From Our Files, January 14 2022

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TEN YEARS AGO
Friday January 13, 2012

Welcome to the world, Aiden!

Aiden James McConnachie was Campbeltown’s first baby of 2012.

Aiden was welcomed into the world at 4.05am on January 3 at the town’s hospital weighing 6lb 5½oz.

Mum Hayley Meacham, aged 22, was due to have him on Christmas Day and thought she might have to be sent away to give birth.

However, Aiden had other ideas, and Hayley started having pains on New Year’s Day.

This is the first baby for mum Hayley and dad Stephen McConnachie; they have set up home at Dunglass Farm, Southend.

Bill recognised for services to sport

A well-known athletics coach, who has been helping to manage sport across the area for more than 30 years, was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list.

Bill MacCallum accepted the MBE but only after mulling it over for a few days.

The 64-year-old, who was born and raised on his beloved Isle of Mull, was recognised for his services to support.

Following a long career, he has coached youngsters throughout Argyll for more than 30 years, officially forming Mid Argyll Athletics Club in 1984.

Bill, a former BT employee, said: ‘When I opened the letter, I just looked at it in shock. At first I thought it was a very good hoax.

‘When I realised it was genuine, I still took a few days to get back to them because I thought there were so many people more deserving of it.

‘There are people volunteering with the elderly and helping those with disabilities.

‘But I do feel very honoured to be included in the list of MBEs and I want to thank all the parents and volunteers, from Southend to Tobermory, who have helped me over the years. I still don’t know who nominated me.’

Bill joined Post Office Telephones as a teenager after finishing his fourth year at high school but had always been involved in athletics while at school in Tobermory.

He eventually settled in Lochgilphead in 1973 after meeting his wife Mary.

All the while, he competed at athletics events in Argyll and at Highland games, where he excelled at the triple jump.

Approaching his mid-30s, Bill took up more officiating, coaching and administrative roles within Argyll athletics, which he carries on to this day.

He was the driving force behind Argyll Sports Hall Athletics, established in 1994.

In 2012: Bill MacCallum was awarded an MBE for services to sport.
In 2012: Bill MacCallum was awarded an MBE for services to sport.

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO
Friday January 10, 1997

Argyll’s first born

The Argyll Arms Hotel dramatically welcomed its youngest ever guest last week as a baby boy was unexpectedly born on the premises – two months prematurely.

Delivered by a combination of hotel staff, guests and emergency personnel, Connor Frew was born at 11.40am on January 1, becoming the first baby born in Argyll and Bute this year.

Due to the speed and unexpected nature of the birth, the entire delivery taking only 50 minutes, there was not enough time to move the mother, Mrs Grace Frew, to hospital before the birth.

However, Mrs Gladys Taylor, a fully trained midwife who was staying at the hotel, was on hand to assist and she, with the help of her niece, Margaret Thomson, the hotel proprietor, delivered the baby.

Although Mrs Taylor has not been a practising midwife for nearly 15 years, she has retained her skills, having been called upon on a number of other occasions to help with deliveries.

After the birth, both Connor and Mrs Frew were moved to the maternity ward at Campbeltown Hospital for a number of hours before being transferred to Glasgow for further special care.

Connor’s early arrival makes him certainly the hotel’s youngest ever first footer in its nearly 300-year history.

And his arrival certainly made the festivities ones to remember for the many guests who were staying at the hotel for the Hogmanay ceilidh.

FIFTY YEARS AGO
Thursday January 13, 1972

Argylls again – Jocks being reformed on Monday

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders are being reformed to the regiment’s former strength at Kirknewton’s Ritchie Camp on Monday.

An impressive parade, headed by Cruachan, the Jocks’ famous pony mascot, will mark the occasion at the barracks and top ranking officers will be in attendance.

More than one million people signed a petition calling for the retention of the regiment when it was announced that it was being axed.

Many Campbeltown men have served or are presently serving in the Argylls and the freedom of Campbeltown was conferred on the regiment in 1968.

The name of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders is forever linked with the ‘thin red line’ of the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders which, undaunted by massive odds, stood firm and triumphed at the Battle of Balaclava.

On October 25, 1854, on a Crimean hillside, the thundering charge of nine squadrons of Russian cavalry broke in confusion before the fire of 500 Highland infantry men who, defiant and alone, barred the way; the British Army’s ‘thin red line’.

The 93rd Sutherland Highlanders was the only infantry regiment permitted to commemorate Balaclava on its colours. It is one of the battle honours elite.

In the relief of Lucknow, the same 93rd won seven VCs.

In 1881, the equally gallant 91st (Princess Louise’s) Argyllshire regiment, originally raised by Duncan Campbell of Lochnell in 1794, united with the 93rd, raised in 1799, to form Princess Louise’s Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

As witness to the many battle honours, two world wars and Korea included, the torch lit by those regiments of old has been glowingly upheld.

The Argylls’ honours include 16 VCs.

After service in Aden, the battalion was based in Plymouth, next for 15 months in Berlin, then at historic Fort George, Inverness.

Following the battalion’s reduction to company strength a year ago, the Balaklava Company of the 1st Battalion the Royal Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders joined the 24th Airportable Brigade, part of Strategic Command, and only recently returned from a six months’ unaccompanied tour in Gibraltar where it guarded the frontier between Gibraltar and Spain.