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Ex-Hopeman pupil surprises Fogwatt granda from Australia to mark his 50 years with Moray Council

By Lorna Thompson

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A 13-YEAR-OLD former Hopeman girl has reached out to the Northern Scot from her new home in Australia to surprise her Moray grandfather.

Erin Hepburn was keen that her granda, Willie Duncan, from Fogwatt, was recognised for his long service to Moray – having clocked up 50 years working for the council's housing and property services at Mosstodloch.

The devoted grand-daughter and her family had hoped to be able to visit her Moray grandparents in the coming months to celebrate, but the plan has been waylaid by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Erin said: "My granda was only 15 years old when he started working there and the 50th anniversary passed earlier this month.

"He is very hard-working and is committed to doing his job well. He's really nice and helpful – and he's funny.

"There must not be many people who have worked with Moray Council for over 50 years – which I think is quite an achievement."

The former Hopeman Primary School pupil moved with her family – mum Leigh-anne, dad Allan, sister Keira (10) and brother Fraser (15) – to New South Wales, Australia, in March last year, not long after Erin moved up to Elgin Academy.

Leigh-anne is a senior design lecturer at the University of Sydney and Allan works for an interior design company.

Willie and Moira Duncan, from Fogwatt, with their grandchildren, Keira (left), Erin (front) and Fraser, during a visit to Australia in October last year.
Willie and Moira Duncan, from Fogwatt, with their grandchildren, Keira (left), Erin (front) and Fraser, during a visit to Australia in October last year.

Erin added: "I was hoping to come home for Christmas with my brother and sister to stay with granny and granda.

"But due to Covid-19 we may not be able to visit or celebrate the 50 years granda has been working in the Moray Council."

Mr Duncan's wife, Moira, also works for the council, in children’s services.

The Duncans have four children who are now scattered around the world – in Forres, Australia, Canada and Africa.

Erin said: "My granda grew up at Glen Moray, in Elgin, with 10 brothers and sisters, and my great-granny still lives there. She is 93."

Outside of work, Mr Duncan loves motorbikes and travelling. He and his wife visited Erin and family in October last year.

Erin, now a pupil at Cronulla High School in New South Wales, added: "We’re all very proud. I think a mention in the paper will make my granda happy and it will also be a surprise for him and my granny."

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