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Community come together to cut Doocot Park grass

By Jonathan Clark

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VOLUNTEERS from the local area have come together to cut the grass at Doocot Park in Elgin.

Volunteers cut the park. All pics: Eric Cormack.
Volunteers cut the park. All pics: Eric Cormack.

Locals have taken cutting the grass at the park into their own hands, with Moray Council announcing in February grass around Moray would remain uncut to save an estimated £98,000.

It took a lot of man and machine power, but the park has now had a trim and, almost instantly, children were back out on the field playing football.

George Newlands, who has lived beside the park for 24 years, originally decided he would take it upon himself to cut the grass, after seeing his grandsons covered in ticks and dog dirt, but found the grass was too long for his lawnmower.

Keri-Jane Wallace, Mr Newlands' daughter, said something needed to be done with the school holidays just two weeks away.

Mr Newlands managed to seek the help of Duffus Estate, who sent Mark Davis to cut some of the park in the morning, using a small tractor.But it took even more than that, and a farm tractor, along with two strimmers donated by GAP Elgin, was needed to clear the knee high grass.

Chris Hay Contractors did the work in the afternoon free of charge. All of the volunteers have children and said they were the biggest factor in all of this.

Marc Millar, who was operating one of the strimmers, said: "We have received a couple of thanks but that isn't why we are doing this.

"We aren't doing it for thanks or recognition. We all have kids and the main thing is giving the somewhere to play in the summer."

Ryan Ralph, operating the other strimmer, added: "I've never, ever, seen the Doocot Park looking like this".

Keri-Jane, who was at the park with her two sons Ethan (8) and Dylan (10), was delighted to see the work being done. Her youngest son had been complaining of not being able to cycle through the grass, and was delighted to hitch a ride on the tractor as it swept through the grass.

Residents from all areas of areas of New Elgin stopped their cars to thank those working, with one woman even giving a small cash donation "for fuel".

There was a real feel of a community coming together on Tuesday afternoon – and that's the message Keri-Jane wants to spread.

"We understand Moray Council are broke and we are not here to bash them," she told the Northern Scot. "But they have to think of the kids.

"These young lads are doing something brilliant, taking their own time out to help the community. The support we have had has been brilliant, from passers by and on Facebook. There is a real sense of community spirit."

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