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Another successful Rotary Club Annual Charter Dinner was held on Saturday, with almost 70 Rotarians and guests treated to a excellent four-course meal at the Alexandra Hotel, Fort William.
Guests also enjoyed a sparkling after-dinner talk from their constituent MSP Kate Forbes, fresh from being awarded a ‘Rising Star’ accolade at the Herald’s Scottish Politician of the Year award.
Ms Forbes’ talk focused on Scottish identity and our perception of ourselves. She, herself, had a ‘very confused upbringing’. Originally from Dingwall, she lived in India for eight years (the only Scottish child who went to school in a rickshaw!), then Glasgow, before returning to Dingwall Academy. She then studied at Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities, graduating with a BA honours in History and an M Litt in immigration studies.
Ms Forbes admitted that ‘politics is my bread and butter’ having worked in Dave Thomson’s support team before succeeding him and being elected MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch in 2016. She described her constituency as the ‘best in Scotland’.
Turning to Rotary, Ms Forbes said she was very aware of the work of the Rotary Club and its involvement in mentoring youth, advising on career choices and opportunities. She told guests how she’s benefitted enormously from the work of Rotary and concluded by proposing a toast to the Rotary Club of Lochaber.
Club president Iain Johnston thanked the politician for a very engaging and relevant talk before inviting past president John Hutchison to propose a vote of thanks on behalf of the club.
Mr Johnston reminded those present that the Herald had also picked out Kate as “one to watch” in the Scottish political arena and added his own accolade – “you’ve done no bad hen” – before wishing her well in the future.
After the event, Ms Forbes told the Lochaber Times: ‘On the day after St Andrews Day, I spoke about the importance of community as the foundation stone of our politics.
‘Rather than speaking about Brexit and referenda and politicians, I spoke about the way in which we see ourselves as Highland communities.
‘Place, history and language remain important means of binding us together.
‘So too does the intergenerational work of the Rotary club which I too have benefited from.’
Back row (l-r): Margaret Boyd, Celia Talbot, President Elect Clive Talbot and Jane MacIntyre
Front row (l-r): Kate Forbes MSP, Vivien Johnston, President Iain Johnston and Oban President Iain MacIntyre.
Photo: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos. NO F49 Rotary Forbes