Richard Wills resigns as Trust Chairman

1 May 2017

Dear all,

I plan to stand down as Chairman and as a Trustee of the Applecross Trust and will formally issue my resignation at the upcoming Trust Meeting later this week.

My lifelong association with Applecross, and that of my family, has made this a very difficult decision and one which has taken considerable time to arrive at. I have thought long and hard about what is best for Applecross, for the Trust, and for myself and my family, and think the time is right to pass on the baton.

The decision is taken largely on personal grounds but, in addition, Chairmanship of the Trust requires a level of input which I no longer feel I am able to devote due to increased commitments elsewhere. My fellow Trustees and I have happily invested large amounts of our time in fulfilling and upholding the Trust’s objectives and ensuring the organisation is run in a professional, considerate and progressive way. I have thoroughly enjoyed the role and taken a great deal of satisfaction from the various initiatives that the Trust has engaged in during my 20 years as Chairman.

There have been significant successes through, for example NAWC and ALPS, only made possible with the support of the community, and the level of investment in estate infrastructure is now bearing fruit as the Trust, year on year, re-invests its modest surpluses in local infrastructure; this in turn helps to safeguard jobs and facilitate opportunity for local people.

The wellbeing of the Trust and the Community of Applecross are inextricably linked – future success for all will rely upon the development of effective and enduring partnerships between the Trust and local organisations / interest groups. The Trust recognises that improved communication is a basic pre-requisite towards achieving this goal. It was for this reason that the offer was made to the Community to engage with Strath Caulaidh and develop a Community Vision, and a representative body with which the Trustees could confidently engage.

The recent consultation with the community has now provided a platform from which everyone can move forward. As with all new things it will take time but with a positive frame of mind I am sure all challenges and opportunities can be met head on.

As I depart, Rodger Harvey-Jamieson will take on the role of Chair. Rodger should be familiar to most, if not all, of you, and as a founding Trustee will take a great deal of expertise to the position. He will work closely with Archie to ensure the day-to-day work of the Trust continues seamlessly.

As part of its transition plan, the Trust has just appointed Valerie Macpherson as a replacement Trustee. Valerie lives at Craig Dhu near Newtonmore, helping to run her husband’s hill farm and estate. She is involved with the Clan Macpherson Museum there as its Treasurer, and also spends part of her time in Edinburgh where she is a volunteer adviser with the Citizens Advice Bureau. She will undoubtedly add a new dimension to the Trust, whilst helping to ensure that its values are maintained and that its door is always open. The Trust also hopes to be able to report the appointment of a Wester Ross-based Trustee next month, bringing in additional and complementary skills which will further widen the range of expertise available. One or two other appointments may be made over the next year or so with a view to placing the Trust on a stronger footing for the future.
In closing, I would like to personally thank all those Applecross friends and acquaintances who have, over the years, assisted me and the Trust in helping us achieve our goals. The people of Applecross help make it a unique place in the World and I wish you all well in the future.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Wills