Community Affairs


RainbowsLast October Rainbows has started in Kippen. For those who are not aware of what Rainbows is, it is part of the Girlguiding organisation and is for girls age 5 to 7. The meetings are held in the Village Hall on Wednesdays, during school term time, from 4.30pm until 5.30pm

From the beginning there has been a strong interest from girls in the village, the group has already got 9 members and we are hoping more girls will join us in the new year.

During the meetings the girls work towards badges. This first term we have been working and completing our Drawing and Storytelling badges. A few of the activities the girls have undertaken have been drawing a big Rainbows banner, drawing themselves full size and making sock puppets to tell stories.

Rainbows would not be possible without the support of the girls’ parents and guardians helping at meetings and behind the scenes. I would like to thank everyone who has helped so far for their help and support to make this first term a success.

We have got loads planned for next term and if your daughter might be interested in joining Rainbows please contact me at any time via email

I have started this Rainbows group by myself and am very grateful that I now have two young helpers joining me in making Rainbows in Kippen a success. However, the group would really benefit from a regular adult volunteer who would like to become a unit helper. Please contact me if you would like to discuss what this would involve.

Jolanda McNeill



Community Affairs

Kippen Community Woodland Group

It has been a productive end to the year for the Kippen Community Woodland Group.

At our Annual General Meeting, Keith Maplethorpe was welcomed as our new Chair. We are grateful to Keith for being willing to take on this role and for Karen Dekker and Paula Watson continuing as Treasurer and Secretary respectively.

The last woodland morning of the year saw us installing marker posts for the Primary School Easy Orienteering Course. This should enable the School to build on the success of their October orienteering event. It is intended to install the remainder of the posts in Burnside Wood in the New Year.

For those who would like to join us, we will continue to work in Burnside Wood on the first Sunday morning of each month, meeting at the football pitch at 10.00. Gloves and tools are provided, just wear something that you do not mind getting muddy. A WhatsApp group has now been established to make it easier to arrange ad hoc work with those who find it difficult to make the Sunday mornings. Please let me know if you would like to be added to the WhatsApp or work morning email group.

Paula Watson

Secretary, Kippen Community Woodland Group


Community Affairs

Kippen Over 60s Christmas Dinner

A large party- 69 guests and many volunteers – gathered in Kippen Village Hall on Monday 2nd December for the 61st Christmas Dinner.

Mary Lawson and Ellen Larson Davidson opened the afternoon. Cameron Skinner and his team once again provided a much- appreciated banquet, catering for various dietary requirements. John Burns and Billy Hutton provided the entertainment and dancing was enjoyed. The Diamond Anniversary commemorative photo book and slide show were on display. A huge raffle took place and the afternoon ended with Auld Lang Syne and a vote of thanks from Liessa Allan.

The Hall and Christmas tree were beautifully decorated thanks to the parents and children of the Playgroup and Toddlers group. Many thanks to McNicolls Store, Sheree hairdressing, Rhubarb  Lime, the Woodhouse, Twine, the Cross Keys, the Inn at Kippen, Simon Littlejohn, Kippen Church and Balfron Church Lunch Club for donating supplies and raffle prizes, as well as all the local clubs and societies and individual donors, too many to record. The Hall Committee are thanked for use of the Hall, which was very cosy. The committee thanks all those who so happily served, washed dishes, organised the bar, transported guests, photographed the event, delivered invitations and fundraised throughout the year.

Lastly, thanks to the guests who came prepared to have a good time and make this such a wonderful community event.

Tracy Hepburn

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Classics@Kippen Christmas Celebration

classics-kippenOn Saturday the 14th of December ‘Classics @ Kippen’ put on a ‘Christmas Celebration’ in Kippen Parish Church. After weeks of election mania and with the Christmas stress fast approaching it was so good for us all to take a bit of time out and have a change of focus! Such is our following that we now have a committed audience who come from all around and, despite foul weather and the lure of a cosy night in watching the final of ‘Strictly’ on TV, we were absolutely delighted to welcome over 200 people to this event. According to all reports, the audience was not disappointed and was well rewarded with a beautiful programme of Christmas words, music and carols presented by 5 singers, 2 readers, 2 brass players, a pianist and an organist all from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The church was beautifully decorated for Christmas, the stage was set and, for the first time, we were able to use our new theatre lights (which we bought with the proceeds of our last concert) which made a huge difference to the ambience and overall performance. The atmosphere was wonderful, and I think it’s safe to say there was something in the programme for everyone. The concert opened with classics from Handel’s Messiah and musically journeyed through some seasonal art song, favourite Christmas songs and audience carols finishing with the usual ‘cheesy’ Hollywood numbers which everyone loved. The readings brought an added dimension and were both thought provoking and funny ranging from Dickens and Pam Ayers to some very moving ‘Letters to Santa’ and culminating in the poignant ‘In Memoriam’ by Tennyson, which is surely in itself a message for our time. (Do look it up if you don’t know it). The audience had a great time but so did the students. They always love coming to Kippen. Not only are they fed incredibly well, (students will do most things for good food!) and spoiled rotten over the weekend, they also love having the opportunity to perform and a C@K concert is fast becoming a sought after and very desirable ‘gig’! We were also thrilled that the school really enjoyed using the staging after the concert for their end of term concert and church service and are delighted that the lighting and staging is a community asset for everyone.

We are so grateful to everyone who helped make this event happen. Thank you all so very much. You know who you are.

We are also delighted to announce that we raised £3200 for our designated charity which this time was the ‘Start Up Stirling Christmas Appeal’. This hopefully will have made a huge difference to those in our area who struggle to make ends meet, not only at this time of year but all year round.

People always ask me when the next event will be. I never know the answer to that but, rest assured, there will be something on the horizon in the not too distant future. Watch this space! If you want to be added to our mailing list, please do so via our website

Kathleen McKellar Ferguson (Coubrough)

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Dr Railton Scott Annual Whist Drive

The annual Whist Drive to raise money for Cancer Research will be held in the Village Hall on Friday 7th February at 7pm.

Entrance money will be collected as you arrive (£3 per head with no charge for those hosting tables). If you would like to reserve a table please contact Stuart Thomson on 01786 870529, 07736 362011, or

Whist lessons or practice your skills will be held in  the Reading Rooms on Wednesdays 22nd and 29th January and 5th February at 7.30pm.

Naomi Hirst.



Did You Know

 The Average White Van Band


According to their manager: “The Average White Van Band is a tremendous acoustic band coming soon to a pub near you.  Provided you live in Kippen.”

The band consists of:

David Jones – guitar and vocals

Karen Dekker- fiddle, piano and hard stares.

Stewart Carnegie – lead vocals & “best kazoo player this side of The Mississippi”

Michael Flint – vocals, suitcase and percussion

Cliff Hewett – Ukulele & piano

As most good things do, the band started as a conversation after a few drinks:

Cliff: “We should form an acoustic band”

Karen: “Great idea”

Cliff: “We just have to work out how to make it good”

(…thoughtful pause…)

Karen: (wavering) “We’d have to be good???”

Undaunted by this initial clash of ideals, they started playing in 2018 and have since proved a popular hit.  In Kippen, anyway.

Playing a curiously successful mix of folk favourites, original songs and the occasional boogie-woogie piano the band notably features excellent vocal harmonies.  When asked for the secret of their success, their reply was:

David: “Dedication and hard work.”

Stewart: “Beer.”

Mike (waking up): “Did someone mention beer?”

Mike is American and spends most of his time dreaming up plans to get people to buy the band a drink.

Apart from beer, another of their secrets is to ditch the traditional P.A. system and play acoustically round a table.  Whilst generally making for a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, in a busy pub this sometimes leads to the band not being heard but this “doesn’t really matter” said the band’s manager. When asked why it didn’t matter that the band couldn’t be heard at all he added “Dunno. It adds to the mystery.  Now push off, I’m trying to chat up the barmaid.”

Currently recording their “Greatest Hits” album at Sun Room Studios the band confidently expect it to be a worldwide hit.  If so, there is no danger of the usual band fall-outs or arguments, as apparently, they have already had a serious, and surprisingly sober, discussion about any future royalties:

“Oh yes, it’s all been sorted out in a very agreeable and positive way.” says Cliff.  “They aren’t getting any.”

And with that sorted out, a gig at Wembley Arena is “in the pipeline” with just a couple of details “needing finalised” said their manager, a little unsteadily.

More details, including all the ways you can buy them a drink, can be found on Facebook:


Did You Know

Bus News     


After much ado the new bus timetable started on October 21st and for once most passengers did manage to get a timetable prior to the start date.

Due to numerous complaints FirstBus backed down and restored the early morning buses to the timetable.

However, the rest of the timetable is still causing significant difficulties, particularly for residents living and travelling east of Balfron.

With longer gaps between buses and a Saturday service reduced to every 2 hours, residents without transport are struggling to go about their daily lives. To access Stirling, some Balfron residents are now using the much longer X10A route via Aberfoyle in order to keep appointments, reducing patronage on our X10 more direct service.

First have removed the busy 1pm bus from Stirling, which affects many residents from different villages who volunteer, work part time or attend morning hospital appointments.

This has been replaced by a 12 o’clock bus, ironically a service they withdrew in 2016 – allegedly down to low patronage. Not a valid excuse that can be used for withdrawing the busy 1pm service this year!

Our Saturday service has been reduced to every 2 hours despite maintaining an hourly service 6 days a week from Balfron to Glasgow with 5 services on a Sunday, as First continue with their Glasgow centric approach at the expense of residents needing to travel east to Stirling.

Of major concern has been the running of adapted school coaches on two X10 commercial services, once again, only on the Balfron-Stirling side of the route.

This vehicle has steep narrow stairs and very narrow aisles. Many elderly and disabled passengers are finding it too difficult to get on and off particularly if carrying bags, shopping trolleys or luggage. Those with mobility scooters and wheeled walkers are unable to board at all.

Even the fittest of residents are finding this bus a problem with some no longer prepared to use it in case they fall.

With so few buses available on this route, a vehicle that residents are unable to board is totally unacceptable.

In recent weeks the amount of delays and breakdowns on the X10 buses has been unprecedented, a true reflection of the age and condition of the vehicles operated from Balfron.

Along with the coaches, we have raised all these concerns with First, Stirling Council and local community councils. We urge residents to continue writing to Stirling Council themselves regarding any service causing a problem, especially this particular coach.

Letters can be addressed and posted to Public Transport Team Leader or handed into Stirling Bus Station or email or alternatively contact FirstBus direct.

We should say that passengers contacting First direct have not been impressed with the response.

Please also make a point of reporting the usual issues of no heating, water ingress and dirty vehicles. If these are not reported both the Council and First assume all is well and, as we know, this is not the case.

As yet, no official word has been received regarding the provision of a regular Sunday Service, but we remain optimistic that the promised Pilot will indeed materialise. Like other pilots, its longevity will depend on residents using the service, and we hope, when implemented, it will be well supported.

Val Brand



Did You Know

Rocktalk – the Talk of the Town!

Where do you find the latest chat? How can you catch up on the local news?

An obvious place would be the newspaper, and the Stirling Observer just fits the bill for our area. But hang on, supposing you have lost your sight, or it has become so bad that newspapers just don’t work for you anymore?

This is where Rocktalk is the answer- a talking newspaper!

It was in 1983 that a group of journalists from the Stirling Observer decided to read selected articles on to audio cassettes for folks who couldn’t see, and about 20 of these were copied and distributed each week. Since then, the service has grown in numbers, in volunteers and transformed in technology.

Around 2005, the audio tapes were replaced by CDs and in 2016, these were succeeded by memory sticks. Very fast copying is now possible and well over 100 copies have been sent out each week over the years. Each recipient is given a robust player which is simple to use in their own home and receives a weekly memory stick in a re-usable padded envelope, delivered free by the Post Office. These are then returnable in the same envelope, simply by turning over the address label. Listeners can then enjoy around 80 minutes of news and reports, these days read by a team of over 20 readers, working in groups of 4 on a rota basis. Several of this number undertake to be ‘editor’ for that week and dissect 2 copies of the paper, choosing which items to include. This actually leads to an interesting selection of articles, according to the editor’s taste!

In total, there are 40 volunteers to keep this service running, technicians, copiers, admin folks, readers and editors.

And there is more! Each month a group of folks gather together interesting articles from various magazines and record about an hour of fun, fact and fiction, which goes out with each newspaper, so listeners don’t have to read it all in one week.

Rocktalk has come a long way in over 30 years and has been a real blessing to hundreds of people in that time. It is a completely free service to its users and as a charity depends on the generosity of the public. Although throughout the UK there are dozens of local talking newspapers, they can often be relatively unknown and under publicised. So…


For more information, or if you, or anyone you know might benefit from this service, please contact us by e-mail: or call: 01786 816673

Marilyn and Steve Willett


Did You Know

Interested in influencing nurses and health care workers of the future


The University of Stirling has been educating adult and mental health nurses for over twenty years. Periodically (approximately every 5-7 years) the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), our governing body review their guidance and Standards for Pre-registration nurse education to ensure that programmes produce nurses who meet the requirements of contemporary health care provision.

In 2018, the NMC published their new standards and expectations of the knowledge, skills, behaviours and values of a nurse at the end of their programme of study. As a result of these publications, new programmes for nursing are being developed.

The University Of Stirling is passionate about developing our nursing and other health related programme in partnership with people who receive services and their families. As part of the development and implementation of our new programme we would like to invite people who have experience of health care services and their families who provide care to become part of a reference group to help us develop the best education programme possible for our future nurses and other health staff.

There are a number of opportunities for people who are interested including teaching resource development like real life scenarios for learning, direct teaching in class or online, informing skills assessment, assessing students learning review of teaching and learning as well as programme development and approval.

To find out more about the ways you can be involved please contact:

Gwenne McIntosh

Senior Lecturer, University of Stirling