Point and Sandwick Trust is bidding a fond farewell to one of its founding members, Jenny Pain, who is retiring to a life in the sun. (She is pictured receiving her retirement gift.)
Jenny and husband Richard, who have handed over the running of their Tiumpeanhead Kennels business to their daughter and son-in-law, leave for Tenerife at the end of November.
Jenny remembers clearly that initial meeting in the old Bayble school in 2005, when the community decided to form a steering group to pursue the possibility of building a turbine on their land.
Now, of course, they have three, at the award-winning Beinn Ghrideag wind farm on the Pentland Road — but back then it seemed like a pipe dream.
Jenny recalled: “There were a lot of people at that meeting and there wasn’t a lot of opposition. We were asked at that meeting if anyone was interested in joining a steering group.
“I’d only been here a year. I just thought, as a local business owner I should support what was going on in the community and so I put my name forward.
“I thought initially, ‘it’s a really good idea but this is very ambitious for a small community to set up’ — then gradually, as the meetings took place and more people came on board, it became real.”
Many obstacles had to be overcome and Jenny admitted being “shocked” at the difficulties created by local land politics. Nevertheless, they persisted.
“The board were tenacious, to put it mildly. They fought and fought and never lost sight of what they were trying to do. They are incredible. They worked hard. It’s been brilliant.”
She also paid tribute to those who had supported Point and Sandwick Trust externally, including the technical advisers at Sgurr Energy and the finance team at Santander Bank.
“I’m so proud that I’ve been involved in this,” said Jenny. I don’t think that anyone outside the steering group thought that we could pull it off. It’s a huge achievement.
“It’s a first. It’s leading the way for other communities and it’s delivering exactly what that original meeting promised, which was income for Point and Sandwick Trust, supporting the community.
“It’s just been amazing. I still can’t quite believe it happened.”
Jenny added: “For me it’s about supporting the smaller groups in Point and Sandwick. The big donations — like Bethesda, the LED project and the Woodlands — are fantastic but when you see a small group that can continue because they received £500… all these wee groups like the Brownies struggle away on nothing and suddenly they are given a lifeline. That means a lot.”
Point and Sandwick Trust chairman Angus McCormack said: “Jenny has been an excellent board member; we shall miss her. I wish her many years of happiness in her new home.”
Jenny was presented with a picture as a retirement gift during the board’s away day at Talla na Mara in Horgabost on October 25.
A full version of this interview with Jenny is on the Point and Sandwick Trust website at http://www.pointandsandwick.co.uk/so-proud-to-have-been-involved-pst-stalwart-jenny-retires