A view from the Bridge

THIS week, the Times is looking for your help!

Worry not, though, readers, we’re not speaking about the Bus Stop Blether, which usually induces a sprint to the exit. We’re speaking about our appeal for nomination to our ‘North-East personalities’ feature, to be published in March.

Whoever you think has done a power of good for your community, we would like to hear about them. Send in your nominations to us, Ellon and Formartine have plenty to offer, so we hope for a good response.

SPEAKING of responses, we got an excellent response to our Facebook tickets competition. For anyone who didn’t hear about it, give our page a like - we’ll be holding more in the not too distant future! We’ve got about 250 likes thus far, but we’re aiming for more, so if you’re on Facebook, look up The Ellon Times and give us a like. It could be well worth your while. There are still teething difficulties with some people unable to use the personal message system, but in that case you can still enter the traditional way, by post card to the office.

TUESDAY saw the world learn about the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who died at the age of 58 from cancer. For what it’s worth, the Times extends its sympathies to the people of that country.

Chavez was a larger than life character, and he’s left a mixed legacy of opinions across the world. Opponents say that he subverted democracy in Venezuela to turn it into an effective one party state. His courtship of a number of fairly detestable regimes will also go down as a black mark against his name.

Nonetheless, the attention he paid to the poor of the country - and the fact that he turned them into a powerful voting bloc - will be his lasting, positive legacy. We can all hope that Venezuela prospers, whatever the new regime looks like.

THIS week, we cover a lot of the good things that people in the local area are doing for charity.

Since arriving in Ellon many moons ago, it has always amazed me how much time and money people in Formartine give to good causes. This week, we have a number of stories covering the good work local folk are doing for good causes.

It’s profoundly uplifting to know that, even in the depths of a recession, how much generosity there is in such a small area of Scotland. Everyone raising money this week, I salute you.