Chairman’s Report 2005

The past year had been one of consolidation.  Flowers had been planted on the site and were already beginning to bloom.  A comprehensive tidying up job had been carried out by Moray Council, which was worthy of congratulations.  During the past year, one of the headstones near the churchyard gate has been repaired but it was reported that this kind of work would not generally be undertaken or financed by the Friends.

The book on Bellie Churchyard by Bruce Bishop has now been published and initial sales have been good.

In due course, the Moray Burial Research Group intend producing a list of all gravestones in the area and a great deal of work has already been done in this project by a dedicated group of volunteers.  At Bellie Churchyard, many historic stones have been covered by earth and grass over the past 300 years.  Over a period of weeks, these were carefully uncovered by qualified members of the Moray Burial Research Group in order to record inscriptions.  These have been recovered for their future protection but it is proposed to mark these covered stones for reference in the future.

Membership totals 50, with about a fifth of these opting for Life Membership.

The Committee has made a tentative application for recognition as a registered charity but some delay was anticipated due to new regulations.  The committee had been invited to respond to a number of questions by the Inland Revenue department currently responsible for charities in Scotland.  External funding grants would therefore not be accessible until charity status has been obtained.

Gordon Baxter, Chairman 2005