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Schools attempt record breaking dance

Issued: 22 Jun 2007

Nairn schools attempt record breaking dance at Victorian Bandstand re-opening.

Following the official re-opening of the Victorian Wallace Bandstand in Nairn today (Friday 22nd June, 2007), 1700 pupils from local schools will attempt to enter the Guinness Book of Records by dancing a progressive Dashing White Sergeant continuously for 10 minutes around the links at Nairn.

The Wallace Bandstand which is one of only two of its kind in Scotland has been brought back to its former glory through a £100,000 restoration project which was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Nairn Common Good Fund.

At a ceremony on Nairn Links, Provost of Nairn, Highland Councillor Liz MacDonald will welcome guests including Colin MacGregor, former RAF Lossiemouth Fighter Pilot (and brother of film star Ewen MacGregor) to the event, and declare the bandstand officially re-open.

Provost MacDonald said: "The four local Highland Council Nairn members are delighted to have been able to restore this land mark of Nairn to its former glory and we hope the community will make the best use possible of this improved asset to the town as they are demonstrating today."

Pupils from Millbank Primary, Rosebank Primary, Auldearn Primary, Cawdor Primary and Nairn Academy worked with local businesses, police, school nurse teams, the Red Cross, Nairn Cricket Club and local Nairn councillors to plan their spectacular record breaking attempt. The dance event was organised by the schools as part of the Highland Promise - An Gealladh Mor, the element of Highland 2007 that places Highland schoolchildren at the heart of the celebrations for Scotland's year of Highland culture. Families and friends of the children from all over Nairnshire will provide encouragement.

The pupils performance will also raise funds for the Erskine charity which cares for ex-Service men and women and also the Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS). Colin MacGregor is attending in full Erskine Tartan to support the children's fundraising efforts.

Head teacher of Millbank Primary, Marion Mackay, said: "The aim of this event is to give all Nairnshire pupils the opportunity to have a lasting memory of Highland 2007 and our celebration of Highland culture. Children from all the schools will meet each other as they move forward in the dance, it's a great way to get all the pupils working together and have a fantastic time."

She added: "This will hopefully be acknowledged as a lasting legacy for the Nairn area with the whole community getting involved. Each of our schools promotes a healthy lifestyle, good working relationships with our neighbouring schools, pride in the area and we are all keen to foster better community relationships - this event will help us to achieve all of these goals."

Nairn Academy Samba band are providing entertainment before and after the event and pupils from Nairn Academy and Charleston Academy will play pipe music for the dance itself.

Fiona Hampton, director of Highland 2007, said: "It is great to see all the schools in Nairn coming together in such a fun way to celebrate Highland culture in 2007. The Highland Promise is such an important part of the Highland 2007 celebrations, giving young people access to experiences they might not otherwise have the opportunity to take part in."

The Wallace Bandstand

Built in 1884 to commemorate John Wallace, an eminent citizen of Nairn who became a pioneer in the Victoria colony in Australia, the bandstand was constructed mainly from cast iron which required extensive repair and conservation.

The Bandstand is of national importance and is a Category A Listed Building - the only other Victorian bandstand of its like in Scotland is in Dundee.

Restoration works included replacement of damaged cast iron panels; installation of new cast iron gates; all paintwork stripped off and repainted to what are believed to be the original colours; new tiled floor finish; and a new ceiling and roof repairs. The refurbishments also included, the introduction of flood lighting and a nearby power supply to encourage increased use of the bandstand.

Colin McLean, The Heritage Lottery Fund's Manager for Scotland, said: "This is an exciting day for Nairn. To have such a fantastic old bandstand back in use is sure to put smiles on the faces and a spring into the step of everyone that passes it. It's an important feature of the town, which is why the Heritage Lottery Fund was delighted to be involved in its restoration, bringing it back to the heart of the community. Now young, old and visitors can all enjoy regular seafront performances at this delightful piece of Nairn's heritage for years to come."

The main contractors were Morrison Construction Ltd., and specialist design work was carried out by Bell Ingram Design of Inverness.

Donald McLachlan, Operations Director of Morrison Construction, said: "The Victorians did a great job with the materials and technology available to them but after more than 100 years of exposure to the elements the structure was beginning to show signs of decay and action was needed.

"It was a complicated project with many challenges. But Morrison has an enormous capacity to be able to do pretty much whatever's thrown at it. We achieved our aims, restoring this iconic structure, of historic significance, to its former and deserved glory. Its also great to see all of the fantastic events and projects young people are involved in as part of the Highland Promise and are delighted our support for Highland 2007, as event partners, is adding to such an important part of the programme."

The bandstand will be used for musical performances and events including among others the annual Nairn Jazz festival, and the local military brass band throughout the summer.

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme