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Monthly News Bulletin
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Back to 2003 News Archive

AULD LANG SYNE IN THE RHINS OF GALLOWAY

THE TENTH BOOK to be published by Stranraer and District Local History Trust will shortly by launched in Stranraer Library. Auld Lang Syne in the Rhins of Galloway is the reprint of a series of articles by Professor Charles McNeil written and published in the Free Press in the 1950s.

The Trust's publication of these memoirs has explanatory notes and biographical details added by Donnie Nelson. The book is lavishly illustrated.

Professor McNeil was born in Stranraer on 21st September, 1881, the eighth of nine children of Dr William McNeil. On his father's death, when Charles was five, his mother took over the responsibility of bringing up the family.

From the summer of 1893 for several years, Charles and older brother Bob spent the long school holidays with cousins at Sandmill FArm, Sandhead.

In 1955, at the age of 73 he felt an urge to put on record his memories of childhood days and later working holidays spent in the Rhins of Galloway.

Having done this, he thought that some of the recollections might be of interest to the people of Stranraer and district and he wrote a letter to the Free Press, using the first part of his memoirs which describes his first return to his Galloway birthplace in the summer of 1893 when he was almost 12 years old.

That the first letter to the Free Press led to a request from the editor, Mr Matthew Arnott, for more and over the next couple of years, at irregular intervals, these thoughts of Stranraer and the Rhins created a fair amount of interest.

Some six years later, Charles McNeil arranged through Mr Arnott for the collected writings to be published as a booklet, intended only for relatives and friends. Free Press staff felt such a publication would have a wider appreciation and Professor McNeil agreed a longer print run, with the surplus to be offered for public sale.

Now, 40 years on, The Stranraer and District Local History Trust members are pleased to be able to offer another generation the opportunity to read these reminiscences of a man whose keen eye and mind stored much wonderful detail of Auld Lang Syne.

 
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