28th June 2013

So, last time I wrote Camille had just arrived and now she's leaving tomorrow. Has it really been two months? And there seem to be so many going away parties - she's off to coffee with the English class just now to say goodbye, and was invited to coffee this morning with the Arbroath Town mission group who were staying here this week. Last Saturday she had a farewell coffee morning, which was her idea so she could help raise money for the Centre as a thank you for us having her and also so she could say she had organised an event for her course work. A big thank you to everyone who helped - and to those who came along - we raised £210 for the Centre. The baking was fantastic and so was the ambiance as we were surrounded by the wonderful artwork of kids from local schools as it was the last day of the Young Artist of the Year exhibition - they had their prizegiving later on in the day. Take a look at our facebook to see some of their pictures and models. Brilliant stuff! 
As for the fundraising events we mentioned last month the WA donated £450 after their coffee morning  in May and Madcaps £250. Richard completed his 81 mile cycle ride in Etape but we don't know the final total from that yet. Another big event this month was Alan Berry's (our chairman's) significant birthday party - How old??? Friends and family spent the whole weekend at the Centre and instead of giving Alan a present they donated to the Centre. So we're really making progress on our growth fund. The electrician comes on Monday to start the conversion of the old office into a staff bedsit, so we're very excited to see that plan become reality at last... And we had word of a pledge of £5,000 from Perth & Kinross Council towards our new accessible conference room. Excellent news:)
 Iain had a claim to fame as he had a story about his early years in the Centre (when he was here in the 70s) published in a booklet called "Life as we know it". A collaboration of writers from the adult literacy and English as a foreign language classes (who both meet every week at the Centre) as well as some other locals formed the content for this book and it was launched with great celebration at the end of May. The Hive was also a community first. Having its first meeting at the Centre, it is a hobbies club for younger Pitlochry adults founded as a result of the Big plan where a gap was identified. We wish it great success.
Over her 2 months Camille saw a wide variety of groups come and go. She made friends with Graham & Aggie, who come regularly for respite as Aggie is ill and in a wheelchair. Aggie and Camille both love to talk so they were often up to the wee small hours. Kids with heart disorders had their family holiday & although Camille found them quite hard to understand, since it was her first weekend here, they loved meeting her and as usual it was jelly every day (to get some protein into kids with small appetites) which is very unusual food for French people. The Fergusson vintage tractors came for an overnight stop on their way from Oban to Montrose, raising money for charity through this annual tractor drive. Unlike last year it was quite dull & rainy when they came, but we've just heard a fan has some good photos from this year, so we'll put them up on facebook as soon as we get a hold of them so you can see the tractors in all their glory - it's quite a display:). L'Arche (charity for adults with learning disabilites) also came for a staff meeting, Pitlochry being a good central venue for folk coming from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness and are planning to bring a group for a respite break later in the summer. Camille said, "I can see this isn't just an ordinary guest house. You welcome people with difficulties or who are looking for a special rest. The Atholl Centre really has an "Esprit particulier" - a very special atmosphere."
So safe journey home Camille. We wish you well for the future. On Sunday Michal studying tourism is coming for the month from Poland. Welcome Michal. Hope you have a great stay here:)