Pens, keyrings and bowls made from wood from the old Lossiemouth bridge is generating much-needed cash to help Elgin Men’s Shed alive.
The charity received about 100 weathered planks from the much-loved crossing, which was demolished last year.
Covered in sand, soaking wet and rotting in places, the wood may not be the perfect building material.
However, the Lossiemouth community snapped up the mementos from the cherished landmark to savour memories.
Elgin Men’s Shed was tasked with making two benches and two plant pots from the old bridge to sit by the banks of the River Lossie for all to enjoy.
Now what’s left of the stash is being used to generate critical cash to stop the charity becoming homeless.
Lossiemouth bridge stopping charity becoming homeless
Elgin Men’s Shed currently pays Moray Council a monthly rent of £575, a bill the charity now calls “unsustainable”.
It comes as the local authority is undertaking a “commercialised” review of all its industrial rental properties to close a £15 million budget gap.
Searches to find alternative accommodation for the group have not been successful so far.
Elgin Men’s Shed initially received wood from the old Lossiemouth bridge to make the benches and plant pots.
The offcuts from the projects have now given the charity an extra funding stream.
Pens, key rings and bowls have been made to sell at Christmas craft fairs to people longing to have a souvenir from the bridge.
Chairman Pete Weatherhead said: “What we’ve sold so far has made us £1,500. That’s about three months rent for us, so it’s been a big boost.
“We’ve had people get in touch from all over wanting them. One man got in touch with us from Lincolnshire because he ran over the bridge every day while he was stationed at RAF Lossiemouth.”
He added: “More than anything else we’re here for socialising and for mental health wellbeing to get guys out of the house.
“Stops them staying in bed until lunchtime and gets them out meeting people and sharing experiences.”
How old Lossiemouth bridge was turned into pens
Elgin Men’s Shed had to leave their stash of wood from the Lossiemouth bridge for an incredible six months to dry properly after receiving it late last year.
That followed two full days of power-washing to get rid of decades of muck, and a further two days of pulling out nails.
The best of the wood was then used to make benches and plant pots requested by the Lossiemouth Community Development Trust.
Men’s Shed member David Bain said: “The only stipulation was we couldn’t change the shape, the colour or the general look of the wood – they wanted it maintained.
“For its age, it’s remarkably good quality. We’re not 100% sure what kind of wood it is.
“It’s been a good challenge. It’s not the sort of thing you get to work on every day.”
What else has bridge been turned into?
When wood from the old Lossiemouth bridge was offered up to the community to pick up, people jumped at the chance.
Planks were snapped up for couples who had wedding photos on the crossing, by those who had countless memories on the beach and even to make a guitar.
In return, more than £1,000 was donated to the Lossiemouth Community Development Trust which led the campaign for the new bridge.