As a result of the Parliamentary recess for political party conferences, I have been busy across my Ayr, Carrick, and Cumnock constituency in recent weeks.

It is always a pleasure to see the diversity of exciting initiatives and events taking place within the constituency.

One hugely interesting event I attended was the Lost (Mining) Villages of East Ayrshire Project.

This long running initiative seeks to preserve an oral and pictorial record of life in the miners’ rows of villages lost due to the decline of coal mining and the deindustrialization of East Ayrshire. The value of such projects is immense as without them, much of our local heritage would be lost to future generations.

The project’s outcomes were presented by Arthur McIvor, who led the research, complemented by outstanding entertainment from Sean Gray and the ‘weel kent’ local poet Rab Wilson. Further information on this fascinating project is available at

Cumnock Chronicle: The Tings Tae Dae social hub

Outstanding entertainment was again the order of the day in Cumnock when I attended the second event of BIG Saturday!

Performed at Barony Hall, this Musical Celebration of the Coalfields involved a range of community groups including Cumnock Youth Musical Theatre, Cumnock Area Musical Production Society, Strings N Things, Things Tae Dae Social Hub and the Cumnock Tryst Festival Chorus as well as pupils from local schools.

These groups of musicians were conducted by Sir James MacMillan and accompanied by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in a wonderful afternoon of fabulous, first-class musical entertainment.

Cumnock Chronicle: MP Allan Dorans with Sir James MacMillanMP Allan Dorans with Sir James MacMillan (Image: Allan Dorans MP)

Sir James grew up in Cumnock and is both founder and artistic director of the Cumnock Tryst. Its workshop leaders, composers, volunteers, and all those who took part are a tribute to the commitment and dedication of the entire community. This is another important way of preserving our local heritage and celebrating our environment.

Cumnock Chronicle: Cumnock Youth Musical TheatreCumnock Youth Musical Theatre (Image: Allan Dorans MP)

My thanks also to the many sponsors of the event, which included the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership.

I was reminded of my visit to Fit Fest in New Cumnock last month, and the continuing importance of building a sustainable, active lifestyle when I met with the volunteer directors of Visions Leisure Centre in Cumnock.

Cumnock Chronicle: At Visions Leisure CentreAt Visions Leisure Centre (Image: Allan Dorans MP)

This facility provides excellent opportunities to improve health and fitness through swimming, sauna, steam room, weights room, gym, and fitness studio.

Like many local businesses, they have been adversely affected by the Covid pandemic and rising costs, particularly the huge increases in energy costs.

This was a timely reminder of the importance, not just of shopping local, but also supporting local facilities whenever possible.