Strong community spirit then and now for Sorbie

Tommy the blacksmith.
Tommy the blacksmith.

With news that Sorbie School may be sold off, users of the village’s hall are hoping council chiefs can at least save their community facility.

And talk of the hall’s future spurred local man Tom McCreath to dig out some old photos to prove locals have long been known for fighting hard.

Sorbie village hall fundraiser.

Sorbie village hall fundraiser.

He tells us: “The return of servicemen after the World War II gave an impetus to make things better.

Sorbie Village Club was no exception. In 1952 the Sorbie Swifts Football Club was formed to play in the summer league. Soon after, a committee was elected to raise money for a playing field, chaired by Mr John Wallace of Whitehills, and events were held to raise money. It was soon decided that a new hall was a more pressing need as the old hall was in bad repair.

“As always in Sorbie, the whole community gave great support. Government grants were available provided that the frame of the building was precast concrete (to give support to the concrete builders who had done so much for the war effort). With money raised and plans well advanced, a site was required and this was solved when Mr Tommy Wood, blacksmith, most generously gifted the corner site where his old family home had stood.

To conform to government regulations, the hall committee changed to Sorbie Community Association after formal elections. The hall was built and opened by Mr George Dunlop in March 1960. Later it was handed over to Wigtown District Council to administer.

“When the Sorbie Swifts Football Club was disbanded in 1958, the club funds of £76 were donated to the hall fund and gratefully received. Later, in 1979, the Sorbie Community Association decided to proceed to form an outdoor bowling green with the leadership of Mr Sam Watson and site management of Mr Harold Young. A sports council grant of £14,000, Wigtown District Council grant of £8,000 and over £10,000 raised in two years locally with much help in kind, secured the green and pavilion we have today.

“The village motto has always been ‘Let Sorbie Flourish’.”

Tom’s photos show cyclists taking part in a fundraising event for the village hall. From left to right: Sam Watson, Dougie McHarg, James Miligan, Tom McCreath, Jimmy McCallie (committee of Sorbie Swifts Football Club), Col. David Ferrell (headmaster), Robert Allan, Harry McCreath. In background with some missing: Margaret and Billy Dickson, Steve McHarg plus cyclists Kenny Reid, John Macdonald.

We also show Mr Tommy Wood, blacksmith, who was an unsung hero of WWII in keeping the old farming machinery going and later, a generous benefactor to Sorbie.