Men's Group

The Men’s Group continues to develop. We are convinced that our core membership with men from a range of ages and backgrounds and with an array of skills, careers, and backgrounds is an ideal recipe for a strong men’s group.

Unfortunately our meetings have had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Below are some examples of the type of meetings we hold.

In January, we welcomed David Northcroft as a speaker. Over the past 16 years, David has completed an substantial compilation of oral history, having carried out over 600 in-depth interviews and compiled four volumes of recorded narrative from every strand of society. His final work, “Aberdeen Lives 2: War and Peace.” has recently been published. It is based on the recorded reminiscences of some 140 witnesses, with both combat and Home Front recollections of the Second World War as well as accounts of school, community and family life.

Dates for 2020

Mens Group .pdf

Christmas Dinner 2019

In December, the Men’s Group held its Christmas Dinner in Trinity Hall. A Doric grace was said by Campbell Murray, and following the meal, Campbell read a number of Doric poems. We then welcomed the violinist Erin Smith. Erin has played for us on a number of occasions and entertained us with a selection of Scottish pieces. Followed by ‘Danny Boy’ with the entire Men’s Group singing along. The event closed with Erin playing “The Orange Blossom Special”, an item that she introduced as ‘a piece that is used as a audition piece to test fingering speed’. It was a remarkable—and very special performance.

In November we welcomed Ian McKenzie (brother of Helen McKenzie) to give a presentation to us on the Keith and Dufftown Railway (the ‘Whisky Line’). This railway runs for 11 miles from Dufftown station to Keith Town station via Drummuir, through some of Scotland's most picturesque scenery and passing several distilleries. At Dufftown station, there is a 'Sidings Cafe' together with the ’Spirit of Dufftown Dining Car’.

Originally part of the former Great North of Scotland Railway, the Keith and Dufftown section was latterly a freight-only branch for British Rail, stopping at Dufftown and serving the distillery there. Regular passenger services were withdrawn in 1968, but in later years it hosted a series of Northern Belle summer Sunday lunch specials from Aberdeen. These stopped in 1991, and after several years in disuse, regular heritage trains began running with the help of an enthusiastic team of local volunteers.

You are encouraged to take a trip on the trains.

In October we welcomed Margie Mellis, the great granddaughter of a member of the crew of the SS Rubislaw, a ship that regularly sailed between Aberdeen and Germany. The SS Rubislaw set sail from Aberdeen on 31 July 1914, bound for the German port of Hamburg. A few days later, war was declared, and the ship was commandeered.

After some months being held in rotting ships in the harbour, the crew were moved to Ruhleben, a civilian detention camp on the outskirts of Berlin, and held there for the rest of WW1. Margie Mellis talked us through their sufferings, their resilience, and how they created a remarkable garden in their desolate prison camp.

The Men’s Group continues to develop. We are convinced that our core membership with men from a range of ages and backgrounds and with an array of skills, careers, and backgrounds is an ideal recipe for a strong men’s group.

In recent months we have enjoyed talks and presentations from Graeme Smith (‘Reminiscences of a Journalist’), the Rev Bob Brown (‘Reminiscences of a Church of Scotland Minister’), Ian Haw (‘Faces of India’) and Jim Repper (‘Easter Island’).

In addition, we organised visits to Fraserburgh Lighthouse and the Moffat Trench at the Gordon Highlander’s Museum.

Our half-year programme finished in June with our Summer Lunch.

Over the Summer months we have continued to meet, and enjoyed the occasional al fresco meeting.

We have a full programme of talks arranged for the Autumn.

Please pass on an invitation to join us to any men in your area.

Men's Group Summer Lunch 2019

The Men's Group enjoying the summer sunshine.

The Men's Group annual Summer Lunch was held in the Garden Lounge on Monday 17th June.

This year the lunch was graced with the presence of Erin Smith, one of Scotland's top violinists. Erin started playing the violin at the age of four and by the age of 12 she had appeared on TV and Radio on many occasions and won over 200 Scottish fiddle competitions. She has toured all over the UK and Europe with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland.

Before the lunch, Erin played a programme of Scottish tunes, and her rendition of Danny Boy (with the men humming the tune in the background) is a moment we will remember for a long time.

The Men's Group is a community-based, non-commercial organisation which is open to all men over the age of 16. The primary aim is to provide a safe, friendly and inclusive environment where men in the area are able to gather.

Our general aims is to increase a sense of community and companionship through discussions, presentations and visits

We meet in the Garden Room on the first and third Mondays in the month for discussions, lectures and visits.

Our Monday presentation topics range widely and have included:

  • A journey through North Korea ...................... The story of the Aberdeen granite industry.................

  • Energy - problems and opportunit..................Grampian photographic memories..............................

  • Life as the Deputy Lord Lieutenant ...............................Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela..........

  • Crime and punishment in Aberdeen over the ages ...... Fishing facts.....Travelling through Iceland

  • Bees..... Reminiscences of an Aberdeen Bobby..........The History of Aberdeen Angus cattle...............

  • Proposal for Rubislaw Quarry Heritage Centre..........Parson Gordon's Map of Aberdeen....................

  • The Boddam Loon ........The Aberdeen Western Peripheral Road.....History of Aberdeen Cinemas....

  • Memories of a soldier in the Eighth Army at Alamein...... Fairground Organs.......................................

We have made visits to the ‘Scotia’ research fishing vessel, Trinity Hall, the Alford Transport Museum, the Gordon Highlander’s Museum, Robertson’s Granite Memorial works, the Aberdeen Shipping Control Centre and Peterhead Prison Museum.

In March, the Men's Group welcomed the Scottish journalist Graeme Smith. Graeme was born in Aberdeen (Rosebery Street) and spent a lifetime in the world of journalism, including more than 30 years with the (Glasgow) Herald. He reminisced about the life of a journalist, with recollections of the detective work needed to uncover a story and the challenges to get the story to the editor within minutes or hours at the most.

His anecdotes related to many of the major news events over the past 50 years including the murders of Brenda Page, Arlene Fraser and Alistair Wilson and the sea disasters of the Braer and Piper Alpha.