An award-winning film maker who has devoted his life to protecting Scotland’s heritage and language is raising funds for a charity “close to his heart”.
Having recently undergone a heart bypass, Don Carney decided to combine his passion for documentary filmmaking with the desire to support a good cause.
The retired academic, who has been dubbed Dr Doric, has released his latest creation with half of the proceeds from sales going to Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland.
His film A Glimpse Into Scotland’s Rich Rural Past has been produced from 503 hours of “unique” Scottish heritage film archive and reveals the lives of Scotland’s ancestors.
For Mr Carney, this effort is a fitting way to thank and support the charity, while indulging his lifetime passion at the same time.
He said: “I have been a commentator at various events in the north-east, and these events made a huge contribution to funding local and national charities, but Covid has interrupted this fundraising now for two years.
“I was also waiting for a heart bypass operation, so I decided I could easily help to raise money for the Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland who do great work.”
Insight into ancestors’ lives in ‘simpler times’
The former RGU lecturer has spent more than 30 years painstakingly researching the past of his ancestors, having grown up on a farm near Kintore in Aberdeenshire.
Drumnaheath has been farmed by the Carney family for more than 250 years, meaning Mr Carney has been able to trace his forefathers for several generations.
But when he first started on his quest, he was astounded to discover that limited data was on offer to depict the shire as it once was, with barely any information recorded in Doric.
Since then Mr Carney, from Westhill, has produced hundreds of hours of educational footage about Doric and the traditions of fishing and farming in the north-east to preserve the region’s heritage for future generations.
Speaking about his documentary, Mr Carney said he felt the film would be topical in a world after lockdown, as it looks back at how Scotland’s ancestors lived, worked and coped during a simpler time.
He said: “During lockdown we all got to know more about our own family through home schooling, being on furlough, or working from home.
“The film will allow the viewer to get to know their ancestors a bitty better and celebrate their achievements. Perhaps we can even learn some important lifestyle changes which can make our lives today more fulfilling.
“Their lives were environmentally friendly, they had strong community spirit, wasted very little and made the most of the resources – all things that people are striving to achieve within the present day.”
He added: “To look at how our family ancestors might have lived during a past time period is a fascinating experience.
“When I film the ordinary people of north-east Scotland their story is similar to the ordinary persons story worldwide, with whom we share so many things.
“Oor north-east Doric dialect is featured in bits o the doon load inaa this can easily be understood by any English speaker.”
Money raised will make a ‘massive’ difference
A Glimpse Into Scotland’s Rich Rural Past is currently available to download for the price of £10 with half of each sale going to Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland.
Community and events manager at Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland, Hayley Simpson, said the money raised will make a “massive” difference to the people they support.
She said: “We are delighted that Don has chosen to raise money for Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland through his heritage film.
“It really is a wonderful insight into Scotland’s rural past, that I’m sure people will find very interesting.
“Don himself is an inspiration, recently going through a heart bypass operation and still finding time during his recovery to help raise awareness of his film to raise vital funds for people living with chest, heart and stroke conditions.
“We are truly grateful and know that the money raised will make a massive difference to people and will make sure that people receive the right support, when they need it most.”
People can download a copy of A Glimpse Into Scotland’s Rich Rural Past on Scottish Heritage’s website.