Future of Applecross Highland Games uncertain amid call for new blood to take over hosting of traditional Wester Ross event
The annual Highland Games of a ROSS-SHIRE community are under threat after the organizer decided to step down after decades of service.
The Applecross Highland games are a well-known feature of the local summer calendar which has been run by Alfie Edwards and his team since the 1970s.
Mr Edwards (67) now wants to pass the baton to the next generation so the annual family event can continue. The Applecross Games was originally started by his father to raise funds for the construction of the local community hall.
Mr Edwards said: “My dad started the games and I worked with him. I honestly couldn’t tell you how long I’ve been doing it, but it’s been a long time. My dad started them to raise money for the first room, and the new one now.
The games bring in around £8,000 each year, with the bulk going back into the community which goes to seniors’ clubs, primary school and the hall.
However, there are now concerns that if a new team is not found to host the games, the vital funding they provide to the community could be lost.
Mr Edwards said: ‘Everything is ready for people to start, but they need to put together a committee of at least six to eight people. There are people in the village who could have helped and who never did. I think it’s going to be a huge miss in the place. But you have to turn around one day and pass the baton to the young people.
Mr Edwards said he would always support those who wish to undertake it and help them find their place during the early years.
“I think it’s going to be a huge miss for the place. But you have to turn around one day and hand it over to the youngsters.”
Maggie Edwards has helped her husband over the years, running the raffle prizes throughout the year, which was a lot of work finding bargains.
She said of the games, “I hope it comes back because it’s a good thing.” For those who want to get involved, she added, “Do it and do it now! Don’t let it all fade away after all the hard work that’s already been done. All equipment has been purchased and paid for over the years.
The games are usually held the last weekend in July and feature all Highland games, stalls, food, raffles, a bar and dancing in the evening.
The dance will still take place this year on July 23 in the hall, which will still generate some income for the community. However, the urgent call now is for a team of people to step in to ensure that the Applecross Highland Games continue.
Ms Edwards said: ‘We wouldn’t have a room if it wasn’t for the games.
“They are struggling now as thousands have been lifted from the games.”
Those wishing to get involved should contact Alfie. Anyone can get involved even if they come from somewhere else. What is needed is knowledge and a commitment to the event. The stalwart Mr. Edwards has done an incredible job of raising money for the community over the years and has been heavily invested in games.
Ms Edwards said: “I don’t think people appreciate how hard Alfie works, and now they’re starting to see!”
Anyone who thinks they can help can contact Mr. Edwards on [email protected]