MONTROSE and District Probus Club held their first meeting of the New Year last Tuesday.
Members began the meeting with a silent tribute in honour of the immediate past president, Geoff Booth, who had died suddenly the previous week.
As it is customary for the current president of the club to give the first talk, Charlie Minty gave a humorous and entertaining account of his boyhood years and working life.
Born near Ellon in Aberdeenshire, Mr Minty attended school at Ardallie and began working in his father’s croft. He became involved in many aspects of the community and fought successfully to keep the local school open when it was threatened with closure.
The 60-acre croft which he and his wife, Ethel, ran, was not enough to keep them and their two young children, so in the mid-1960s they felt they had to diversify and moved south to Auchinblae where they took over the drapers and ironmongery shop. A few years later, they took over the grocer’s business and in the days before supermarkets, their shop was very much the focal point of the community.
Charlie gave a hilarious account of his dealings with certain wily customers, and his brushes with environmental health and health and safety officials who, he said, seemed to lack common sense.
With the advent of the supermarkets, the demise of many small shops became inevitable and Charlie retired in 1996.
Honoured by the citizens of the village for their years of devotion and service, Charlie and Ethel moved to Montrose and have become involved in the local community.