FOSN News Blog

Gunner Thomas Irvine

Thomas Irvine

Gunner Thomas Irvine, Royal Garrison Artillery Orkney

Gunner Thomas Irvine of Sandside, Deerness died in Kirkwall of influenza & pneumonia on 23 March 1915

He was 16 years old

During the next 4 years we will be commemorating the young men from Deerness who gave their lives during World War 1. There will be a display in the kirk on the anniversary of each death.

Please come along and see what we have. If you have any photos, letters, documents or memories we would love to hear from you.

Images of Deerness 2015 Calendar



Images of Deerness 2015 calendars, only £1 each until 28th February. Available from Deerness Stores or via

It is also available by post - please send a cheque for £2.17(including £1.17 p&p) to Denise Brown, Old Schoolhouse, Deerness, Orkney KW17 2QH


St Magnus Festival Concert

The "Astrid String Quartet" performed works from Haydn, Tchaikovsky and Alasdair Nicolson in the Kirk on Tuesday 24th June, as part of the 2014 St Magnus Festival. The event was a fantastic success with well over 100 folk attending, and most of them coming back to the Community Hall for a fabulous Deerness tea!

Many thanks go all the Deerness ladies (and gents!) for their help with the baking, sandwich making, serving and clearing up, to the Quartet for venturing out East to entertain us so well, and to everyone who attended or participated in any way!

St Magnus Festival

Friends of St Ninian’s AGM Thursday 14 March 2013

This is a summary of the Friends of St Ninian's AGM, which took place on a cold night, when lots of bugs were also affecting Deerness, so thank you again to the hardy group who made it along to what was a very pleasant, social gathering.

Ernie Skea, Chair, was amongst those unable to attend the AGM, so Anne Mitchell, Treasurer and Isobel Gardner, Secretary, jointly chaired the evening.

A resume of the past 15 months' activities was given based on the recently issued Friends newsletter and updating various news items: the Blue Door gross takings now stand at £2847.47, less approx £120 expenses; the carpeting at the pulpit area will be re-laid shortly; the Session room will soon be equipped with a stove.

The free use of the website and Facebook pages to advertise Deerness businesses was flagged up. Contact The Friends via the website to find out more, and to discuss how best to use the facility.

Anne Mitchell explained the Friends accounts to 31 March 2012 and statement of affairs to 28 February 2013. Of particular note were the Scotland's Islands grant towards Deerness in 100 Objects in 2012 and the Orkney Islands Council grant towards refurbishments to the kirk. Both had been heavily underpinned by Deerness community effort which made the financial input of the grants go very much further than apparent from the figures in the accounts.

Future costings for work on the kirk will need to allow for additional electricity use however. The work on the kirk in Spring 2012 ran up a considerable account with SSE. Steps are underway, via the Climate Challenge Fund, to consider more efficient ways of heating the building, and how to insulate it to best effect. It may also be possible to negotiate a better electricity tariff than that currently on offer, and likewise with insurance which is another high but unavoidable cost.

Postage is becoming an increasing burden for all organisations and a plea was again made for Friends to provide email addresses for all contact and to make membership payment by standing order – forms can be downloaded from membership page.

Note also the Friends box in the Deerness Shop, and use it to post items and to make suggestions.

The more Friends there are the better so, please, spread the word.

By special resolution, an amendment has been made to the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Friends, to allow for the possibility of office bearers remaining in office for longer than the originally stated terms of office, as follows: In the event of no other board members/directors being willing to take up positions as office bearers, it is resolved that the existing office bearers will be able to serve for a further term, being a further term of three years for the Chairperson and other office bearers and five years for the Treasurer.

Various projects are underway for the coming year including: an update of the website, which is a Deerness portal, not just for the Friends: researches into the lives and deaths of the Deerness men (and any women?) who fought in the Great War, in readiness for the centenary of the outbreak of that conflict in 2014; continuance of the Deerness Places and Names project; work on shore erosion at Newark; a 2015 calendar; a cookbook, in association perhaps with Deerness SWRI; a local phone book; a Sankey evening in the kirk in summer 2014 and a big event, a craft fair for Deerness crafters on the weekend of 16 & 17 November 2013, in the Hall --- much more to follow on this, but mark your diaries now.

Details and updates for all of these projects will be appearing on the website.

After the formalities of the evening, refreshments were produced and a convivial hour was enjoyed by us all, with lots of useful discussions and offers of help for the up and coming projects and suggestions as to how to cut some costs.

Any Friend who wants to see the accounts to 31 March 2012, please contact Anne Mitchell via the website and she will forward same.