Aird school - gone, but definitely not forgotten

Aird Primary School back in the day, pictured in the 1940s.
Aird Primary School back in the day, pictured in the 1940s.

THE school may have closed its doors for good with pupils transferred to the brand spanking new Sgoil an Rubha, but the life and times of Aird Primary School, and all those who passed through its halls, has been commemorated in a special celebratory book due to be launched at the end of this month.

A collection of memories, photographs, school history and pupil’s tales, the completion of the book is down to a group of four hard-working community members: Murdina Macdonald, a long-term teacher at Aird and village elder; ex-teacher Ishbel Mackay; parent council representative Donald Mackenzie, and music teacher Cath Fish.

“We’re chuffed to bits to have finally finished the book,” says Cath. “People who have seen the draft are impressed and we’ve had a blast writing it.

“Donald has had his work cut out and deserves the majority of the thanks – he has spent holiday time and weekends slaving away on writing and formatting the book for publishing which saved us a fortune,” she adds.

The book, however, could not even have been started without the assistance of the Point community, as Cath continues: “People are really enthusiastic about it and we got a lot of community involvement and support. People sent in masses of photos and stories so it really was a collaborative community reflection.”

The launch of the celebratory book, open to anyone, is set to take place on Friday, September 30, at 7.30pm in Aird Community Centre, and Mrs Patricia Sinclair (the last head of Aird School) will be presenting the books to staff and pupils.

“A little extra point is that Iver Macdonald, an ex-pupil who now lives in Edinburgh, created replica Aird School football shirts, and commemorative Polo shirts, which we have been selling and people may see them ‘about town’!” Cath goes on.

“And the website – http://airdschoolmemories.net/– is still running, and will for several years at least, so we hope to put a lot of the info from the book onto this and really want people to log on and comment and share their memories on an ongoing basis.”

As well as Donald’s help in keeping costs down, the Aird School Celebratory Committee were also delighted to receive a grant of £3,600 from the Lottery Heritage Fund. “This was fantastic in this climate and means that we can publish the book in colour and give out the free commemorative copies to staff and pupils, which was our aim, before selling further copies,” says Cath.

Others to be thanked by the Committee are: Calum Ferguson; Kenny Roddy Mackay at the Comhairle; Councillors DJ Macsween, Donald Nicolson and Norman Macleod; Mrs P Sinclair and of course, the community of Aird School past and present.