Editorial: Spirit and Caring is our two greatest community attributes

From today, once a month the Editor will pick up on two or three stories over the previous month that he feels are worthy or particular comment.

Editor has invested in David and Lara Beach and their dream of creating a Rum distillery in Moray. Pic: Marc Hindley, Chit Chat PR.
Editor has invested in David and Lara Beach and their dream of creating a Rum distillery in Moray. Pic: Marc Hindley, Chit Chat PR.

CROWDFUNDING IS AT the top of the insideMoray agenda this week – but for this occasional editorial piece, I’m not going to mention that particular strand (other than my standard link at the bottom of course).

What has emerged in the last month is the importance of small, community-led efforts – and how these can grow into massively important businesses or services, unencumbered by the traditional bureaucratic processes that so often hold things back.

Making things happen for a new business meant going to the bank and borrowing capital – often at the risk of losing your own home. Making things happen to alter health service provision meant appealing to your MP or MSP and hoping they could make the correct authorities listen.

I pick these two issues for a good reason. A new business is attempting to start up in Moray – it was just an idea from a couple who have a passion for distilling. Not whisky mind – Moray is, after all, already awash with that. No, they want to create their own Rum.

David and Lara Beach from Hopeman have pitched their dream to the public – it was a story that caught my imagination, so I invested. Nothing spectacular, but £50 seemed a small price to give such an imaginative idea a helping hand – and, of course, there will be a bottle of Rum at the end of it!

While I’ve always been a massive malt whisky fan, having visited and tasted the produce of most of our distilleries from the Lowlands to Shetland, I just love what is happening right here in Moray not only with whisky but craft beer, gin and now rum.

It takes an incredible amount of dedication and hard work to set up any business, but particularly so in the brewing and distilling arenas – so support for those brave enough to take this on is essential from local communities. Check out the insideMoray story from August 15 if you missed it.

The second news item I’m highlighting today is actually the subject of a new item that I posted up this morning – the continued and amazing efforts of Gordon and Sandra McKandie.

After losing their son to a tragic road accident, it would have been very easy for them and all Keiran’s friends to hit out in anger at the emergency services. Instead they took the difficult road of trying to ensure that future accidents of the type that took their son claimed fewer victims in future.

For the McKandie’s and their friends to have raised sufficient funding to pay for ten defibrillators for use in police vehicles throughout the region is stunning. Not only that, their calm, controlled persuasion in dealings with the Scottish Health Secretary has produced a national trial that may yet see these life-saving machines being standard in police vehicles around Scotland.

I cannot heap enough praise on the Beach’s and McKandie’s – for very different reasons, they demonstrate all that is good about living in Moray.

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