Wyness Riddoch was a quiet unassuming man but he played a huge role in the local community and was always willing to give up his personal time and money to support worthy causes.
Wyness was Commercial Director of the timber firm Riddochs of Rothiemay who employed many people from Kinnoir, Rothiemay and Huntly. Riddochs as a company always took an interest in their people and the communities in which they operated but it was Wyness who took that interest beyond the sphere of the company and into the wider community.
His individual deeds are too many to mention but several stand out as particularly successful.
When the land and farmhouse at Lossat became available Wyness saw this as an ideal location for a park for the community at Rothiemay - something that was lacking at that point. The King George’s Fields Foundation was a charitable organisation set up after the Second World War with the objective of providing at least one playing field in each county of the country. Wyness worked tirelessly to ensure that Rothiemay was chosen as the representative for Banffshire and, with a grant from the Foundation, plus £1000 raised by the community the land was acquired. This was only the start, however, as the farmhouse had to be refurbished, the playing fields levelled and seeded and the other play facilities installed. Once again, Wyness was at the forefront of this effort organising and encouraging the teams of volunteers who turned up to assist this effort. It was a proud moment therefore when, on the 19th of August, 1950, Wyness stood up to introduce Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton who performed the official opening of the King George V Memorial Playing Field at Rothiemay.
With the playing fields now a hugely successful facility at Rothiemay, Wyness then turned his attentions to the village hall, securing funding and permission to both extend and update the building and turning it into a modern hall for the community. The updated hall was opened in 1959.
But it was not just for Rothiemay that Wyness donated his energy and organisational skills. Following pressure from the local council and community in the early 1960s, Aberdeenshire Council had announced that they were prepared to contribute towards the building of an indoor swimming pool at Huntly but the local community would need to raise 50% of the cost before it would be built. This triggered a huge fund raising effort and Wyness Riddoch was once again at the forefront of these efforts.
All sorts of fund raising events and projects were instigated for this effort but Wyness used his access to Riddoch’s facilites to come up with an innovative scheme. He organised teams of local children, borrowed a Riddochs lorry and set off into the woods where he knew that surplus “backs” were available. These were then chopped up and tied into of bundles of kindling which were then sold to raise funds for the pool. (Oh, and the kids had lots of fun in the process as well!!!!)
Wyness did live to see the opening of the pool in 1966 but sadly died only three years later in 1969. With his passing the community of Rothiemay, and the nearby communities of Kinnoir, Grange, Knock and Huntly lost a great friend and a tireless benefactor for the local folk.
Photo courtesy of Sheila Ford