Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Gallery: The life, times and community spirit of Alford in 20 archive photos

As Alford gets ready to host its popular Christmas festival on Sunday, we've taken a look back at archive photos of life in Alford over the last 115 years.

1980: Lesley Glass, Michael McCutcheon and Dawn Coutts, with some bikes from the early 1900s, all to be exhibited in the new Grampian Transport Museum. Image: DC Thomson
1980: Lesley Glass, Michael McCutcheon and Dawn Coutts, with some bikes from the early 1900s, all to be exhibited in the new Grampian Transport Museum. Image: DC Thomson

Throughout the decades, Alford has maintained its strong sense of community and tradition, and this weekend is no different when the village hosts its Christmas festival.

2003: Eilidh Fox and Clodagh Elrick enjoy mince pies at Alford Valley Railway’s Santa Special Day. Image: DC Thomson

Festive magic will be sprinkled across the village and nearby Haughton Park on Sunday as the community comes out for the Christmas lights parade.

As the village gears up for the biggest weekend in its calendar, we’ve taken a look through the archives at pictures of Alford over the last 115 years.

Memories of Alford in 20 pictures

1908: The staff of Baker J Stewart pose in their aprons with their horses and carts in this faded photo from Main Street in Alford. The shop is now occupied by DAWGS charity shop. Image: Supplied by NS Wilson

Although a growing community, it remains the same at heart.

The village sits within the Vale of Alford, an area of fertile ground with a proud and enduring agricultural heritage, near the River Don.

1998: The Santa train gets up a head of steam at a wintry Alford Valley Railway. Image: DC Thomson

Alford’s farming tradition is a familiar thread through the Press and Journal archives.

There are photographs of ploughing matches and readers’ pictures sharing memories of happy times at agricultural dances.

1960: Alford Young Farmers are still going strong today, but here is the 1960 cohort dressed in their finery taking part in The Grand March at the annual dinner and dance in Alford Public Hall. Image: Submitted by Alice Wattie

Alford is famously the home of the Aberdeen Angus cattle breed, an accolade formally recognised with the unveiling of a life-sized bull statue in 2001.

The now-King Charles and late Queen Mother lead the ceremony such was its significance.

1980: Helping to celebrate the launch of the narrow-gauge railway at Alford, were, from left, Kathleen Rasmussen and her daughter Sara Jane, Eunice Gavin, Susan Garner and Vicki Glasser, with driver George Cruickshank. Image: DC Thomson

Alford took homeless dog to its heart

But the common theme among Alford over the years is the sense of community and the strength of its volunteers.

Although, one famous of its most famous residents in the 1960s was a stray dog.

1969: Guide Dog Petra became somewhat of a local celebrity in Alford, and schoolchildren used to stop daily at the Stewart family’s home at Ryehill, to pet the popular pooch. Image: DC Thomson

In 1969, the village took the plight of Petra (presumably named after the Blue Peter pooch, for readers not of a certain vintage) to its heart.

A full-page story in the P&J said “there’s hardly a man, woman or child in the Donside village of Alford who hasn’t heard of Petra”.

Early 20th Century: The trees may be long gone, but this view is east down Alford’s Main Street is instantly recogniseable. Although there is a lot more traffic these days. Image: Submitted by Iris Wilson

The poor pup turned up homeless and nameless at the town’s vets, where the vet’s wife Ella Stewart took pity on her.

Petra’s story passed quickly around the community and the family was inundated with donations.

1989: Alford basks in the February winter sun, with blue skies above, and seemingly not a snow flake in sight in this picture of the village looking north-eastwards. Image: DC Thomson

She became somewhat of a local personality beloved by schoolchildren. But that wasn’t the end of the tale.

Petra was destined to become a guide dog, and the community formed ‘The Petra Group’ to raise cash for her training.

2007: Alford Brownies did their bits for the Archie Foundation with a sponsored silence, Isabella Cook is joined by the rest of the pack in her quiet endeavour. Image: DC Thomson

Pupils washed teachers’ cars in return for donations, the elderly sold knitted items, and the Brownies held sales.

In the end, so much money was raised that the group raised enough to train Petra and an additional guide dog.

2001: Jim Petrie retired after 30 years’ service with the fire brigade and gathered with the rest of the crew at Alford Station to say goodbye. Image: DC Thomson

Vintage transport continues to attract visitors to village

From four legs to four wheels, the community is also the home of vintage transport in the north-east.

Grampian Transport Museum opened 40 years ago in 1983, and is still one of Aberdeenshire’s most popular attractions.

Circa 1990: This sweeping view of the Vale of Alford shows the Grampian Transport Museum racetrack not long after it was constructed. The houses at Stewart Road were yet to be built, but you can still see the straight line where the railway line and platform would have been in the foreground. Image: Submitted

Alford has become a rural haven for transport enthusiasts of all ages, and has provided a sanctuary for vintage vehicles.

This weekend the transport museum will join in the festive fun by hosting the Santa run and Elf mile-long dash.

2004: Alford Valley Community Railway’s Santa Express is returning this year after volunteers reopened the line this summer. It will be a welcome return for Santa who is pictured here awaiting excited youngsters in 2004. Image: DC Thomson

While a welcome return to Alford this year is the community railway, which reopened this summer.

For months, a band of dedicated volunteers worked to repair and restore the narrow-gauge railway line, the station and steam engine.

1982: We don’t have winters like these any more! Ian Emslie of Dunsdykes Farm struggled to clear the road at Leochel-Cushnie near Alford, and no wonder, the drifts towered over his tractor. Image: DC Thomson

Now the railway is back operating at the heart of Alford, ferrying visitors between the village and nearby Haughton Park.

The station will also feature in the festivities with a visit from the Cairngorm reindeer herd on Sunday.

1994: This pastoral and autumnal scene was from the Alford Heritage Centre vintage ploughing event. Sam Barrack was at the controls of the plough being pulled down the slope by the black Fowler steam engine seen behind it, and demonstrated by his father Bill Barrack. Image: DC Thomson

Another popular Christmas tradition in Alford is also being revived for Christmas this year – the Santa train.

Many adults will have nostalgic, childhood memories of the Santa Express, and it is set for a glorious return next month.

2002: Helping to preserve a piece of Alford’s history were Lynn Foster, left and Rhona Dent, from Alford Academy. The duo repaired the plaque and are pictured with then councillor for Upper Deeside Richard Stroud. Image: DC Thomson

Haughton Park to host festivities

The railway terminus, Haughton Park, will also play a role in the Christmas festival this year.

Families who venture to the country park will find Santa’s Grotto, a fairy trail, food market, entertainment, and the opportunity to meet miniature donkeys and pygmy goats.

1975: Campers enjoy their holidays at Haughton House Caravan Park during a sunny in August in Alford. Image: DC Thomson

Haughton Holiday Park has also recently undergone an upgrade, with the historic house brought back into use as accommodation.

The mansion and grounds were once the seat of the Farquharson family, before it became a hotel then convent in the 20th Century.

1981: Busy laying the carpet and dance floor in the new Alford golf clubhouse are secretary Ella Stewart, treasurer Douglas Joss and committee member Jimmy Adams. The clubhouse was formerly school buildings at Aboyne. Image: DC Thomson

Its ownership passed to the county council in 1970, and the nearly 40 hectares of woodland and parklands are now enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

The caravan park has continued as a separate, successful entity bringing holidaymakers to the village year round.

1977: Workmen clear the area around the old railway station at Alford, which was part of early plans for the proposed transport museum. Alford railway station closed in 1950. Image: DC Thomson

The sporting tradition of Alford

Another new addition to Alford towards the end of last century was the golf club, which opened as a nine-hole course in 1982.

It was thanks to efforts of volunteers – and salvaging old school buildings from Aboyne – that made the opening of the golf club possible.

1980: Outside the old railway station building which was initially to be part of Grampian Transport Museums was, left to right, Lesley Glass, Michael McCutcheon and Dawn Coutts, with some bikes of the early 1900s, all to be exhibited in the museum. Image: DC Thomson

Another favourite, and seasonably-appropriate, sporting archive photo features the Vale of Alford Curling Club.

The club was founded around 1875 and, nearly 150 years later, curlers still meet to compete on the Haughton Pond during the winter months.

1976: A group of hardy competitors who took part in the opening night held by Vale of Alford Curling Club at the Haughton Pond last night. Image: DC Thomson

Alford Christmas festival runs from 11am to 4.45pm on Sunday, but for more information and timings, visit the facebook page.

A fine vintage: Early archive photos of Grampian Transport Museum in Alford