The photograph which appeared in the March issue of Leopard reminded me of the time I spent as a member of the Beach Leader team. In the 1950s and 60s Aberdeen was a very popular holiday resort and the beach was hoachin during July and August.
The first beach leader was Bill Ramsay, a teacher of English at Northfield School, now Academy. For a number of years he organised activities at the beach, supported by his wife, Phyllis. Eventually he was joined by my husband, Jim Morrison, a technical teacher at Northfield. The following year I joined the team.
Our base was one of a row of huts which stood on the sand. These huts could be rented from the council and were extremely popular with local families, not only for their accommodation, but also for the fenced-off area of beach in front of them.
My job was mainly on the beach, supervising a play area for young children, directing people to the first aid post, helping to find lost children, passing out information about events, etc. In the mornings Bill and Jim organised activities for children, either on the beach or across the promenade on the grass, where there was a small stage and a boarded area – sandcastle competitions, treasure hunts, bonnie baby competitions, games, junior talent competitions, and so on.
In the afternoons there were family activities on the boards – bathing beauty competitions, games, dancing to a three-piece band, talent competitions, quizzes and the like.
Every Friday evening we put on a show in the Beach Pavilion, that lovely little theatre which is sadly long gone. Local entertainers took part; there were audience participation games and the trio played. The highlight of the evening was always the final of the talent competition when all the winners from that week’s afternoon sessions performed. It was high competitive, especially during the Glasgow Fair fortnight. On one occasion, a participant went all the way home to Glasgow to get his gear for the event! We had a full house for every performance.
For two summers I had sand between my toes on a daily basis. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, even if I was haunted by She wore an itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikini, which was played ad nauseum over the loudspeakers.
The Beach Leader Service continued for a number of years after I left, with such members as Pat and Alfie Wood, and Loretta and Charlie Tennant.
The popularity of beach holidays at home waned, however, and the service was discontinued.
6 Garden Place, Cruden Bay