THE mysterious ‘case of the poached salmon’ has baffled villagers in a Moray community.
Fochabers Village Association has erected a large graphic on the front of the Public Institute to show progress as they strive to raise £800,000 to renovate the building.
Depicting the River Spey, each donation received sees a stretch of the waters painted blue, with a salmon added to show the name of the donor.
The wooden salmon are being designed and made by The Men’s Sheds’ group, who regularly meet in the popular meeting place.
“Imagine the surprise when the first salmon, recognising the £15,000 provided by The Landfill Fund, disappeared overnight,” said Institute committee member Stewart Harris.
It is widely presumed the salmon was poached in a ‘fit of mischief’, but it is hoped it might make a surprise return.
“They are not expensive to produce, but they are a bit of a fiddle, so it would be nice if it was mysteriously returned,” Mr Harris said.
The puzzle has not halted the group’s progress, however, with a longer stretch recently painting blue with another salmon added to leap up the waters.
In June, the local authority agreed to transfer ownership of the 110-year-old building to the community.
An additional £150,000 was granted to the association for essential work to the roof and exterior walls, as well as for the heating system to be replaced.
Mr Harris said progress is now being made.
“The building has now been transferred back into community control, managed by the Fochabers Village Association.
“The biomass boiler has been installed and fired, planning permission has been granted for alterations and the target for works to start next year is still on track.
“As well as planning these works the hall committee is busy applying for grants and looking at different fund-raising activities.”
Anyone interested in getting involved in preserving the building for current villagers and future generations is welcome to a meeting on November 18.
It starts at 7.30pm, and committee members will be there to a talk about the project, listen to ideas and to gather support.
There is also still an opportunity to join the 300 club, set up to provide a sustainable fund for maintenance.