Community Affairs

Kippen Kirkyard Project

Following the report in the first edition of the Wee Vine, anyone viewing the Kirkyard now can be forgiven for thinking things have taken a step backwards. This is mainly due to the upheaval caused by the masons who have been building the new bus shelter, using the grounds for storing stone, consent for which was given by the Council, but also for mixing cement! It also seems to have been deemed a suitable place for depositing superfluous wheelie bins!

In addition, the Council have carried out the long awaited risk assessment, and, in view of the dangers from unstable stones (19 in total) and also hazards underfoot, Barbara Docherty of the Council Cemeteries, has now decreed the graveyard “out of bounds” to the general public.

However, progress is being made, albeit behind the scenes!

A photographic copy of the 1873 lair plan together with a complete list of burials has been obtained from the Council Archives. This has brought to light many grave locations which are no longer visible due to the build-up of undergrowth. Surprisingly there are 232 lairs in total although it may be that the earliest burials do not have a memorial.

A date for the anticipated clearing of brambles, ivy and general undergrowth by the Council Rangers and local volunteers has been put back to October as birds have now begun to nest. This will enable an essential photographic record of the stones ‘before restoration’ to be completed, a task already begun, where possible, by June Waley. This will eventually be followed up by careful uncovering of the stones and records made of inscriptions. Murray Cook, the Council Archaeologist, has already met Kippen Heritage members in early March to advise on safely cleaning the gravestones.

Since the kirk and the adjacent Key grave enclosure are Grade B listed, the Planning Department had to be notified of any pending work and it was hoped that Planning Consent would not be required. A site visit with Catherine Malley, the Council Planning Conservation Officer, has now been held and thankfully she has advised that formal planning consent would not be required if a full specification and ‘method of work’ statement was submitted, not only for the complete restoration of the ruin, but also for the damaged grave enclosure. Unfortunately, this will substantially increase previously anticipated costs which were for simply making the stonework safe. Revised quotations are now in hand.

Through Fiona Clark, Kippen Heritage was delighted to receive a letter and photograph from Norman Wilson in Wales, whose great grandparents, James Kay and Janet Ingles, are buried in the Kirkyard. Mr Wilson was born at Fairfield where his father farmed. His grandparents lived at Woodside. The accompanying photograph was taken in 1989 and the effects of neglect can clearly be seen when comparing with a recent photograph of the same view! Mr Kay has kindly donated a sum in support of the project. His letter included the following eulogy written in memory of his forebear.

Irene Chapman, Kippen Heritage

Community Affairs

Annual Railton Scott Cancer Appeal

Friday 3rd February was the date of this year’s Annual Whist Drive in the Village Hall, which marked the culmination of the annual Appeal for Cancer Research. Once again, the village folk came up trumps and the magnificent sum of £6,442 was raised.

There were 35 tables of whist and the hall was the usual buzz of concentration, the clatter of chairs as people found the right way to move between games and the merry clinking of glasses and tea cups when the playing was all over.  This year we decided to reduce the number of hands to 20 instead of the usual 24 and it was generally agreed that this was a good idea. The rapid-fire drawing of the raffle, with Ricky Muir-Simpson in charge allowed us to finish the evening before everyone wilted!

It was lovely to see Cecelia Bishop, Dr Railton Scott’s daughter, back in Kippen for the occasion and she concluded the whist evening with the vote of thanks.

Ellen, our Minister, who was Chairman this year, did a wonderful job.  With her running shoes on she sped round the hall delivering prizes to the lucky winners in the raffle, and ably entertained her invited guests to tea. She promises to come back next year and attempt the whist!  Ellen kept us all on our toes at the Committee meetings and many a laugh was had.

As always, a very big thank you to the Collectors for all their hard work in pounding the streets selling raffle tickets. £3,694 was raised from the door to door collection, so very well done – we couldn’t do without you!

In writing this piece, I am struck by the exceptional generosity of this village. Since November last year, this small community has raised over £20,000 for charity, with the Erskine Concert in November, the Cancer Appeal in February and last weekend, the Concert for Syria. This is a wonderful achievement and shows what can be done when small communities pull together for the good of others. Well done Kippen.

Naomi Hirst


Community Affairs

All the Fun of the Fayre!

This year’s Kippen Street Fayre, which takes place on Sat 10th June 2017, is shaping up to be one of the biggest and best yet.  As well as a wide range of stalls lining the main street you can look forward to parades, entertainment, a fun dog show, demonstrations and tastings.

This year many new organisations and local businesses are taking part and there will be great raffle prizes, lots to see and do – not to mention eat and drink!

Stall bookings are going fast but there’s still time to book a place so, if you have something to sell or promote, please email for a booking form.  We already have some great shopping lined up with everything from bespoke jewellery, gorgeous designer cards & prints to fabulous textile sculptures and gifts. So if you are looking for something special, individual and local then this is the place to come.

The Street Fayre opens at 10am and there will be events throughout the day until 4pm. While this is definitely one of the main events in the Kippen calendar we would love to welcome visitors from the surrounding villages and further afield. So please save the date in your diary and tell your friends and family.

You can also keep up-to-date with the latest news and info on our Facebook page  ( search for The Kippen Street Fayre) or visit the website for updates and details of the final programme.

Elsbeth Campbell

Community Affairs

Kippen Community Woodland Group

The Kippen Community Woodland Group had a productive year in 2016, with the most notable achievement being the path improvement work reported in the last issue.

On 4th June we plan to lay some finer material on the surface of the main path between the pond and the Gun Club road and would welcome a few additional volunteers to supplement our regular attendees. We are also keen to widen community involvement and would encourage anyone interested in finding out more about Burnside wood to come along to one of our woodland mornings. These are held on the first Sunday of the month except for July.

We meet up at 10.00 at the football pitch and tend to continue until 13.00 hours. Sturdy footwear and warm/well-worn clothing advised. Equipment, instruction and light refreshments provided. For further information, please email or find us on Facebook.

Paula Watson, Secretary

Community Affairs

Stirling Marathon for “Contact the Elderly”

Marathon runners are super fit and determined – and a little bit off their heads! Well I don’t qualify for the first attribute but at the age of 62, running my first marathon, I’ll need both the others in abundance!

Amazingly, I have always wanted to run a marathon but the time and motivation were never right!  My daughter Katie, has entered and suggested it was something I could do in my retirement if I was bored! As if…!! But when a Facebook post popped up offering places to represent Contact the Elderly, at the Stirling Marathon on 21st May 2017, I took it as a sign to finally take the plunge!

I am registered as a volunteer driver and host for this wonderful charity. It gives lonely, isolated older people the chance to meet up monthly for a cuppa and a chat in the safe, secure environment of an afternoon tea party. New friendships are made and old ones rekindled over tea and cake – a simply brilliant idea!

I hope to raise the profile of the charity during the run, and also raise much needed funds to keep providing the opportunity of companionship and conversation to brighten up otherwise solitary lives.

So when you see me “running” around the streets of Kippen, take pity on a slightly mad old bird on a mission! Give me a cheery wave and some encouragement. And if you feel inclined, I have a Justgiving page ( where you could make a donation, and make a difference.

This may be the triumph of hope over reality as my poor old body is objecting somewhat to the increased demands asked of it, but I am determined to complete this challenge on the same day I start. Pride and Contact the Elderly demand it!

Allison Stewart

Community Affairs

Kippen Parish Church Guild

“Be Bold, Be Strong” – “Go in Joy”

Guild members and friends have been invited to Killin Guild on Thursday 20th April at
2.00 p.m. –   Miss Angela Harvey will be speaking on “Christians against Poverty”.

The Stirling Presbyterial Council Annual Summer Rally will take place in Strathblane Parish Church on Thursday, 1st June at 7.00 p.m.

Please contact Joanna 01786 870681 regarding transport to any of the above.

The Annual Meeting of the Guild will take place in Dundee on Saturday,  2nd September.
This meeting is worth a visit.

Further information and free tickets are available from Joanna M. McPhail 870681 or

Community Affairs

Kippen Playgroup and Toddlers

Kippen Playgroup and Toddlers has had a great start to 2017 with surging numbers at Toddlers, a positive inspection from the Care Inspectorate and happy, thriving children walking out of Playgroup sessions every week.

The children at Playgroup have been busy cooking up a storm: making pancakes for Shrove Tuesday, Welsh cakes for St David’s Day and noodles to bring in the Chinese Year of the Rooster.  St Patrick’s day saw them dancing a jig, and in a nod to the Bard they created effigies of the lesser spotted haggis; which we’re sure still adorn many a mantelpiece around the village…!

Aside from all these fun activities, the emphasis at Kippen Playgroup is always on play.  Our fully qualified Play Leaders, Jane and Pam, know that by offering plenty of opportunities for self-directed play, the children are given the best environment for learning.  By focussing on their interests and ideas, our staff can stimulate and extend learning while the children are having great fun!

Most recently, pirates and construction have been the order of the day; interspersed with plenty of puzzles, drawing, books, toys and the climbing frame of course.

The benefits of outdoor play to a child’s development are massive, so at Kippen Playgroup the kids play outside in our sensory garden almost every session: rain, snow or shine.  Rather unsurprisingly everyone gets especially enthusiastic about the messy play; digging about in the gravel and filling and emptying receptacles with water never goes out of fashion.  But there’s so much more to it than getting mucky in the fresh air.  They don’t realise it, but even their eyes are getting a work out.

Indoors, horizons are fixed and lighting is mostly artificial, whereas outside their eyes have to adjust to distant horizons, shifting shadows and bright sunlight…sometimes!

Children who have the chance to play outdoors benefit from better coordination too.  Indoors they may have to deal with tripping over a toy or falling on the stairs, but on the whole it’s fairly unchallenging for little feet.  Outside they have to contend with slippy surfaces, bumpy surfaces, smooth ones, wet ones, muddy ones, slopes, steps, and everything in between.  Negotiating these allow children to build and adapt leg and foot muscles, as well as making them think about where they are putting their feet!  All great for coordination and confidence.

Our recent inspection by the Care Inspectorate was very positive; with staff awarded excellent, the highest possible rating, for their responsiveness to the children’s needs and creating an engaging environment that allowed for positive play and learning.  Kippen playgroup has been running for nearly 40 years and we are incredibly proud that this important resource is thriving and producing another generation of happy, confident Kippen youngsters.

During term time we run two Playgroup sessions per week: Tuesdays and Fridays 9:30-12pm.  Two years to pre-school welcome.  If you would like to enquire about a place for your child, please contact Jane Bain via

Lambing season is upon us again, and every year Rebecca and Duncan McEwan of Arnprior Farm kindly invite Playgroup and Toddlers down to meet some of the new, very cute, additions.  This is absolutely one of the highlights of the year for the children; there is categorically nothing better than stomping about a farm, in the mud, getting up close to the lambs and then maybe ogling some tractors!

Our Toddlers’ group has been going from strength to strength with a growing number of Mums, Dads, Grans and Grandads seeking out tea, cake and company…and perhaps a sympathetic ear!  For the kids, this is the perfect place for the older ones to run off steam; the slightly younger ones to learn the ropes from their elders(!), and for the babies to have a safe introduction to a play setting.

We meet at the village hall every Thursday throughout the year, 10:15-12pm, and we welcome little ones from birth to pre-school.  Just drop in!

Suzanne Currie