HRH The Princess Royal officially opens Banchory Men’s Shed

HRH The Princess Royal Unveils Plaque at Official Opening of Banchory Men’s Shed

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, today unveiled a commemorative plaque marking the official opening of Banchory and District Men’s Shed.

Her Royal Highness was greeted on arrival by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire, Mr. Alastair Macphie, who introduced the Deputy Lieutenant of Kincardineshire, Mrs. Claire Maitland, and Mr. Paul Evans, Chairman, Banchory and District Men’s Shed.  Mr. Evans introduced  Mr Alastair Black, Legion Scotland Area Chairman for Aberdeen, Banff and Kincardine, then invited the Princess Royal to enter the Men’s Shed workshop.

The Princess Royal toured the new Men’s Shed facility in Banchory, accompanied by Banchory Men’s Shed Chair, Mr Paul Evans, who said: “We are honoured to welcome HRH The Princess Royal to mark the opening of our Men’s Shed. It has been heartening to see this project finally come to fruition after many hurdles, so it can go forward as a resource for men in our community who are looking for new social contacts and activities, for example after retirement.

In the workshop, Mr. Evans presented members Mr. Fred Harrott (silversmithing), Mr. Alan Pumfrey (bird table construction) and Dr. Bill Byth (bicycle maintenance).  Entering the Men’s Shed social area, Mr. Evans presented members Mr. John Dunnett (model steam engines), Mr. John Mason (clock repair) and Mr. Duncan Davidson (Treasurer).  Mr. Alan Pumfrey demonstrated his model railway, and showed models of Banchory railway buildings that he had made.

Banchory and District Men’s Shed is the first ‘Shed’ in Scotland to link up with Legion Scotland and it was unfortunate that one of the champions of this, Mr Jason Schroeder – Executive Officer of the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association (SMSA) – could not take part on the day due to illness. Jason is an ex-serviceman and championed this collaboration from its origin in 2015. Mr Schroeder said: “After so many years in the making, I was personally gutted to not be able to attend the opening due to illness; however, the SMSA still ensured representation at this very special event. It was kind of HRH Princess Anne to convey her best wishes for a speedy recovery and I shall be concentrating on just that. I look forward to visiting the Shed and the guys as soon as it is safe for me to do so.

The Princess Royal then spent some time chatting outside with other members and guests of the Shed and their wives, including Gerry Robb, the architect upon whose plans the Shed premises were based, and Bruce McCombie, the building contractor for the conversion.

Mr Evans then invited Her Royal Highness to unveil a plaque commemorating the opening, which was hand-engraved by member Mr. John Mason.

Finally, Mr. Alan Pumfrey presented Her Royal Highness with a gift of a bird box made by himself.

More photos to follow

Full press release here


Expanded Opening Hours

Shed in bloom

Continuing the gradual re-opening of the Banchory and District Men’s Shed, we are happy to announce that we have new regular opening hours, as follows:

  • Tuesdays – 09:30 until 12:00
  • Saturdays – 09:30 until 12:00

This starts on Saturday 3rd July, when there will also be a Book Sale and Car Boot Sale at the Legion.

We are also working on further extending the hours and on a basis for when the workshop will be available.

We look forward to seeing everyone!

Banchory Men’s Shed is Opening!

Following the transition to COVID Level 2 in Aberdeenshire, (and much discussion!) we are now able to open the Banchory Men’s Shed again 🙂

The first opening will be Tuesday 1st June 10:30 – 12:00 as per the pre-COVID schedule.

As time goes on, we will expand the opening hours to cover the various activities we have planned, including the Workshop, Bridge sessions, Silversmithing, the Computer group, Cycling, and Model Building.

There will be a limit on numbers permitted, provisionally around 10, and this number will be firmed up in a Risk Assessment this week.  Please just turn up. If we exceed the permitted numbers, depending on weather we can also use outside.

You will also need to sign in and follow the instructions from the supervisor of the day, who will be following a procedure set up by Bill Lawson, our Secretary.

We look forward to seeing you.

November 2020 Update

Apologies from the web jockey for not updating things here, much to deal with.  My ducks are beginning to resemble a row formation so herewith an update.

It is now 8 months since the first lockdown began on 23rd March 2020.  We have all become very familiar with what this virus has done to everyone, from individuals to families to the NHS, to businesses and to our social lives.  Unfortunately and for very good reason we have had to remain closed as a face-to-face operational Men’s Shed, but this has not meant nothing has happened.  There have been a fair number of smaller and larger things added or improved, and key individuals have been able to go into the shed singly in order to continue transforming what was a blank and underused space into the Banchory Men’s Shed.  Thanks are due to Paul, Alan P, and others for continuing to push forward, and a summary from chairman Paul Evans follows…

“What we did in lockdown”


As you may have read in older updates, the building work was completed by McCombie Building Ltd. in February and the Shed was briefly opened in March, to the great delight of everyone who had worked so hard since April 2015 when the Banchory Shed was first mooted.  By then, we had the building complete, decorating all finished, and the Social Area in good shape with furniture and with carpet tiles provided by Duncan’s. It needed some more work to organise the Workshop properly, as we had basically thrown everything we owned in there. It was not a tidy sight.   During the lockdown, we have put a final touch to the building fabric by installing roller blinds to help keep the sun out of our eyes – very necessary as many will know.  Still, the sun keeps our leccy bill down.


COVID-19 precautions meant that the Shed has been closed since 15th March and this necessitated cancellation of the opening ceremony planned for 19 May 2020. Nevertheless, we have managed to keep in contact via weekly Zoom meetings on Tuesday mornings, and in addition, Paul, Alan and others have continued visiting singly to progress organisation and tidying up of the workshop and various other things, some of which below


We have also made progress in a number of financial areas.   Age Scotland awarded us £500 for installation of fibre broadband, which is now in and working. As we are registered for Business Rates we were also eligible for a generous Coronavirus Business Support Scheme grant which has proven extremely useful.  The GVC Fund awarded the Shed just over £2,000 to buy two eBikes, with associated equipment and insurance, which we have done.  The Scottish Government Community Wellbeing Fund also funded the first-year costs of a full Zoom license which has meant we have been able to hold our Tuesday morning meetings without hesitation, repetition or indeed interruption by their 40 minutes limit on the free package.

One issue we are tackling is that HMRC are requiring the Shed to submit Corporation Tax returns.  This may be because for some reason the Shed (as a Charity) was also registered as a Company in its early days, and according to Companies House still is.  We thought that we had challenged this, but our Treasurer is now taking up the matter with them, so we hope this can be put to bed before too long.

Our famous blue shipping container, kindly donated by McIntosh Plant, and accommodated by the Legion, next to their building, served us well for 5 years to store equipment in readiness for our own premises.  It finally outlived its usefulness (and its planning permission!) with the opening of the Shed and we have managed to dispose of it advantageously.  We regretfully also needed to find a new home for the excellent trailer kindly donated by Dave Thomson’s widow and as we were unable to continue to store it managed to sell it for funds.


There have been some significant finds in terms of workshop machines and tools.

A lady in Aberdeen offered us a pre-owned ML7 metalworking lathe in fantastic condition and with many accessories and materials, and we were fortunate enough to be able to meet the asking price.  We expect there to be considerable demand to use this machine as it is a quality bit of kit.

A second-hand metalworking bench with a large vice has been purchased, and a woodworking bench with a woodworking vice was kindly donated by Inchmarlo Community Workshop.  A second-hand dust extractor and a planer / thicknesser have been purchased, both from Westhill Men’s Shed. Thank you to all of these other local Men’s Sheds.

Finally, and as mentioned above, two eBikes were purchased from Halfords in October to meet funder’s requirements, even though some of the associated activity is limited until 2021.

Computers & IT

One of our target activities is to provide various computer familiarisation and training capabilities, so we have again been fortunate in several areas, in addition to the fibre broadband mentioned above.

We have been kindly donated a 3D printer and after some initial work on getting it running we have found our next need is the CAD software necessary to build the 3D models needed by the printer, so we are now working on that.

Also, the Shed now has three donated laptops, usable for general or training use.  These run a mixture of Windows and Linux – the older machines only ran old unsupported copies of Windows and a Linux version specifically targeted at older machines has given these a new lease of life.  (Linux is quite similar to Windows XP/7 and is quite easy to pick up, whether you are used to Windows or Apple). We are looking at upgrading the graphics card of one of these to enable an external monitor to be used to its full resolution, such as for CAD and the 3D printer.

A second-hand and high-powered desktop PC and a 30” monitor were also bought cheaply and together with a pair of donated speakers they serve as a good audiovisual system.… Read more

Properly understand how COVID-19 is spread

Whilst Scotland, Wales and NI are taking a more cautious approach than England is, at some point we will also be starting to relax the precautions we have been taking to reduce COVID-19 transmission, so it’s not too early to start understanding how one can catch this bug, hence how we can do our best to avoid it.

As many will realise, 2m distancing is overly simplistic and there are many other factors involved. This article was brought to our attention by a member’s daughter from the US, where they look to be following the national line and starting to open up anyway. It’s a 10 minute read, but worth doing as it may save you many many lots of 10 minutes in a hospital bed.

Read Erin Bromage’s article here

Age Scotland Helpline

From Tim Green at Age Scotland:

“At Age Scotland our teams are working from home staffing the Age Scotland helpline through a virtual call centre. The helpline, 0800 12 44 222, provides advice, information and friendship for the over 50s. Please pass on the number to anyone who might be able to make use of it.”

Thank you, Tim.