Centenary Celebrations

Some notes from the planning stages of the Centenary celebrations planning
1st April 2014
During dinner in an Aosta hostelry in early March 2014, Richard Chilcott, Ian Glen, and Finlay Kerr snr, all Old Boys of Keil School, discussed a suggestion made by Jim MacFarlane, former president of Keil Old Boys Club that a gathering/celebration be arranged on the Mull of Kintyre in the summer/autumn of 2015 to commemorate the centenary of the founding of the school. The most suitable duration and timing would be over a weekend, Friday to Sunday.The events would be open to Old Boys and their families.
Several suggestions were made.
1  Arrangements will be made together with and with the approval of the Old Boys Club committee.
2  The celebration should take place mainly on the Mull of Kintyre probably multi centric involving Helenslee, Southend,Clachan (Balnakeil House) and Campbeltown.
3  All locations could be linked as part of a staged cycle starting at Helenslee and finishing at Southend.
4  A staged walk could also be arranged from Clachan to Southend. These exercise activities could start on the Friday and finish on the Sunday.
5  Accommodation and social events could be held at Clachan and Campbeltown.
6   Social events could possibly start with an evening barbecue at Balnakeil.
7  Golf could be provided for non- cyclists and walkers on the Saturday morning.
8  Lunch for golfers and non- golfers at the golf club on the Saturday.
9  Formal dinner either in a hotel in Campbeltown or in a marquee at Balnakeil.
10 One good speaker for the dinner to propose a toast to the memory of the school.
11  A commemorative plaque to be prepared and sited with the Sir William MacKinnon statue in Campbeltown. Small unveiling ceremony, perhaps involving a member of the MacKinnon family, just before dinner on the Saturday.
I have asked my brother, Robbie, if he would join our small group and take on the specific remit of the commemorative plaque. He is very happy to do this.
Our small group is prepared to carry out a reconnoitre of the Kintyre peninsula,  gathering information and making arrangements as seen fit by the Old Boys Committee.. We would propose to do this in May 2014.
Finlay snr

Preliminary Meeting Shish Mahal 19th May 2014

Fin snr, Robbie and Richard met with Jim and Fin jnr prior to our fact finding trip to Kintyre. The discussion was wide ranging with a view to guiding our efforts when we reached Kintyre.

Our remit was to explore commemoration of the centenary of the founding of Keil School at Keil House Southend in November 1915. We agreed that the celebration/commemoration should take place during 2015 but it was felt that November would be impractical because of weather and shortage of day light. Three possibilities were raised, a weekend in late May, mid July, or September. The events of the weekend would be open to families and friends.

Production of a commemorative plaque was discussed. Considerable progress had already been made by Robbie to procure this in discussions with Black Isle Bronze, the aim being to cast the plaque in bronze with a view to siting it on the plinth of the Sir William MacKinnon statue on the Campbeltown waterfront. We agreed to progress this idea by obtaining measurement and photographic data from the statue. It was realised that we would also have to make contact with the responsible authorities in Campbeltown eg community and regional council officials to obtain appropriate permission. Campbeltown Rotary had been instrumental in moving the statue from Helenslee to Campbeltown and would also be consulted by us.

Black Isle Bronze had produced indicative costing to manufacture, transport and mount the plaque ranging from £2,500 to £6,000 depending on its size. Jim indicated that the OBs club was prepared to donate £500 to this amount. It was clear that we would require to mount a fund raising effort to raise the bulk of the money from individual OBs. Fin jnr suggested that an internet campaign would be the most efficient way of doing this. We should also contemplate an approach to the MacKinnon MacNeil Trust for financial help.

Richard was keen that we somehow recognise the birthplace of the school at Southend. Mention of this would be made on the plaque on the statue and there remained the possibility of an additional plaque being sited at the Keil House ruins at Southend.

We discussed an unveiling ceremony for the plaque and hoped that we might persuade a member of the MacKinnon or MacNeil families to do this. At some point we should make contact with the Keil Trust to see if this is possible.

Our trip should include consideration of a suitable venue for golf. Activities such as cycling and walking would be given further consideration by Jim and Finlay jnr but Richard announced that he had packed his boots with a view to exploring a section of the Kintyre Way! A cycling tour of the three Keils was mentioned, including  Helenslee, Clachan and Southend.

Jim had some knowledge of the Village of Macrihanish Dunes and encouraged us to include it in our itinerary. This complex might provide the accommodation focus for our gathering together with a venue for the dinner/Ceilidh and golf. We also realised that it is close to the ruins of the original school at Southend.

We felt that we should have our plans well enough developed to make an announcement at the OBs dinner in November this year.

It was noted that we intended to tap in to the OB network in Kintyre and our first contact would be with Peter Semple in Inverary.

Contact should be made with the local press to obtain their assistance in publicising our event.

Using his key roles as Webmaster and Vice President of the OBs club Jim would handle communications with members of the OBs club and provide liaison with the OBs committee.

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