Dunning's History Now - June 2003
THE STORY OF THE GRAVEL GANG
It started with taking this photo in early spring 2003 for the Historical Society records.
When the photographer said it would be nice if a person could get some gravel to fix up the often wet vennel, the lads in this picture said they'd be willing to help.
It wound up with five boys (13 and 14 years of age) attending a Dunning Community Council meeting, to help make the case for a grant for gravel.
The council approved a grant of £100.
That bought 3 tonnes of gravel chippings and several bags of base material, and on Saturday morning of the longest day of 2003, June 21, two dads, John Lochtie and Peter Proff and one grandad, Lorne Wallace, were joined by Steven Bain, Iain Proff, Norton Somerville and later by Barry Stewart and Trent Burns.
Everyone took a turn with digging and wheeling.
The job went amazingly quickly. In an hour the base material and two tons of chippings had been shovelled, barrowed and raked down, and the Lower Granco vennel had been completed.
But there was still a tonne of chippings left. So a very long vennel nearby which runs beside the church from Perth Road to Ochil Garden was brushed and cleaned.
Then a tonne of 20 mm chippings were barrowed up and spread over part of the vennel. At twelve noon all the material had been wheeled and spread. It had taken much less time than anyone thought to shift the three tonnes.
But as the boys remarked, the church vennel was not finished. More of the larger chippings were needed to cover the very long path, and then finer chippings to finish it off.
Community Council chair Judi Slater came to inspect the work, and pronounced herself very satisfied, and thought a splendid job had been done. The boys had already heard several compliments from pedestrians who frequently use the Lower Granco vennel.
Mrs. Slater agreed that if the boys were willing, she would quickly ask the Council to approve money to buy the material to finish the church vennel. The Council members gave their approval.
The job of completing the church vennel took another two sessions. On Wednesday evening, three more tonnes of base material and chippings were wheeled and spread, with two more boys and two more adults joining the gang.
It was a very long vennel, though, and three more tonnes of material had to be ordered.
On Saturday afternoon, the lads and dads joined in a final session of vennel-surfacing.
Three sessions of heavy work had brought considerable satisfaction for the boys and men who took part, and they also appreciated the women who provided the necessary refreshments for the piece breaks.
The cost of material supplied by Dunning Community Council totalled £260.07.
The cost to the community of the labour, thanks to the volunteer teen-agers and their helpers, totalled...nil.
The result of their labour, two beautifully gravelled vennels, will be enjoyed by any Dunningite or visitor who ever walks there.
And, when it rains (as is occasionally does in Dunning), there'll be no treacherous puddles waiting in these vennels to wet the feet, as there used to be.
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