[Image: Majors Bruce and Isobel Smith]
The Salvation Army in Findochty is getting ready to mark a unique anniversary later this month.
Majors Isobel and Bruce Smith, who lead the community church on Chapel Street, will celebrate 50 years since Isobel’s parents Jim and Margaret Stanger were appointed as officers to the village. An evening of celebrations is being lined up for Saturday (October 21) at 7pm in the Findochty Corps Hall to mark the anniversary.
Back in 1967, Isobel was only four years old and about to go into primary school. But she recalls her two and a half years in Findochty with fondness.
When Isobel and Bruce took over as Salvation Army church leaders last year she was stunned to discover some of her old school friends among the congregation.
Isobel said: “I can still remember moving to Findochty with mum and dad. I was just starting primary school at the time and have memories of it being a magical place.
[Image: Jim and Margaret Stanger with children William and Isobel]
“When I came back to Findochty I met a few of my old classmates from school who were actually members of The Salvation Army. And there is even a couple who still come to worship who were married by my dad. Sadly my parents had to leave officership due to my mum’s ill health but they will be here for the celebration night and are looking forward to it.
“When the opportunity came up for Bruce and I to lead the Salvation Army in Findochty and follow in the footsteps of my parents, we didn’t hesitate. It’s strange to think we are leading the same church in the very same building, albeit somewhat refurbished. But the people in the community have been so welcoming and have made us feel at home.”
As well as their role at Findochty, Bruce and Isobel also lead the Salvation Army in Buckie following the retirement of envoy Colin Hanover earlier this year. The couple admit they are delighted to be serving both communities with a range of community programmes, such as food banks, musical tots groups, outreach, older people groups and Messy Church.