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'Thin end of the wedge' as Highland Council no longer prepared to pay for Clyne War Memorial clock service

By Caroline McMorran

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Fears over the future upkeep of Clyne War Memorial at Brora have been voiced after Highland Council made it clear it would no longer meet the cost of an annual service.

Members of the Friends of Clyne War Memorial Association (FoCWMA) were shocked to learn on presenting an invoice for the 2021 service of the memorial’s clock, that the authority would no longer meet the £120 cost.

FoCWMA chairman Nick Lindsay raised the issue with Brora Community Council on Tuesday night, saying that it was not just about the service fee, which was minimal, it was about future maintenance.

Nick Lindsay.
Nick Lindsay.

“It is the thin edge of the wedge if the council is refusing to pay for this service and also indicating it its not going to pay for fabric repairs,” said Mr Lindsay.

“Our memorial is in fairly decent condition at the moment but every memorial needs maintenance. We think it is more of an issue than the clock. It is about safeguarding the future of the memorial.”

Mr Lindsay said the 50ft high baronial tower, with its four-sided clock, was unique and a focal point for the community.

He said that because the memorial was technically the responsibility of Highland Council, wind farm community benefit funds could not be accessed.

And he added that he had attended the community council meeting to ask if it would work together with FoCWMA and possibly Helmsdale Community Council, which has a similar clock tower, to come up with an action plan.

East Sutherland and Edderton ward councillor Deirdre Mackay, who was present at the meeting, revealed that for the last four years the clock repair bill had been met from the ward discretionary fund, which she said was "Highland Council paying Highland Council".

She added: “There is no longer a budget for war memorials. It has gone.”

Cllr Mackay agreed to discuss the situation with council officials and report back.

Community council chairman Russell Rekhy told Mr Lindsay: “We would be keen to support you. We need to future proof the memorial.”

Clyne War Memorial.
Clyne War Memorial.

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