Written by Nairn County FC May 12th 2016

The revamped annual Sportman's Dinner took place at the Newton Hotel last Friday evening and was hailed as a resounding success. The dinner looked in jeopardy earlier in the year but a new committee was formed and managed to keep the annual fundraiser alive. The new committee will now look to build on this year's dinner and take the event forward in future years. Ian Finlayson, a member of the Sportsman's Dinner Organising Committee, said: "It was a fantastic night. First and foremost, we must thank the fans and sponsors who attended on the evening and made the night so enjoyable. We could not do the dinner without their support and it is very much appreciated by all at the club. "The organising committee, led this year by David Maclean, revamped the dinner with the ticket price reducing and the format of the evening being altered. But we kept the elements that made the night so popular, such as our guest speakers and the fantastic auctions." He added: "I would have also to pay tribute to the tremendous organisation and professionalism of the Newton Hotel led by Kevin Staines and all of his staff. "Kevin was part of the organising committee and was central to making sure everything went so smoothly both in the weeks beforehand and on the night itself. I would have to say that the transformation of the Dining Room itself was absolutely gorgeous, with the Yellow and Black colours prominent. The meal on the evening was also truly delicious and as many can tell, I am very good at judging meals!" "Feedback from those on the night was that both our speakers, Carl Schofield and Tank Sherman, went down very well with one member of the fans table telling me that Carl was the funniest speaker he has ever heard in 20 years of coming to our dinners!" "Ian Thain was once again a fantastic MC, controlling things with his normal wit and grace." "With regard to the Auction and Premier Draw, I want to take a moment to thank everyone that donated items. This year, not only our main sponsors, Narden and our various other corporate friends and companies donated items for which we are very thankful, but there were many many individual donations." "I would like particularly to thank Tommy Tweedie for donating his marvellous painting of Station Park, which attracted so much interest and raised several hundred pounds and also the indomitable "Scoosh" Mackintosh, who pulled together so many tables and auction items." "Having the backing of Narden, our corporate friends and partners and particularly these generous fans are hugely important and appreciated by all at the club." Ian and the organising committee are still totalling up the monies raised. He revealed: "We do not have a final figure yet as all of the cash is not in yet. But we have raised several thousand pounds, all of which will be used both to safeguard the financial running of the club and to attempt to move it forward." "The Sportsman's Dinner is one of our major fundraisers for the year and without it, the financial health which our club has enjoyed over recent years would be severely affected." He added: "Finally, I want to thank everyone on the organising committee. Nobody takes anything out of this and the amount of volunteer time that goes into it from all concerned is absolutely terrific. That does not end on the night, as pulling together all of the finances takes several weeks after the event." "This year, David kept us all under control with his generous manner, while Shona Devine and Gillian McWilliam are remarkable – two ladies who are so professional, gracious and organised that I feel like a country bumpkin next to them. It was a pleasure working alongside them and all the other volunteers on the committee this year." "In conclusion, it was another fantastic night but it does not just happen itself – it takes a lot of time and effort by the voluntary committee to put it on and relies on the generosity of the fans and sponsors to make it a success. "I am delighted that again this year that is exactly what it seems to have been. Roll on 2017, when we are back at the Newton for another dinner, though I may have a wee lie down first!" Graeme Macleod

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