In late 1997, Burntisland Community Council (BCC) was seeking ways of raising public awareness on the issues of the day. Recognising that Aberdour had a community newspaper, the "Village News", it seemed that imitation might be the way ahead. Andy Wight-Boycott, at the time an early retiree, took on the task.
He soon accepted the challenge of producing a Burntisland community newspaper provided that the BCC underwrote the financial risk and came up with a name for the proposed publication. Accepting the risk was easy, coming up with a name was more difficult! Combinations of Burnt, Island, Royal, Burgh, Gazetteer, Mail, News, Paper, Press, Times, Telegraph, Sheet, Gossip, Murmur, Rumour, Courier, and others were tossed around to find a suitably alliterative combination. Finally Buzz was 'dropped in' and the "Burgh Buzz" was born!
A small team was formed, Fiona Shaw - Advertising, Aneris Grant - Treasurer, Jinti Wight Boycott - proof reader, interviewer, and supporter. The first issue, of 8 pages, had a print run of 2,500 copies and appeared in January 1998. Many first issue themes will be familiar to today's readers: The Community Award (Mrs Margaret Gilbertson), items discussed by the BCC (including town clock chimes), news of and from local organisations, and articles about the Town Crest and the drainage/sewer pit being dug into the Links. Local Advertisers covered the costs of the first issue, as they would for all of Andy's time as editor.
There were however problems - distribution being the most persistent. Contracting out to a local free paper led to many of the first edition copies being found in the Kirkton Burn or behind hedges - heart breaking for the unpaid volunteers who contributed so much. On several occasions Jinti, family, trusted friends and Andy undertook the distribution. For the last of Andy's years as editor, the cubs/scouts (or parents thereof!) accepted responsibility for the distribution.
The Burgh Buzz gradually found acceptance in town and for the second issue, the print run was increased to 3,200. The Buzz grew thicker too - 12 pages for the second edition, 16 for the 20th and finally 20 for the 27th. Andy's seven years saw the town as it coped with the demise of Alcan, reflected on its past (with invaluable assistance from Iain Somerville), considered its future, and honoured the many, many volunteers who contribute so much to make Burntisland one of Scotland's best kept secrets. After seven years and 29 issues Andy decided it was time to move on and let some fresh minds produce the Buzz.
It took almost a year for a new editorial team to be formed under the leadership of Isabel Carr Smart. During the following three years this new team produced four editions, the last one being an online version. The editorial team followed Andy's basic formula whilst introducing a youth element to the editorial team and establishing the Buzz website. Following the publication of the online edition in December 2008, the team suffered a series of illnesses and disbanded. Recognising the value of a free local newspaper, the Community Council again appealed for volunteers to take the Buzz forward.
Following a public meeting in November 2009, a new editorial committee under the leadership of Bill Kirkhope, was formed. With Paul Briscoe as Assistant Editor, Morag Davidson raising the essential advertising revenue, valuable inputs from Patsie Killin and four "cub reporters" from Balwearie High School, the Buzz again hit the streets as a quarterly publication. Content remained basically the same as Andy's first series and an element of colour was introduced.
It was quickly recognised that the cubs/scouts had difficulty in distributing a 24 page document to all 3,000+ households in Burntisland. A distribution network of volunteers was therefore established which now functions reasonably efficiently under the leadership of Linda Briscoe.
Having re-established the Buzz as a quarterly publication, efforts were then concentrated on up-dating the website to make it more user friendly so that the Burntisland message could be spread even wider.
If this history message is being read, this objective has been achieved!