Friday, 06 August 2021

Lonach Swings In Donation For Local Schoolboy's Playpark Fundraiser

Jennifer Stewart of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society handing over its donation to Connor Davidson

Organisers of an historic Aberdeenshire event have boosted a schoolboy’s campaign to improve local playpark facilities.


The Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, which arranges the annual iconic Lonach Highland Gathering and Games, has donated £500 to 11-year-old Connor Davidson’s drive to enhance the equipment at the playpark in Bellabeg.  The Strathdon youngster is aiming to raise £6,500 to install new swings and other equipment suitable for older children, which will complement what is already in place.


Having used the playpark with his brother Blair and friends as he has grown up, Connor was aware that the swings and other equipment were designed for younger children.  The facility is well-used by local children and those visiting family in the area.  Connor hopes the new equipment will make it more inclusive for older children.


After identifying that an upgrade was needed, Connor contacted Aberdeenshire Council which maintains the playpark.   Council officers were keen to offer Connor advice so the community and visitors can get the maximum benefit from the playpark.


In his quest to conquer his fundraising target, Connor laced up his trainers throughout July to run over 50km beside his parents Kerry and Craig.  Later this month, alongside his mum and aunt, Connor will scale Ben Nevis, having already tackled eight Munros in training.


The donation from the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society means Connor has now raised just under half of his £6,500 target.  Alongside numerous donations from family, friends and locals, the campaign has also received £500 from the Grampian Moorland Group.


Connor said: “I had been doing persuasive writing at school, so decided to write to the council and ask them about improving the playpark in Strathdon.  The park is great, but the swings only fit young children.  It means older kids can only play on some equipment.  Getting swings that everyone can have a shot on would be great.


“The council liked my idea and said raising some money would help to make things happen.  I’m grateful to all the people and groups who have made donations so far.  Hopefully we’ll raise enough to get the swings soon.”


Connor’s father and grandfather are both members of the Lonach Highlanders, who undertake a spectacular six-mile march through Strathdon ahead of the annual Lonach Gathering, which is held every August.  He is looking forward to being able to march alongside them once he is 16 and helping maintain a tradition that stretches back nearly 200 years.

Connor’s mum Kerry said: “As a family we’re really proud of Connor. He has done all of this off his own back, from deciding improvements were needed at the playpark, to contacting the council and starting fundraising.  Aberdeenshire Council, local councillors and Strathdon Community Development Trust have all been very helpful and encouraging, which has spurred Connor on with the fundraising.”


Jennifer Stewart, secretary and chief executive of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, said: “We are thrilled to provide this funding to support Connor’s campaign to add new facilities to Bellabeg’s playpark.  The existing equipment is well-used by the local community and other children visiting the area, but it is fantastic that more children will be able to safely use the playpark as a result of Connor’s fundraising.  He is a real credit to the local community.”


Donations can be made to Conor’s campaign via the JustGiving page he has set up at


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