A new north-east museum with a unique Doric centre opened to the public yesterday after a community group bought the building for £1.
Earlier this month the Turriff and District Heritage Society finalised a deal with Aberdeenshire Council to take on management the market town’s municipal building.
The move was made under the community empowerment act.
Now the heritage centre, which contains a space reserved for the celebration of the north-east’s “Mither Tongue”, has been unveiled to mark Turriff’s popular May Day celebrations.
The creation of the centre has been months in the planning after the society decided to relocate to the heart of Turriff.
Chairwoman Judith Mackie has said the group hope to bring “several important local artefacts” back to where they belong, and said the former Provost Hutcheon, who gifted the municipal building to the town in 1909, is “smiling down” on the scheme.
Amidst yesterday’s May Day celebrations Scottish language entertainer Robert Lovie opened the centre with members of the heritage society.
He said: “All the big decisions of Turriff were made in these walls right up until 1975 when they disbanded the town council. It’s an old building, and old buildings require a lot of care and attention and they find it difficult to have a future.
“But just last week the great news of the asset transfer came through. It’s the best £1 that’s been spent in Turriff for a long, long time. This building needs life and soul put back through it.”
The Doric Neuk is a base where locals and tourists can learn about the dialect and its history. German linguist Hanna Pennig[CORR], who now lives near Turriff, is fundraising to support the project and said she was inspired to run it after falling in love with the region.
She said: “I’ve jumped at the chance to set up something specifically to do with Doric. The museum has been very supportive but we really need more volunteers and help.”
The Neuk includes a Doric book collection and a “Doric database” with information about entertainers and experts.
Miss Pennig is fundraising to support the Neuk. Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/doric-neuk