With the sun flooding through the windows of the village hall, it felt like Spring had arrived at last for the Coffee Morning on the 19th. An enjoyable event, with a number of new faces, along with lots of regulars, meeting up for coffee and a catch-up.
Many thanks to Julia for the photos. The next Coffee Morning will be on Tuesday 17th May in the Hall at 10.30am.
Last month, the story on the blog about the Fearnan Air Crash (in which 3 Russian airmen died during WWII) generated the highest number of visitors we have ever had to our website, including well over 100 visitors from Russia! I also understand from Anna Belorusova, our link to the story in Russia, that school children in Mitrofanovka (her grandfather’s village) are using links to our website in their English language lessons.
When we published the story, Anna and I both hoped that we might find some eye witnesses to the crash. However, we were both unprepared for the fact that it was the youngest person present at that tragic scene – the ‘babe in arms’ in fact – who contacted us. The original article relates how Mrs McLaren rushed to the scene with her infant daughter, Mary, in her arms. However, Isobel Johnstone (nee McLaren) wrote:
“I was very interested to read the account of the Fearnan Air Crash of May 1943 and I think I would have been the infant daughter carried in my mothers arms, as my sister Mary would have been 4 years old by then, whereas I would have been just a year old. My mother was Mary McLaren and my father was Archie and we lived at Dalchiaran. I also had 2 brothers Archie and Charlie (Chick) and a younger sister, Anne. We used to hear about the plane coming down but at the time it seemed to be cloaked in secrecy and nobody knew much.”
Isobel recalled other Fearnan-related memories as well, including some of Miss Maynard who was the last teacher at Fearnan School, and sent us a ticket for the opening of the village hall in 1955 and some photos for our Archive. She tells us:
“I remember John Stewart’s bus (The Bus from Fearnan to Tannoch Brae!), and going up the Glen one day with Dolly with the groceries, and on another occasion the whole school getting to go to the Birks Cinema to see “Bambi” as a treat from Mrs Douglas of Corriegorm who was very kindhearted, and we all got a bag of sweeties as well.
I am delighted to get the Blog news, and I’m not that far away as I now stay in Kinloch-Rannoch. “
Miss Maynard (mentioned above) was Isobel’s teacher and taught at the school from 1951 to 1968, when the school closed. At this point, she went travelling across Canada, but returned to teach at Kinloch-Rannoch Primary School – where, in time, she taught 3 of Isobel’s own children.
The photos below show Isobel’s mother, Mary, presenting Miss Maynard with a gift on the occasion of her retirement from Fearnan School. Some years later, it was Isobel’s daughter, Irene, who was chosen to present Miss Maynard with a parting gift when she retired for the second time, from Kinloch-Rannoch School. Quite a family affair!
In a delightful co-incidence, on the day I received the photos from Isobel, I also received an email from Ian McGregor with a photo attached of some children at Fearnan School in around 1950 – and Isobel is one of the children in it! Here they are dressed as Cowboys and Fairies, having made the costumes themselves under Miss Maynard’s expert guidance, for an end of term tea party for their parents. All their school work was laid out for inspection in the school.
Names missing from the photo are: Ally Grey of Duallin Farm (between Chic McLaren and Douglas Grindlay); Ian Barnett is the boy on Archie McLaren’s right and next to him is Johnny (or Jimmy) Grey also of Duallin Farm. Elizabeth Campbell was, of course, better known to us as Elizabeth McLaren.
In another follow up to one of our stories, Neil Lombardo was delighted to find the picture of Fort Fearnan that we published on the Blog last year, as he was one of the Cadets that constructed it. He commented “Wow, I see me in there too (above the second N in Fearnan on the sign). Thanks for putting this pic up. What a blast from the past.”
There was also an email from someone seeking clarification of information on an ancestor’s birth certificate, which was registered in Kenmore in 1805. We found her relative, Christian McGregor, in the 1841 Census still living in Fearnan with her family.
Now back to the present!
The next Music and Movement class on Friday 29th in the Hall will be the last for the Spring, but it is expected to return after the summer.
The Book Club will be reading Ice Twins, a mystery thriller by SK Tremayne this month.