Today I have been chairing a couple of events at the Ullapool Book Festival.

Is there something else on? Haven’t heard a peep. Unless you count the torrent of adverts exhorting me to purchase anything from jigsaws to candles, to coins, to brooches, to insignia stamped cashmere garments. Haud me back.

Anyway, the Ullapool gig is unmissable because this gem among book festivals is having its last hurrah – at least so far as full-on weekend events are concerned.

The reason for this sad departure is all too common. The stalwart committee is knocking on a bit, and some have moved to other airts and pairts to live nearer the rellies. And, guess what, they haven’t been able to recruit a younger posse to take over the reins.

In the course of this last week, I have had conversations with three different friends about the dearth of volunteers for the organisations to which they themselves have devoted a sizeable chunk of their assorted lives. All are, ahem, chronologically gifted, and thus anxious to know that their assorted good causes will not die a death.

The question is whether or not this problem is the result of younger folk being overwhelmed by their own family commitments and both time and cash poor, or whether volunteering in your own community has somehow or other gone out of fashion.

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Let’s hope it’s not the latter, because there’s no shortage of stuff needing done and problems needing addressed. And that’s true whether you live in a big city or a rural setting, where sometimes urgent issues all too easily remain hidden.

There is another very good reason for myself and some of our own Cove and Kilcreggan Book Festival committee to go up in person to bid our Ullapool “twin” a fond farewell.

It was Ullapool and its village hall which provided the inspiration for us to start up our own annual festival; like theirs, all taking place in the one venue, where everyone can attend every event.

And this year we celebrate our tenth anniversary. So happy birthday to Cove and Kilcreggan’s book festival – and au revoir to team Ullapool.