The SMSA interviews Andy Lorimer, Vice-Chairman of Stonehaven & District Men’s Shed, who won the title of ‘Shedder of the Year’ 2021 in recognition of the work he carried out during the course of the pandemic to keep the Shed operating in a safe and secure manner.
Andy (73), who was in the Royal Navy for 13 years and a mechanical fitter to trade, was kept completely in the dark about the award until the surprise announcement was made at the Shed’s Christmas lunch on the 16th December.
Shed Chairman Bill Allan sourced a decorative ship’s wheel and transformed it into an impressive trophy. The ethos behind the award is to recognise and reward the members who have gone over and above to steer the course of the Shed.
Andy said: “I was absolutely delighted when the announcement was made. The members certainly did a good job of keeping that under wraps.”
“I have been involved since the beginning and attended the first meeting at the Town House arranged by our local Rotary in 2016 when Jason from the SMSA came to present to us about the concept of Men’s Sheds.
“I was enthused by Jason’s talk and was just about to retire, so volunteered to become a Trustee from the start.
“I go to the Shed most days—it is a huge and important part of my life. My wife died a few years ago and it has provided me with companionship and friendship. When we went into lockdown, I wanted to ensure Shed projects, that could still run safely, kept going but also wanted to keep our members connected to support each other.”
Shed Chairman Bill Allan said: “Andy put so much effort and hard work into keeping the Shed operating by organising the rotas for Shed supervisors and the duty phone holder; ensuring that we have a safe environment to work in; encouraging and helping out on all fronts on administration, organising meetings, liaising with other groups, particularly on welfare activities; issuing SMSA’s Pathfindr Safe Distancing Assistants; and creating and distributing the weekly Shed newsletter to keep us all informed about what is going on.
“Andy didn’t just sit and accept that the Shed was closed, he worked very closely with NHS Grampian on health and safety and risk assessments and put together robust procedures to keep us all safe. Andy steered all of that.”
A very modest Andy added: “To me, I just do my thing at the Shed and get on with it so I was gobsmacked to be presented with the award for our ‘Shedder of the Year’ 2021.
“There have been so many highlights over the years—too many to cover—but the biggest has to be actually getting our Shed building. This was a monumental moment and although it then hit us that we would now have to find the funds to do up this building, it was great to be a part of that journey. Being part of the team, raising funds and seeing each milestone reached is something we will never forget.
“Painting our huge wall mural in the Shed is also a great memory. Our resident artist Paul Ralph involved the members in it. He sketched out the design and we pretty much painted it like a painting by numbers kit. He then finished off the fine details to make it what it is today—something we are all immensely proud of.
“Being on the Stonehaven Farmers’ & Produce Market Support Team—alongside Paul Tosh, Peter Cooper, David Lomax, Jim Mackenzie, Bill Emslie and Mike McInally—is also great. Tom Hannan has been the driving force behind this and leads the team of volunteers. When lockdown measures eased, we supported the Farmers’ Market to get back up and running again with stewarding support and introduced a one-way system. It was great to be back together and supporting our local community.
“Not only is the market work good for our Shed funds but, more importantly, it is a resource for local produce and wares to be made available in our community once again and an opportunity for us to be at local events raising awareness of the Shed activities to potential new members.
“The biggest part of being a Shed member for me is the friendships made and giving back to our community. A group of us have formed a quiz team and meet on a Wednesday night in the local hotel. We recently won the quiz in early March and any money we win goes straight into Shed funds. These friendships are priceless and I thoroughly enjoy it.
When asked about what the future holds for Andy, he simply replied: “Well, I will just keep coming back to the Shed and keep doing what I do.”