Poppy gift marks happier memories

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Buchanhaven Heritage Society received a very special gift recently from a former Blue Toon man.

John Ritchie handed over one of the ceremic poppies from the Tower of London in a case, along with a Book of Rememberance as a small token of appreciation to the team at the heritage society.

Born in the town’s Skelton Street, John lived with his mum, dad, grandad and wider family which grew to such an extent they had to move to other parts of the town.

However, he was to return aged ten when he spent the next six years going round the streets of Buchanhaven with his uncle George in his horse and cart selling tatties, fruit and veg every Saturday and on weekdays on the message bike after school.

John told the Buchanie: “The place of your birth never leaves you and much later in life, after many years of research into my family history, I unearthed a family wedding photo which I gave to the Buchanhaven Heritage Society when it held its exhibition of WW1 memoriabilia in 2014.

“My aunt, Margaret Nicoll, pointed out my grandmother, Maggie Mary Mitchell who, as a 17 year-old, was attending the 1917 wedding of her brother Jimmy to Bob the Baker’s dauther Margaret Buchan. My aunt idenitified everyone in the photo and in particular Joseph Buchan, who was home on leave to attend his sister’s wedding.

“Joseph, who was engaged to a nurse working at the Peterhead Cottage Hospital at the time, decided to wait until after the war before they too could get married. Joseph, never returned.

“The photo and story moved me greatly. Thanks to Joseph, whose life was cut short aged only 24, and millions like him, we have a lifetime of memories, some sad and many joyful to rmember.”

He added: The poppy and case from the Tower of London and the Book of Remembrace are a small token of appreciation for the huge team effort of those who would preserve the memories and I’m sure Joseph and his father would also have us record the happier memories!”