RNLI

Work under way by volunteers to restore RNLI community garden in Kirkcudbright

Volunteers from the Kirkcudbright Lifeboat Station have been busy throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and, while maintaining social distancing measures, have started work to clear and replant the garden area next to the Station’s Crew room.

The garden area, in a prime town centre location on Dee Walk, had fallen into disrepair and this work will ensure the garden is brought back up to scratch and will also tell the story of the rich history of Kirkcudbright Lifeboats, the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) and its crew through a series of information boards and artefacts linking the town to its long history.

The Community Garden volunteers aim to restore the garden back to its former glory, adding a series of improvements including seating which would provide an attractive feature to sit down and enjoy the view down the harbour for locals and visitors alike.

Kirkcudbright Lifeboat Station was established in 1862 and is one of the oldest stations in Scotland. The original boathouse was built at Creekhead at the top of Milburn Street, with the replacement ‘new’ station built at Torrs shore in Kirkcudbright Bay, opened in 1892. As the station is now remote from the town of Kirkcudbright, the crew must travel four miles by Land Rover to reach the boathouse, with the last stretch being a dirt track.

The ‘Celebrating the RNLI in Kirkcudbright – Community Garden Project’ has been supported by a grant of £3000 through the Galloway Glens ‘Our Heritage’ Small Grants Scheme. The Chair of the RNLI Community Garden Project John Collins and Volunteers have still been progressing the development of the garden while adhering to the strict social distancing rules, and hopes that the garden will be well on its way to an opening launch very soon.

John said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been successful with our grant application to the Galloway Glens Small Grants Scheme for funding to move forward with our project. The neglected garden had become an eyesore along Dee Road onto the popular footpath up Dee Walk for locals and visitors alike and we also felt it was a poor reflection on Kirkcudbright Lifeboat Station and the RNLI.

“This grant will allow us to complete the project to provide a space to display signage and artefacts telling the story of the lifeboats in Kirkcudbright as well as providing a comfortable seating area for a rest. The Covid-19 pandemic has considerably held us back this year, but as we are slowly moving out of lockdown we are keen to get going and hopefully be near completion before the end of the year.

Jude Crooks, Galloway Glens Scheme Administrator said: “Rejuvenating this town garden as a celebration of the long-standing history of the RNLI in Kirkcudbright will allow locals and visitors alike to connect to the heritage of the region as well as providing an attractive feature in the town and enhance the approach to Dee Walk.

“Many thanks as always to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the funding and for the support from partners including Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere.”