At Random with Martin Laing – July 1

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Charity champ

I read with considerable interest last week the excellent feature written by my chum Fiona Scott about Paddy Crerar, chairman of the hotel company which bears his name.

It made me think that the estimable Paddy probably deserves a further nod for the charitable work he does, as touched on by Fiona at the end of her piece.

Many of you reading this will be aware that the Crerar Hotel Group owns a number of highly regarded establishments, including the Oban Bay and Isle of Mull Hotel and Spa. Fewer may realise that it is also responsible for The Crerar Trust.

Astonishingly, Crerar Hotels donates half of all its profits to the trust, to give to good causes mostly in the areas in which its hotels are located but also further afield. According to its website, ‘the Trust has donated over £4 million in the past 10 years, to hundreds of community groups and charities. As Crerar Trust chairman Paddy Crerar explains: “It’s our customers who are making the difference to everyday lives. Without their patronage, we could give nothing back”.’

Among the local beneficiaries to have received large sums in recent times are Oban Addiction Support and Information Service (£15,000), Oban Hospice (£10,080) and Oban Rotary Senior Citizens’ Club (£1,500). There are many others, and they know well who they are.

Isn’t it gratifying and reassuring to come across a high-powered business executive so well rooted in his communities and who gives back so handsomely?

Wild claim?

Now, I’m an urbanite by upbringing and know precariously little of agricultural and wildlife issues but I was more than surprised to read that North Connel farmer Julie Campbell’s sheep may have been savaged by a wolf rather than dogs out of control.

I didn’t think there were any wolves roaming our countryside any longer. I believed they were hunted to extinction in the wild yonks ago. Am I wrong or is the police officer who made the claim wide of the mark?

 What do you think? Send your comments to