St Kilda Club Board Member Biographies

Meet our team of volunteers who actively manage and care for St Kilda.

Alisdair Fleming

Alisdair Fleming

President

Outside of St Kilda, I am a Chartered Accountant, married to wife Linda and daughters Nicky & Fiona.

I was aware from early 1950’s that Grandpa Ferguson had come from an island in the West – further out from his manse on Seil where we, as young children, spent a lot of holiday time. St Kilda was a fact of life in our family but it was really “no big deal”, other than visits from the St Kildans over the years for family catch up and craic. I later became aware of NTS work parties as an opportunity for a visit to St Kilda, but couldn’t justify to myself two weeks away from my young family with my limited holiday days from business.

In 1980 for the 50th Anniversary of the evacuation, there was a commemoration non-landing cruise, Saturday evening until Monday morning – bring your own sleeping bags and find a floor! We got ashore for 30 mins and I was hooked. After this I then went on my first Work Party with a great leader, Joe Keppie, and I was even more hooked after two weeks on Hiort. In the 80’s and 90’s I was leader of 9 St Kilda Work Parties and made many good friends throughout the world whose friendship continues today. I visited on various other occasions as guide, and once by helicopter as a guest of NTS for service in Kirk.

I joined the Committee of St Kilda Club in 1983 as work party leader and must have had too much to say for myself at that time in support, promotion and management of the Club that I find myself now very much honoured to be its President, following on from George Thomson and his eminent predecessors.

I visited Hiort in May 2019 for first time in 20 years on a special day trip with my wife and daughters. I am glad to have been able to contribute to maintaining the ethos, history, culture and built archaeology of my ancestors.

Donald Paterson

Donald Paterson

Vice President

I first visited St Kilda as a work party member in 1989. An “interesting” journey which took 5 days and culminated in an eventual arrival on an army landing craft. I have been a club member since then and have, over the years, led 8 work parties to St Kilda. Over the years I have served on the Committee/Board in various guises, looking after the reunion for several years and was chair for 10 years before becoming a vice-president of the Club in 2018. I now edit the St Kilda Mail with Colin Govier, with our first “attempt” being published in 2019 – to critical acclaim! Our second Mail as joint editors is well under way.

Jeffrey Stone

Jeffrey Stone

Vice President

I have served on eighteen St Kida work parties between 1987 and 2005, fifteen as work party leader. I was elected Chairman of the then Committee of the Club in 1998, continuing in office for ten years, during which time the Club became a limited company and a registered charity.
Julie Hunt

Julie Hunt

Chairman

I first visited St Kilda as part of a work party in 2002, after my parents bought home Tom Steel’s ‘Life and Death on St Kilda’ from a holiday on the Isle of Skye. It was a 14-hour boat ride from Oban on the Poplar Diver, and I did wonder what I had let myself in for! I joined the St Kilda Club in 2002, and became a board member 11 years later in 2013, I introduced social media and was involved with re-vamping the website, and have played a part in introducing online membership. I was honoured to be asked to become Chairman in March 2018, and am excited to be a part of the Club as it continues to grow.

Outside St Kilda, I have run my own financial services company in Norfolk for the past 16 years, which I find very rewarding. In my spare time I love travel, the more far flung the better.

David Ackroyd

David Ackroyd

Secretary and Treasurer

In a previous life I was a Company Secretary for a small group of companies in the Timber Industry. Over the last 25 years I have volunteered for some nine charities as Trustee, Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and also as a Governor for two schools, as well as being a member and supporter of many charitable bodies.

My current active commitments are just one school and the St Kilda Club. As a serial holiday taker in the Western Isles for the last 35 years, I took an increasing interest from a distance in the St Kilda archipelago and after a few unsuccessful attempts to visit finally made it in 2002. I’m a past Work Party leader and have been a member of the Club Board for all bar one year since 2004 and Secretary / Treasurer from 2009, I’ve been very privileged to contribute to Club & the NTS.

Christine McPherson

Christine McPherson

Archivist

When I left full-time work as a Manager/Trainer with the Careers Service, I started a new chapter in my life by studying and working in Archaeology. I was getting experience through the National Trust for Scotland Thistle Camps when I saw there were opportunities for archaeological work parties on St Kilda. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful in getting a place on one of the archaeological work parties but was asked if I would be interested in a cancellation place on a conservation one. I said yes, and that’s when it begun.

I loved it so much I wanted to go back but knowing how oversubscribed the work parties where I volunteered to go back as a cook. The next six years I spent at least two weeks but generally a month on St Kilda. I loved it. 

I joined the St Kilda Club and wanted to contribute. I had been trained as a Librarian before switching to Career Guidance so the post of Archivist really appealed. I was lucky enough to obtain the post.

Fiona Black

Fiona Black

Board Member

Despite having worked on the Scottish Mainland all my adult life, I still regard myself an island girl at heart, having been born and brought up on the Isle of Bute. It was there, at the local Primary School, that I first learnt of the St Kilda Mailboat and this alternative form of communication, used by those remote islanders, fascinated me.  I have been fascinated by the place ever since.

Thirty years later, in 1996, as member of an NTS Archaeology Work Party, I made it out to that other island to see it for myself. Being fortunate enough to have been on six Work Parties over the years, I am now well and truly hooked.

As a St Kilda Club Board Member, I am currently involved in the Reunion Sub-Committee as ticket convenor and look forward to meeting up with Club members at our Annual Reunion.

Now based in Ayrshire, I have recently retired after 39 years as a School Librarian and am looking forward to having more time for walking, enjoying Scottish Trad Music and visiting more Scottish Islands.  Along the way I will continue to raise awareness of the outstanding beauty, cultural and natural history of the St Kilda Islands and, in doing so, promote their conservation and protection.

Dasha Murray

Dasha Murray

Board Member

My interest in St Kilda began like so many others when, as a teenager, I read Tom Steel’s ‘Life and Death on St Kilda.’ My first (thwarted) attempt to get there was as part of a National Trust work party in 1992. The aim of the work party had been to restore Cottage No.6. I had been looking forward to using building skills acquired during my own family’s restoration of a ruined croft in a remote part of the west Highlands. On that occasion the M.V. Monaco couldn’t get beyond Tobermory because of a Force 9 strong gale in the Minch. After that, family commitments prevented any further attempts to get there but didn’t stop me pursuing my interest through building a comprehensive book collection.

In 2017, after retiring from 33 years of teaching, I was delighted to be able to finally reach St Kilda as a National Trust volunteer working mainly in the shop. After St Kilda, my favourite place to be is in front of the family cottage with my three collies, looking out to sea with a gin and tonic in hand.

Alasdair MacEachen

Alasdair MacEachen

Board Member

Growing up in Benbecula in the early days of the development of the Rocket Range, I have always been aware of the presence of another distant landfall fifty miles to the west of my home in Aird.

At that time, we knew many of the military and civilian workers who spent weeks and months on Hiort in the course of their St Kilda posting and, in that way, in my own time, St Kilda has always had a part to play in the life of our own community in Uist.

There is almost forty years since I first visited St Kilda, and over that time, I have visited the archipelago two or three times annually.

I now try to give something back to the island to promote and preserve such an important part of our cultural and social history and I hope that my contribution to the aims and objectives of the St Kilda Club will play its own part in achieving that outcome.

Colin Govier

Colin Govier

Board Member

I am a retired architect and live in Edinburgh. After visiting Hirta, as a work party member in the 1990s, I developed an interest in St Kilda and joined the St Kilda Club, taking on the post of Secretary / Treasurer in 1997, serving for 13 years and I now continue to serve on the Reunion Sub – Committee and as Joint Editor of the St Kilda Mail.

I oversee the Club Mailings to the Membership – the papers for the AGM and Reunion and the St Kilda Mail. I also compiled the 2017 Members’ Questionnaire, collating and interpreting the responses.

I am also a Volunteer Guide at the Georgian House in Edinburgh, managed by the National Trust for Scotland.

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