‘Can do’ community celebrates best of Mull

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Community groups from across Mull have been showcasing their work at a celebration in Dervaig.

Islanders of all ages gathered at the event on Friday to share success stories and plans for the future.

Mull Native Woodlands Group announced on the day it has been invited by Kew Gardens to collect native tree seeds to go into its millennium seed bank, an international conservation project to help replace species that might die out.

MSP Michael Russell was invited to join Friday’s party and declared Mull as ‘a can-do community’.

Mr Russell, who later spoke at Mull Native Woodlands Group’s first annual general meeting, told The Oban Times : ‘Clearly, this is a can-do community and it was a great idea to come together and celebrate it. It’s fantastic. I’m aware just how much effort people are putting in to making this island so special.’

Projects on show last week included Dervaig’s community orchard, the new library in the village hall and refurbished bunkrooms.

Other groups and schemes there were Mull and Iona Community Trust, Tobermory Harbour Association, the Aros walled garden project, Mull ranger Jan Dunlop, Dave Sexton from the RSPB, the Grow, Grow, Grow community interest company and Mull Music Makers.

Mr Russell and visitors were shown round the new library and the community orchard where, so far, volunteers have raised £4,000, with another £1,000 needed, to build an outdoor classroom. The village orchard, now in its third year, has 150 fruit trees, all sponsored by supporters. There are 45 different kinds of apples and even tea bushes.

Orchard volunteer George MacFarlane, 68, who has lived in Dervaig all his life, said: ‘There’s plenty of jobs to do here, if anyone wants to come and join us.’

One ten-year-old pupil from Dervaig Primary School said: ‘I like coming here because there’s lots of nature to see and I’m looking forward to eating the apples. I like fruit.’

Head teacher Tricia Evans added: ‘We have a lovely school with quite a small playground but no grass so it’s lovely we can come and use this space. It’s a nice walk up. We think it’s wonderful.’