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The Board 

Chair - Simon Blackett, Braemar Community Ltd

Simon has lived in Braemar for 30 years.  He worked as Resident Factor to Invercauld Estate and retired a few years ago.  He is chair of Braemar Community Ltd, a volunteer with Braemar Care and Braemar Community Hydro and a Board member of Visit Aberdeenshire.  He runs a tour company for visitors to Upper Deeside and recently was commissioned to inspect some of the local churches.

Treasurer - Nigel Healey, Tarland Welfare Trust

Jim Bruce

Jim is an experienced manager with extensive experience from within the construction industry including strategic analysis, contract negotiations, project management, process analysis, and safety/quality control. Keen on supporting and promoting volunteering, Jim is committed to enabling MAP to support the growth and development of third sector organisations, and the outcomes they deliver across Aberdeenshire.

Patricia Fraser

Patricia is a working farmer in Crathie . She previously worked for 25 years for Tourist Board until 2008 and has been involved in the Crathie Community organising events and clubs since 1970.  Patricia has grown up children and grandchildren and is very interested in people and places.

Patricia is a keen skier and hillwalker.

Gillian Needham, FRCP(Edin); FRCS(Edin)

Emeritus Professor University of Aberdeen (Postgraduate Medical Education)

Gillian is a retired medical doctor who remains active for NHS Grampian as a Secondary Care Appraiser and for the General Medical Council as an Associate and Team Leader for QA Visits to Medical Schools. 

She also works as a Bank Contact Tracer for National Services Scotland.

Gillian has been a MAP board member since 2021 and is also a board member of NESCAN.  Gillian is involved with many groups across Marr:

Chair of Mid Deeside Community First Responders and active Responder with Scottish Ambulance Service, Member Tarland Development Group TDG, Coordinator Tarland Climate Crisis Group TCCG,  Co-Lead for Cromar Food Waste Project (TDG/TCCG joint project), Core Team Cromar Covid Helpline, Member of the Upper Deeside Paths Forum.

Gillians areas of interest for MAP are Climate Change including Community Resilience planning and Food.

In her leisure time Gillian enjoys, walking & cycling and painting with Tarland Art Group; Upper Deeside Art Society and Bieldside Art Group

Bill Slee

Bill was a Science Group Leader of the Socio-Economics Research Group at the James Hutton Institute and previously Director of the Countryside and Community Research Unit in Cheltenham. Prior to that, he worked at the University of Aberdeen in the Department of Agriculture and Forestry.  His research interests included farm adjustment, agri-environmental issues, forestry and rural development, environment and development, rural tourism and community-led local development.  Since his semi-retirement several years ago, he has been more involved in third sector groups including the Macaulay Development Trust, Murray Park Trust and Alford and District Men’s Shed and wants to help nurture a vibrant third sector. He is a panel member of Forest and Land Scotland’s Community Asset Transfer Scheme.  He is particularly interested in the policies and practices needed for transition to a low carbon economy.  He is an active gardener, still plays cricket for Crathie C.C. and enjoys the Scottish hills.

George Wordie

George's day to day job is farming. He is chair of Strathbogie community council. He sits on three community wind farm panels and is also a director of the royal northern agricultural society.

Janice Smith

Janice is a retired Lecturer in Horticulture working latterly at NESCol with Learning Opportunities students. She has worked within the Horticulture and Garden Centre trade for many years as a Buyer, Area Sales Manager and Garden Centre Manager. She is currently a Trustee and Secretary/Treasurer of The Glens of Foudland Windfarm Community Trust and is also Secretary/Treasurer of Tap O' Noth Community Council.


With a lifelong interest in gardening, wildlife and conservation she is involved within the community promoting plant, seed and produce swaps and giveaways and hopes to promote more "grow your own" enterprises within the community area.

Margaret McNaught

Margaret has a variety of industry experience in banking and marketing.  Having left school with a few O levels, Margaret went back to college in 1997 to study business.  After gaining a BA Hons in Business Management, she moved from industry to education and worked in several colleges.  She studied a PGCE and in 2003 she took a lecturing role with NESCol. Whilst working at NESCol, Margaret studied for her Med, which she achieved in 2014.  In 2016 she took a director’s role, working for an oil and gas training company in Azerbaijan but after 2 years she missed Scotland and returned home.  Margaret is passionate about supporting people to achieve.  In 2019, she set up and directs TRE-Life a Training, Resilience and Enterprise community interest company supporting people in Grampian to overcome barriers and help them move forward into positive destinations.   In her spare time, Margaret is a committee member of Kinord Hall in Dinnet. 

Janice Smith pic.JPG

Dave Hirst

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