public can also donate non-perishable items to Grey Friars in Kirkcudbright, on Tuesdays. Fresh food is funded by financial donations from similar sources, and supermarkets sometimes donate food directly. If funds run low, fund raising activities are organised to plug the gap.

The teams themselves comprise of five teams of two, who are on call for two weeks, followed by eight weeks off. When they are on call they are given the Food Bank mobile phone, so that they can be contacted directly. They successfully respond to requests for help on the same day in over 90% of cases. Thankfully, there is little evidence of people abusing the provision. On the contrary, members are painfully aware that they are still not reaching some of the people they would like to help.

Finally, a brief outline of was given of special parcels given out at Christmas, and how, sadly, this need has been growing since the beginning of the project. Considering that this was the first talk given by Roger and Barbara, members enjoyed an informative and well organised talk.

The business of the institute followed refreshments. Margaret Miller was announced as the new treasurer and names were taken for upcoming events, and information given regarding the Stewatry Choir Competition at Dalbeattie, which members were invited to support. Suggestions were invited for possible destinations for the summer evening drive, and panel members for next month’s ‘Matter of Opinion’ meeting.


A Bake Off Tea - 1, Alison Armstrong

Flower of the Month - 1, Violet Service; 2, Isa Baillie, 3rd Agnes Watson,

A Bowl of Bulbs: 1, Doreen Brown; 2, Val Farrell; 3, Ivy Stanley.

June concluded the meeting by thanking members for attending and wished them a safe journey home.


Natural History and Antiquarian Society

At its meeting in Castle Douglas Parish Church Hall on Saturday, 26th March 2016, around 50 members and guests of the Society gathered to hear a lecture by Ivor Waddell, Retired Principal Teacher of History at Kirkcudbright Academy, entitled ‘Billy Marshall : Galloway gypsy and leveller – myth and reality’.

Many stories surround the life and career of Billy Marshall, the so-called ‘Gypsy King’, who reputedly lived to the remarkable age of 120! Ivor Waddell described his interest in this well-known figure of Galloway history and his determination to interrogate the available historical sources about his subject to separate myth from reality. He paid tribute to Andrew McCormick, the Newton Stewart lawyer, who in the early 20th century, gathered and recorded information on Galloway’s gypsy community at that time, including tales of Billy Marshall.

He became a leader of the Levellers – a movement in Galloway of small tenant farmers and cottars disadvantaged and threatened by eviction by the building of dykes to enclose land for livestock. Co-ordinating their actions, they demolished the landowners’ new dykes, creating such a degree of civil unrest that the government were obliged to send mounted dragoons to re-impose order.

The speaker expanded on this episode of Galloway’s history, noted the historical connection between the Levellers and locally organised resistance to the 1715 Jacobite rebellion.

Returning to the man himself, a letter of 1817 written by James McCulloch of Ardwall near Gatehouse to ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine’ seems to confirm indisputably Billy Marshall’s criminal proclivities – murder, robbery, bigamy smuggling etc.. but he was regarded in his lifetime as a ‘Robin Hood’ figure and enjoyed the patronage of many of the local landed families, including the McCullochs of Ardwall, and towards the end of his life he even received a pension from the Earl of Selkirk .

Members appreciated the speaker’s comprehensive review of his topic and its presentation in a thoroughly lucid and engaging way.


Car and bike social

Sunday 10th April 9am-4pm the Glaisnock Cafe, Wigtown are hosting the first Wigtown Classic Car and Bike Social the idea behind the meet is to enable like-minded car and bike enthusiasts to get together on a regular basis at a relaxed friendly venue to socialise and talk about everything and anything to do with bikes, trikes and cars. Members of the Spinning Wheels Motor Club will be on hand. While visitors are in Wigtown they can enjoy the views, harbour, shops and history. if your a member of a club or group looking to come feel free to turn up or get in touch [email protected]

The event will be raising money for the Dumfries and Galloway Blood Bikes who will be in attendance between 11am-2pm.