That was 2015 That was – September to December

Today this community news site has reached over 2000 stories to our readers in 2015 – today we conclude our three-part review of  some of these in “our year in Moray”.


Hopeman finally got its day (pic: Katy Sutcliffe/Facebook)
Hopeman finally got its day (pic: Katy Sutcliffe/Facebook)

More good news for Morayvia at the start of this month with Moray Council agreeing a three-year lease for their Science & Technology attraction at a former Kinloss school.

The plight of Syrian refugees was reported by insideMoray for the first time, a call from Sean Morton that the UK Government do all it can and for Moray to be ready to do its bit to help. There was massive disappointment for youth music festival the Wall of Rock when they had to cancel the event – that after a successful bid to fund it had been made online.

Torrential rain saw a landslip closing the Knockando to Dallas road and a group of children affected by the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl arrived in Lossiemouth to live with local families for a few weeks. We reported how environmental campaigners highlighted a pipeline coming loose on the West Beach at Lossiemouth – initially nobody was prepared to own up but eventually work got under way to secure it.

We also featured a group of Moray ladies who were taking clearing up our streets personally, organising their own clean-up work in Lossiemouth. Dufftown meanwhile was a winner in the Beautiful Scotland awards. Hopeman finally got to hold its delayed Harbour Day.

The Council announced plans for a new 1500 home expansion on the north side of Elgin, while a new Pound World bargain store found its way to Elgin. Hopeman was praised for having a ‘zero crime rate’ when officers had no criminal activity to report at a local Community Association meeting.

A Lhanbryde woman told the story of how she owed her life to a Specsavers optician who had spotted a life-threatening condition and sent her immediately to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, and we told how the old railway station yard at Burghead was receiving a new lease of life by the local community. We published the first in a series of articles highlighting how Moray was receiving a raw deal in the much lauded ‘Superfast Broadband’ rollout.

Moray Council agreed to meet an essential repairs bill of around £16,000 for Kinloss Abbey.


Dennis Slater spoils SNP power plans
Dennis Slater halts SNP power plans

A new effort was launched in Lossiemouth to try and halt vandalism in the town, with the local community trust pledging to take over the Station Park area from Moray Council.

The SNP meanwhile had their ‘finger on the power switch’ at Moray Council, pledging to take control should they win the Heldon & Laich by-election. However, their finger was scorched as former fishing skipper Dennis Slater was swept into the vacant seat on a ticket of ‘real independence’.

Major improvements were put on show for Forres and Elgin rail stations, while another display from Moray Council sought to prove that it was their way or the highway for the Elgin Western Approach road. We told the story of a fabulous adventure for a Moray teenager who travelled to London and met with One Direction.

We were also ‘on the programme’ after providing our support for the ‘Moktoberfest’ beer festival in the Elgin Town Hall as it attracted sell-out crowds. Bumper crowds also turned out at what was described as the ‘best ever’ culture day in and around Forres and Findhorn. There was a warning of fake banknotes circulating around Moray, while insideMoray was on hand to capture dramatic images of a derelict home on Prospect Terrace in Lossiemouth as it was ablaze.

Communities in Forres had cause to celebrate when years of fighting over Common Good land at Bogton Road came to an end when developers were told they would not be allowed to build on the site. We report that Moray was in line for a new Maritime Patrol Aircraft to replace the Nimrod and that it would be the P8-A that would arrive.

The Moray Leisure Centre handed out a second ban – this time to life-saver and pioneering swimming trainer Kevin Anderson. He was given a three-month ban that immediately prompted a series of protests and has done the reputation of the management of the pool no favours.


Naomi touched hearts on Remembrance Sunday in Elgin

We start the month with good news that insideMoray had secured sponsorship from Forres Groups Action Ltd., without which our news service was in serious danger of closing down.

The Beartrice offshore windfarm project received the go-ahead, promising a large number of jobs and investment in Moray, while we revealed that Britain’s Got Talent judges were rolling up to the Covesea Caravan Park for auditions.

A seven-year-old touched the heart of all present at the Elgin War Memorial when she helped lay a wreath on Remembrance Sunday. The new Coastguard SAR service was in action uplifting a stricken 11-year-old from the rocks at Cullen Beach. We report how the horrific attacks in Paris by IS terrorists could be a ‘game changer’ for RAF Lossiemouth – that prediction proved to be very accurate just a month later.

Moray security workers are offered counter-terrorism advice in the wake of the Paris attacks, while the first Festive events were starting to get under way around the region. We reveal local fears in Elgin over used drug needles being found in a block of flats.

The UK Government announce that RAF Lossiemouth would be the base for a fleet of nine Poseidon P8-A Maritime Patrol Aircraft, with insideMoray exclusively revealing that the man behind the move was former Lossiemouth station commander Air Commodore Ian Gale. We spoke to Ian who revealed that he would be in Moray in the new year to begin the planning for the new arrivals.

ScotRail Abellio’s chief executive agrees to meet with Moray rail users to discuss issues they have with the network, while Elgin shoppers were shocked to learn that toy store Junners would be closing in the new year. The green light meanwhile is finally given to the long-delayed plans for a new Elgin High School build to commence.


Typhoons have been operating ground support missions in Iraq and Syria (pic: Crown Copyright)
Typhoons have been operating ground support missions in Iraq and Syria (pic: Crown Copyright)

Objectors hoped to block a £100million Speyside distillery expansion plan – but were left disappointed as Moray Councillors cleared the way for the project near Aberlour.

We report how six Lossiemouth Typhoon jets were being prepared to deploy to Cyprus to take part in operations against Daesh – the vote in the House of Commons consequently cleared the way and the aircraft with 100 support personnel from the base were on their way within hours.

Another insideMoray story told of how Maori relics held by the Falconer Museum in Forres were to be repatriated to New Zealand. Johnstons of Elgin hit London’s West End in time for Christmas with a new flagship store on Bond Street. In another exclusive, we told the story of a Buckie couple who faced difficult decision when the lost their infant child and were told Moray Council did not have a policy for infant burials in any other cemetery bar Elgin.

It is announced that the first Syrian refugee families to be housed in Forres would arrive in the new year and be homed in the Forres area. Fears were being expressed over children taking knives to school, while later in the month we reported similar fears of children caught taking cannabis at our schools.

Councillors finally reject funding for the Elgin Museum – and on the same day approve a spend of around £60,000 on a ‘review of parking’ in the city. It is also revealed that Moray faced an additional £3.7million cut in its budget next year – making it a very unhappy new year for local services.

In another insideMoray exclusive, we reveal how Moray had been voted the top-rated holiday destination on the UK mainland by visitors using a TripAdvisor holiday letting service. We also draw attention to dangerous waste being dumped in Moray’s rivers – and the joy of the Paterson family as daughter Eilidh is given the all-clear from neuroblastoma when she visited a United States clinic.

In the last week we have revealed plans to establish ship-to-ship oil transfers on the Moray Firth, prompting widespread fears of the threat of pollution.  We also exclusively published the fears of parents over plans to create a new school in Elgin, and publicise an appeal to save the life of the first ever Grey Squirrel spotted in Moray.

Moray lost a famous son this month with the passing of David Urquhart, member of the Gordon and Macphail family and the man behind the European Pipe Band Championships being brought to Moray.

That was 2015 from the pages of insideMoray – 2000+ stories, for more details on these use the ‘search’ box on our website.

January to April
May to August