WHEN four young men of Stonehaven got together in 1976 to form a rugby club, they could scarcely have guessed that 43 years on their initiative would be one of the leading community organisations in the pretty seaside town just south of Aberdeen.
The vision of Craig Brown, Keith Littlejohn, Raymond Pittendreigh and Duncan Richmond was hailed by current Mackie Academy FP RFC president Neil Foster who said: ”Thanks to these guys, we now have a highly respected club which has gone from strength to strength in the Caledonia area, and this season is pushing for promotion from Caley 2 North.
“I wasn’t around at the time, but have seen the fruits of their labours, much of it achieved under the thoughtful influence of Bob Richmond, who followed up on their efforts, and is still around in a consultancy capacity. This despite him now being on the Council of the SRU.”
Richmond was suitably modest about what had been achieved in his time at the club, including the formation of one of the biggest under-age sections anywhere in Scotland. ”It was a privilege to be involved as a player, and then go on to hold numerous posts at the club, especially to watch our many youngsters go on and enjoy the game as seniors,” he said. “Neil and his vice-president, Alan Venters, are doing a great job. I am happy as a former president to lend my support.”
Among the projects being planned at Redcloak is a new clubhouse to accommodate the membership, not least being the growing youth section who this year won the Lancer Youth Conference.
”It’s just great that the section has been recognised. In the meantime we are concentrating our minds on promotion for our senior team,” said Yorkshire born Foster, who was realistic enough to accept the team might have to wait another season to go into the top flight of the Caley Leagues where they would join old rivals Aberdeen Wanderers and Ellon, the latter being one of the great success stories of North-East rugby and recalled with affection by Richmond.
”Ellon came into existence just after us, and in many ways mirrored our progress. Under the shrewd leadership of president Archie Park they became one of the area’s top teams gaining six promotions, but all the while nurturing their youth section. I’d like to think that Mackie could shrug off their sleeping giant tag,” said Richmond.
To be promoted, Mackie FP’s really need to beat Garioch in Inverurie on April 20. They are currently six points ahead of the Kellands Park side but have also played two more games.
”We’ll certainly be giving it our best shot, but may need the help of one of our other rivals in the run in,” said Foster.
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