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2019 Frances Gunn

Frances Gunn HG 2019.jpg

Frances Gunn from Tongue has accepted the invitation of the Durness Highland Gathering committee to be the 2019 chieftain. Durness Highland Gathering is a small event with all the trimmings of traditional Scottish Highland Games. Revived in 1970 after a break of approximately ten years takes place at Shore Park this year on Friday the 26 July.

The Chieftain’s job is to be the ceremonial face of the whole occasion. Most importantly, the Chieftain must preside over the opening ceremonies and as such will be seen at the head of the Grand Parade of Pipes and Drums as it proceeds to and around the field to mark the official opening of the Games. The Chieftain is on hand to welcome guests and visitors and to present the prizes to those who have been successful in the competitions. It is a great honour to be chosen by a community to be Chieftain of the Highland Games.

Frances is a native of Sutherland who attended Tongue Primary, Farr Secondary and Golspie High schools. She left school and Sutherland briefly to attend Art school in Aberdeen studying graphic design, worked in Aberdeen for a short period then returned home with husband Andrew to live, which was possible due to his employment abroad and they could choose where to bring up a family. In her spare time Frances studied and gained a BA in Geography and Politics with the Open University. 

Frances and Andrew have two grown up daughters Katy and Lara. Frances is looking forward to becoming a grandmother as Lara is expecting her first grandchild.

All her adult life while working for the North West Development Scheme which kicked off the building of the Bettyhill swimming pool, the Pru where she met folk all over north west Sutherland and later self-employed with Sutherland Financial Services in Brora Frances has been involved in all aspects of community social life which has involved many voluntary activities both practical and on committee from hall committee to community council. Very few can know and understand the aspirations and needs of North West Sutherland and having being Chairman of CVS North, a support group to the voluntary sector of North and West Sutherland, resigned the chair and took the job to work a job share with Ronnie Lansley. “I really enjoyed my time working with folk in North West Sutherland, representing the area at planning and development meetings, making sure we were not forgotten. I tried to ensure funding was promoted in the area by becoming chair and assessor for Highland LEADER and the Caithness and North Sutherland Fund for both community groups and businesses. I have promoted opportunities for employment to allow young families to live and work in the area.” Unfortunately CVS North had their funding removed and all voluntary support services were moved to cover all of Sutherland from Golspie. In a voluntary capacity Frances continues to be involved in Mackay Country Community Trust, Strathnaver Museum, UpNorth! Community Trust, North Coast Leisure Centre, Advocacy Highland, Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership, to name a few.  Mrs Frances Gunn received a Commission as Deputy Lieutenant of Sutherland 2 August 2017. When she has time Frances enjoys travelling, reading, gardening, choral singing, and walking her lab retriever Peigi.

The Highland Games begins at 12 noon with the chosen Chieftain for the day meeting previous chieftains and the members of the pipe band before marching on to the Games Field to declare the games open. Entry to all competitions are free and open to everyone no matter which country you come from. If you do not wish to compete just come and watch and maybe meet up with old friends or make new ones. This is a day not to be missed when touring this beautiful part of the Highlands of Scotland. There is much to offer in the way of a Scottish Pipe Band, Highland Dancers, Field, Track and Heavy events.

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