Last November, when I attended Echt church to lay a wreath on Remembrance Sunday, I got chatting to a gentleman, David Reid who was brought up in Echt and had returned from his home in Leicester to pay his respects to family members who had lost their lives to war. As we stood beside the War Memorial, David pointed out a tree at the entrance to the church yard which he recalled had been planted to commemorate the Jubilee of King George V in 1935. He wondered if a plaque could be provided by Aberdeenshire Council to provide a lasting marker of the occasion some 70 years on. Echt & Skene Community Council later stepped forward and suggested that they fund it and between the Echt community council representative and myself, we set about trying to find out more about the event while David returned to England.
We were successful in finding some newspaper cuttings which I have transcribed below and I hope you find them interesting.
Echt & Skene Community Council are meanwhile seeking former Echt School pupils who would have been at the school in May 1935 and remember the Jubilee celebrations. If you know of the pupils who officially planted the trees (or relatives of), or have any photographs, please contact Wendy on 01330 860770 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 11th December. The pupils were Gordon Clark of Knockquharn, Dunecht and Annie Farrol, Tilleoch Cottage.
Aberdeen Press and Journal, Saturday, March 30, 1935:
Memorial Tree at Echt
“A public meeting convened by Mr T K Reith, District Councillor, was held in the Echt Public School, when the committee was completed as follows:
Chairman, Mr T K Reith, Old Echt; secretary, Mr A Gray, Schoolhouse; vice-chairman, Mr R Strachan, Kirkton: members of committee – Mrs Gray, Misses Cattanach, Cowie and Thomson; The Rev J A Munro, Messrs Brown, Douglas, Dow, Knowles, Ledingham, McKay, McRae, W Sandison, A Sandison, J Sangster, J Thomson, J Sharpe, and W Watt.
It was decided to have a house-to-house collection to raise funds for entertaining the children, and the following programme was drawn up; – A service to be held in the church to be followed by the planting of a memorial tree in a prominent position. Afterwards the children will be conveyed to a cinema entertainment and entertained to tea in Aberdeen. Each child will also be presented with a medal.
In connection with the Jubilee celebrations on May 6, a service will be held in the Monymusk Church at 11.30am.
A picnic for children will be held in the afternoon in the grounds of Monymusk House. The children will be presented with a souvenir mug.”
FOLLOWING THAT MEETING, A RESIDENT FELT THE NEED TO CLARIFY SOMETHING IN THE PAPER THE NEXT WEEK!
Aberdeen Press and Journal, Thursday, April 4, 1935
“Echt Jubilee Committee.
Sir, – In the “Press and Journal” of Saturday I read the report of a meeting in connection with above and was surprised to find my name among those appointed to serve on the committee.
I wish it to be distinctly understood that at the first meeting I refused to become a member of committee, for reasons I need not state here. I was not present at the meeting of 27th ult., and had no opportunity of refusing. I do so now. – Yours, etc.,
That sorted, the big day arrived and the Aberdeen Press and Journal, Wednesday, May 8, 1935 reported:
“TREES PLANTED BY ECHT PUPILS – Commemorative Trees Near Church.
“At the school a new flagpole had been erected by the Jubilee committee and the Union Jack was raised by Mr R Strachan. Accompanied by their teachers and a number of parents and members of the committee, the children numbering 130, went by bus to a cinema at Aberdeen. Dinner followed.
Returning to Echt each child was presented with a medal. At the subsequent service in the church the Rev T A Munro officiated, Mr A Gray, headmaster, read the lessons, and the National Anthem was sung. Two trees were planted in the ground adjoining the church, one for the King and one for the Queen, by the oldest boy and girl pupils, Gordon Clark, Knockquharn, Dunecht, and Annie Farrol, Tilleoch Cottage.
Before dispersing, each child was presented with a Jubilee mug.
A bonfire, provided by Lord Cowdray, and the arrangements for which were carried out by Mr David Morris, factor, was lit near Dunecht House. An evening dance was held in the hall, Echt.”