Lochaber couple given mountain festival award

MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL 19/2/17 Alex and Mary Gillespie (centre) recognised for their contribution to Lochaber outdoor activities for many years by Mountain Festival organisers Dave Wrigglesworth (left) and Tina Davenport. PICTURE IAIN FERGUSON, THE WRITE IMAGE

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A Lochaber couple have been honoured with an award from Fort William Mountain Festival organisers.

Alex and Mary Gillespie were presented with the Friends of the Festival Award, including free passes to all future festival events, as appreciation for the support they have given to the mountain festival over the years and their contributions to the wider outdoors community in Lochaber.

Dave Wrigglesworth presented the award to the couple, who he described as ‘the mum and dad of outdoor Lochaber’.

He said: ‘When the committee was deciding who to present this award to I’ve never seen a unanimous decision taken so quickly. Alex and Mary are thought of with love, admiration and respect.’

Alex has been involved with the festival since it started. He was a professional photographer for 40 years and in 1967 he joined Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team.

Mary, who Alex married in 1955, has looked after many volunteers from several organisations over the years and has even made survival tents for the army.

The couple also both do regular litter picks as volunteers with Friends of Nevis.

Alex and Mary accepted the honour with modesty, with Alex saying: ‘It’s a relatively small thing we do. It’s great working with the committee but we’ve never been fully involved. We’re on the outside.

‘It’s been great to see the festival grow from the beginning to what it is now.’

Mary added: ‘We’re delighted to have been awarded this. It’s so nice of them to do it.’