Mother nature has done an astonishingly good job of making Ellon look pretty good over one of the best summers that most residents of the town can recall, but has had just a little help from those people who make up the local organisation aptly named Civic Pride.
Since its inception in the late 1990’s the group under the selfless leadership of Frances Watson has worked tirelessly to ensure the town is tidy, even well manicured, pleasing on the eye for both locals, and its many visitors.
Most of us are happy to support the group’s efforts over the year, even if some merely observe, while indicating our general happiness about the image of the town.
One of the most eye-catching images is that of the lovely hanging baskets that adorn the town centre, adding colour, and style to some of the greyer town centre establishments.
A feature that I like to think will be with us for many years to come, and not too expensive to buy for those town centre shops and other outlets who wish to keep the town looking at its best.
So no problem there you would like to think but no, as a little bird tells me, there are some dissenting voices among local traders who think at £25 per annum it is too much for their annual budget to cope with when faced with other ongoing costs.
Now, not for a minute am I going to get into a slanging match about the rights or wrongs of how much to charge for a basket, but would simply say to any of the unhappy voices in the town I think you are misguided at best.
But far from entering into a heated debate, let me make an offer to any of the Ellon traders for the duration of a year. It is simply this, the first trader, or establishment to send me their year’s bill for a basket will have it free on me.
No questions asked, and no possible chance of their identity being revealed to anyone other than myself.
Should I receive more than one response I will take upon myself to find a sponsor to take on the commitment for a year’s duration, again without divulging any information on the company.
This is not a cheap gimmick to get a story, just a genuine effort to ensure we have attractive baskets all around the town.
I don’t expect to get a bill, as I believe those outlets in the town will re-consider its situation and stump up what is after all a small sum of money in the great scheme of commercial activity in Ellon.
Having praised the countless volunteers who give so freely of their time and effort to support Civic Pride, let me be the first to condemn those irresponsible litter louts who continue to ignore the plea for tidiness in the area.
Have you no personal civic pride? It would appear not.