How Portgordon Community Harbour Group began

 

Ron Billing - Honorary President

In 2006 when I first developed the previous website for the Harbour group I asked then chairman Ron Billing for a few words to introduce the site to the world wide web. This is what he wrote at the time (ed)

An introduction from our Chairman, Ron Billing

How it all began.....

.....On 20 February 2003, out of curiosity I decided to attend a Heritage Lottery Funding meeting at the Town Hall in Elgin. I found that of all the millions of pounds of Lottery money available for projects in Moray only about 30% was being taken up. This was mainly due to the fact that no one was coming forward with suitable projects to qualify for funding. Surely, if ever a project qualified for funding it must be Portgordon Harbour.

A lot of discussion took place in the local public house, the Richmond Arms, between individuals when Bob Thomson from his position as Barman realised that whilst everyone was talking about the harbour, what was needed was a proper meeting. This first meeting took place on 30th March 2003 the outcome of which was to organise a public meeting to gauge the support of the village. The Public meeting took place on 16th April in the Village Hall when we found there was overwhelming support to get the project underway.

Since then Portgordon Community Harbour Group has spared no effort in bringing the dream of a restored harbour into being. There are no courses or guide lines to restoring a Harbour but the one underlying necessity was money. The members set about with a will raising money from all sorts of projects as well as applying for and receiving funding from various bodies to kick start various little projects around the harbour area and a Feasibility Study.

From day one the Harbour Group wanted to involve all the community groups from the village and to this end in 2004 we organised a Harbour Gala so that all groups could come together for their mutual benefit. This proved to be an outstanding success and a plaque and display area was unveiled to mark the beginning of the restoration project.

Meanwhile the work of the committee continued in progressing the Feasibility Study which was completed and presented to the villagers in May 2005. Again this was enthusiastically received and we followed on with another successful Gala in 2005.
We are now in the process of drawing up a Business Plan which, along with the Feasibility Study, will form the basis around which will eventually enable us to take on ownership and procure the bigger funding to begin major developments for the whole harbour area.

Make no mistake about it this is a major project and we have always known it will take years to achieve. We are always looking for new members to join us and help bring this dream to reality. But it is not for wimps, you have to have staying power to ride the ups and downs, and the kickbacks, but at the end of the day what a fantastic achievement it will be, to be able to stand back and know you were part of it. Imagine the harbour full of boats again with people just coming to see the place,to see what we will have done, and being able to leave something for the youngsters of the future. Come and join us and help us make Portgordon the Jewel in the Crown of the Moray Firth.

Ron Billing

Thank you for reading this and I hope you will follow our story as it continues.........

Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd - registered Scottish Charity No: SC040805
Patron: Mrs Clare Russell - Lord-Lieutenant of Banffshire
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