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Gordon Ramsay, Gino D’Acampo, and Fred Sirieix paid a visit to Oban to film a new television series, and the sunset on the night they arrived had Mr Ramsay wanting to move to the area. The celebrities, who were a huge hit with locals, were in town filming the ITV programme called The Ultimate Road Trip.
Two Oban women were celebrating after attending ceremonies to receive their MBEs. Sine MacVicar, the former head teacher of Dunbeg Primary School, was invited to the Palace of Holyroodhouse for the ceremony on July 3, where the Queen handed her the medal. Former racing driver Susie Wolff was awarded the MBE at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Oban-born Susie, whose maiden name is Stoddart, received the MBE for services to women in sport.
Oban Station Square was packed with more than 100 people cheering on Willie Neilson as the 29-year-old wheeled into Oban having completed a 737-mile cycle – from Land’s End to Oban – in which he raised more than £12,000 for three charities close to his heart – Alzheimer’s Scotland, the Craighalbert Centre, and the Beatson Cancer Charity.
Eight rafts gathered for the Great Oban Raft Race in Oban Bay, organised by Oban and Lorn Lions Club to raise funds for good causes. The Campbell family from Kerrera, on their ‘submarine’ built at Ardentrive, hoped to make it third time lucky this year, after coming last twice before. But it was not to be as first round the North Pier, like an efficient Spartan army, was Rafty McRaftface.
Lucky reader Tracey Campbell scooped £2,500 in our Spot The Ball – after entering the competition just three times. The Oban mum-of-two said at the time: ‘This really was third time lucky! My aunt and uncle always play it and when I heard a prize had to be won last week, I thought I might as well have a try. I couldn’t believe it when I got the phone call saying I’d won.’
Praise be! Four first-time mums at Oban Baptist Church each had a baby girl, one after the other. Amy Inglis, Melody McCulloch, Becky Anderson and Moilla Holban were all friends through church before finding out they were expecting new arrivals.
Torrents of rain, high tides and strong winds flooded roads and the long-stay car park in Lochavullin Industrial Estate, Oban. Drivers heading towards Tesco or to work in the estate were stopped in their tracks by the rising water. One driver, Jamie MacLeod from Uist, who had left his car in the car park while visiting friends on Mull returned to find it submerged in the floodwater. His passport and kilt had been in the car because he was flying out to Majorca three days later for a friend’s wedding.
Oban High School Pupil Cameron Allen inspired us in October having raised £1,700 for the Brittle Bone Society. The Appin youngster, who suffers from the disease, hasn’t let him stop him from aiming high – he got four As and a B in his Highers and hopes to get his private pilot’s licence soon. He had his first flying lesson earlier this year with help from charity Aerobility.
Sweethearts John and Sue Hicks have returned to Oban after half a century to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary. The happy couple, from South Wales, married two years after a romantic break to the town in 1966 and had always wanted to come back. ‘We have such lovely memories of coming here as sweethearts. It hasn’t really changed that much. It’s good to be back, it’s quite a stroll down memory lane for us,’ said Mrs Hicks.
Crowds in their thousands headed to Oban for this year’s winter festival. Now in its eighth year, the festival brings families and friends from near and far into the bustling town for 10 days of events and shopping. Pictured are cheeky satusma girls grabbing a kiss from bellringer Stuart Smith outside Oban Distillery.
Susan Simpson, the Highlands ambassador for SiMBA, is backing a new charity that is asking women to donate their wedding dresses or occasion gowns to help heartbroken families. The dresses will be unpicked and turned into beautiful outfits for babies who have died through miscarriage, stillbirth or from a neo-natal death. She is looking for volunteer sewers and stitchers as well as donations of gowns. Mrs Simpson has booked a space at Oban’s Rockfield Centre on Saturday January 12 for anyone interested in helping in any way.