Vaughan Hammond was recognised with honorary membership in 2015 for his outstanding contribution to the funding, construction and management of Mill Cottage in Feshiebridge and the associated trust. This simple, national hut has offered accommodation to mountaineers since the 1980s when it was established in memory of three students, Keith and Graham Bell and Kieran Connor, who died in the Cairngorms. In this time it has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for mountain safety work, thanks to the dedication of Vaughan and a team of volunteers.
Vaughan was on the MCofS National Executive Committee in the early 1980s, when the organisation received a bequest from the parents of the two Bell brothers, Keith and Graham, who died in a storm in the northern Cairngorms, along with a third student, Kieran Conner, all from the Heriot Watt University’s Climbing Club.
The bequest was to fund a memorial bunkhouse, and for some time the MCofS searched for a suitable property. After several years without progress, Vaughan asked if he could be involved as he had a number of contacts which might be of benefit, and through these Mill Cottage was identified as an ideal location.
The purchase was negotiated with the Forestry Commission and Vaughan managed to raise some £54,000 of funding which was used to convert the building into the bunkhouse members are familiar with today, in use since the spring of 1991.
Mill Cottage is run by an independent charitable trust, and uses any surpluses to fund mountain safety courses. It is estimated that during those 24 years, when matched funding is taken account, the trust has put something between £100,000 and £200,000 into mountain safety.