Ellon Civic Pride’s bid to keep the town looking beautiful

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Last summer I had occasion to chastise some Ellon town centre traders for their lack of commitment to the local environmental group who have done so much to keep the area bonny, especially over the time when tourists are here.

Civic Pride has done so much over the years to keep the town on its toes, not least by encouraging traders to lease a hanging basket outside their premises.

For the princely sum of just £25 each summer you can have a basket, adorning your shop or business, enabling you to glow in the satisfaction of being a participant in such a worthy project, while at the same time presenting a good image to the public.

I am reliably told that the majority of traders do in fact participate, though just like last year one or two have declined the chance to become involved.

Last year I declined to name and shame the companies who failed the community spirit test, offering instead to sponsor a basket where there were gaps.

My threat appeared to work, as in the end of the day Civic Pride were able to declare a full house of hanging baskets in the town.

So all is well that ends well, not quite I am sad to say, for once again we have gaps in the scheme, for reasons best known to one or two local businesses.

Astonishingly one of the refusals has come from a leading high street bank.

But rather than embarrassing them further I have offered to sponsor their basket, and be done with it.

There are three other locations where the attractive baskets are required.

So, just like last year I am inviting those kind people who approached me with their £25 to come forward and this time I will accept the offer on behalf of Civic Pride.

It is after all a community project which we should all be happy to support in our bid to keep Ellon beautiful.

Finally I noted with great sadness that one of my boyhood heroes passed away last week at the age of 91.

While Johnny Leach’s name will not mean anything to most readers, he was for me a sporting icon of the 1950s.

The UK’s second ever world table tennis champion was a legend, inspiring a nation to pick up a ping pong bat.

I even carried my Johnny Leach bat around with me in the hope of a game in the homes of family and friends.

I never met, or saw him play, but there was something about the way he was portrayed by the newspapers that made him my number one sportsman.

Thanks to him I still play the occasional game.

There’s one thing for sure Mr Leach would not have been seen attempting to bite lumps out of his opponents.