70 years old: Ellon’s New Bridge, and the first man to cross it

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AN ELLON man who was one of the first people to cross the new Ythan Bridge has celebrated his 70th birthday, reminiscing on a time before the ‘new’ bridge was built.

Charlie Elrick, a ‘weel kent face’ in the town, was four days old when he, his parents and his two brothers crossed the newly opened bridge in February, 1941. Built as a replacement for the 1793 predecessor which still stands, the new Ythan bridge was designed to better cope with the volume of traffic flowing into and out of Ellon, including increasing use by motor vehicles. The first vehicle to cross, however, was a horse and cart, carrying the Elrick family.

“I can’t really remember much about it, being only four days old,” he said. “My father worked at farms at Cromleybank and Meiklemill, so we crossed the bridge quite regularly.”

Charlie, who stays on Station Road, told the Times that life in the town hadn’t changed that much from his youth.

“It’s a shame that so many of the smaller shops have closed down,” he said. “But beside that, things haven’t changed too much.”

Having lived from the era of horse-drawn carts into the era of MP3 players, Charlie remains a mainstay of Ellon’s town centre, despite requiring a white stick to get around, after losing most of his sight in 1974.

Linda Melvin and Melissa McHardy, who work in Scotscoup Bookies on Bridge Street, say that it’s a pleasure to see him in the shop.

“He comes in quite regularly, and he’s a great source of stories,” Linda told the Times.

Melissa added: “He mentioned his birthday to us, and we’d never have known otherwise. He’s got a super sense of humour, and is a pleasure to have in the shop.