A farewell and thank you to John Baraclough

After eight years of overseeing the running of the Voice for Arran and in particular, making sure that all the technical side ran smoothly, John Baraclough has decided it is now time to move on from his position here. We will miss John very much – his knowledge, focus, reliability, and unflappability (in times of last minute deadlines and inopportune computer breakdowns!) has been a great support. It has also meant the Voice has been produced continuously (with perhaps one issue missed) since the start of its online existence. For those readers who may not know John, we have asked him a few questions to give us a glimpse into his life in Arran and his involvement in the Voice over the years.

What brought you to Arran?

We [John and his wife Janet] first came on holiday to Arran in the early 1970s and returned for several more holidays in the following years. Later on, soon after Samye Ling had bought Holy Isle we came on camping holidays to do volunteer work on the project there. We also had friends who lived on Arran and we visited them on a few occasions. So, when the time came to look for a place to retire, Arran was high up on the list.

What is it about Arran that you love?

The scenery is stunning and there are so many things to do, far too many to list them all.

Tell me about some of the things you like to do here and have been involved in over the years?

When I first retired I was recruited by the Drama Association to do the lighting and sound for the Drama Festival. That led on to doing lighting and sound for many of the island’s stage productions and concerts, which I continued for several years only stopping when I felt that I was getting too old to climb ladders up to the grid and too deaf to hear what was being said! I also volunteered at the castle doing a lot of work on the hard landscaping and fencing, which is still there today, as well as gardening. More recently I have volunteered at the Heritage Museum as part of the maintenance team restoring the old machinery and helping with any odd-jobs that need doing.

I love the outdoors and was often out walking or in a kayak somewhere around the island. I was finding it harder to lift the kayak onto the roof of the car and when the Arran Coastal Rowing Club started several years ago I joined and am now often seen out in one of the two skiffs which the club built.

I am a member of the Arran Bridge Club and play almost every week. I manage the Bridge Club website and frequently operate the scoring system.

Are there any standout moments, or a particular memory or memories that you
can share?

There are so many it’s hard to choose, but the Goatfell torchlight challenge in 2017 was great. However, there is one very special occasion, which will always stay with me, when the rowing club completed a relay row round the island in a single day last June.

How did you get involved with the Voice for Arran and why?

I had worked with Alison Prince on several stage shows. When the Voice for Arran moved from a printed weekly newspaper to a monthly online magazine and she asked me for technical help with building the website each month.

Obviously there have been big changes in the Voice over the years – going from a newspaper to an online publication. Can you tell us about your role in its development?

After the newspaper version of the Voice closed down there was a short time when a weekly “freesheet” was printed. There were 37 produced and all except number 35 can still be found on the website. However, it became too onerous for those involved and it was decided to move to an online monthly magazine. I became involved when edition number 2 was looming and some technical assistance with layout was needed. I have hand-crafted almost every edition since until, at edition 77, we rejuvenated the site into a WordPress magazine. Again all of the old monthly editions can be found on the website.

What will we do at the Voice without you?!

I hope you will carry on producing the Voice for many years to come.

Thank you John! And a great big thank you for your hard work and commitment to the Voice over the years. We wish you all the best with everything you go on to do next. 

Another ‘techie’ has arrived to join us here at the Voice, to take on the work that John has done, which means it can continue for at least a wee while longer…! 


John with the first skiff built by the Arran Coastal Rowing Club. Image courtesy of David Ingham – Arran Photography