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Wednesday Night Group, Forres says goodbye to mentor, now university student, Ryan Farquhar


By Garry McCartney

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Wednesday Night Group members Ava Rooke, Hamish Rooke, Kelsey Wilk, Phoebe Meever, Rhys Wilk, Ruairdh Fraser, Ryan Farquhar, Jasmine Wilk, Leon Nibloe, Mason Mawhinney and Lesley Mawhinney. .
Wednesday Night Group members Ava Rooke, Hamish Rooke, Kelsey Wilk, Phoebe Meever, Rhys Wilk, Ruairdh Fraser, Ryan Farquhar, Jasmine Wilk, Leon Nibloe, Mason Mawhinney and Lesley Mawhinney. .

A LOCAL activity-based social club has bid farewell to a much-loved member who has left to study in the city.

Ryan Farquhar (18), who first attended the Wednesday Night Group (WNG) in 2010 and went on to be a mentor to members in 2015, hopes his experience in Forres and studies at Stirling University will help lead to a job in teaching.

WNG leader, Lesley Mawhinney, confirmed everyone from the group for school-aged children was sad to see him go.

She said: “We bade farewell to Ryan after a final session of team games with him at Grant Park.

“He joined over 10 years ago and as his confidence and ability increased he moved into a peer mentoring role in the same year that he started Forres Academy.

“Ryan is held in high regard by our volunteers and children alike.

“He has demonstrated huge commitment to helping others develop through the activities and social opportunity the group offers to children with additional support needs.

“He passed his driving test last year then focused on attaining the academic results he needed for uni’.

“It was no surprise to us when he excelled!”

Lesley added: “Ryan’s positive attitude and ability will continue in this next chapter of his life.

“His voluntary work has enhanced his CV and his experience will be conducive to assisting others’ learning and development.”

WNG’s send-off included celebratory cakes and well-wishing from fellow facilitators, attendees and their families.

“Ryan assured us he will try and attend group sessions when he is at home,” said Lesley.

“This went down well as we will miss him massively and look forward to seeing him again soon!”

WNG enjoyed a fun-filled summer holiday that started with a cycling taster session. Highland Bike Ability brought a selection of bikes to the back of Tesco Forres car park, including specialist models for the group to try.

The Wednesday Night Group had a session with Highland Bike Ability.
The Wednesday Night Group had a session with Highland Bike Ability.

“The group, which is still meeting in two bubbles, raced round the track,” said Lesley.

“We’re grateful to Highland Bike Ability and Rosalyn Carruthers of Active Schools who helped as we adapted to the different wheels!”

Speed was a theme of the group’s next activity at Elgin Kart Raceway. Members raced laps around the track on the go-karts.

The group also enjoyed go-karting in Elgin.
The group also enjoyed go-karting in Elgin.

Lesley said: “Those able to manage independently tried to get the fastest lap.

“For those being accompanied, the competition turned into ‘Best Dad Driver’!”

WNG were supposed to attend Bow Hunter Archery at Balnagowan Woods, Nairn but the trip was rained off.

They now hope to attend in the October holidays instead.

EQ Sports organised Nerf Gun Wars for the last session of the summer. Attendees tried out laser tag as well as the Nerf guns.

Wednesday Night Group enjoying EQ Sports upstairs at Forres House.
Wednesday Night Group enjoying EQ Sports upstairs at Forres House.

Lesley said: “Finn and Joy from EQ Sports made it fun for everyone!”

WNG’s autumn/winter sessions started earlier this month.

Lesley finished: “Whilst we remain in our bubbles until at least the end of the year, Halloween and Christmas parties are on the agenda again and will hopefully take place as Covid government guidance allows.”

WNG meets on alternative Wednesdays from 6-7.30pm at Forres Academy.

To join the group, or for any more information about its membership and activities, call Lesley on 07860 219443.



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