The first weekly edition of the Helensburgh Advertiser was published 60 years ago, hitting the shops on August 30, 1957.

Set up in 1957 by brothers Craig and Ronnie Jeffrey in competition to the older-established – and rather more staid and conservative – Helensburgh and Gareloch Times, the Advertiser's bright, breezy and humorous approach soon won over advertisers and readers.

The new paper eventually won the local circulation battle with the Times, which, in the mid-1970s, was turned into a freesheet and then closed.

The Advertiser – the second newspaper in the town to bear the name – had actually begun life four months earlier, in May 1957, as a single-sheet poster, displayed in the windows of shops and other businesses, featuring adverts, a 'what's on' listing and the times not only of buses and trains to and from the Burgh but also of the steamers which served the pier at Craigendoran.

But after 15 weeks in its 'poster' format, enough advertising revenue had been generated for the Jeffreys to launch a full-blown weekly broadsheet newspaper, at first featuring four densely-packed pages of news reports, community information and adverts.

Craig became a freelance journalist after eight years as a linotype operator with the Paisley Daily Express, with whom he served his apprenticeship.

After meeting Margaret Slater, who would later become his first wife, Craig returned to the production side of the business, as a linotype operator with the Glasgow Evening Citizen.

Thre years later he bought a small letterpress printing business in Helensburgh's Colquhoun Street, and soon began to harbour dreams of taking on the Times.

But it took him a while – a year at first, hand-setting small commercial printing jobs until he had enough money to buy a second-hand linotype machine, and then, as printing work increased, he was joined by his younger brother Ronnie, and together they bought a flatbed printing press and a second linotype machine, before the first poster-format Helensburgh Advertiser appeared on May 24, 1957.

Four months later, the first issue of the Advertiser as a weekly newspaper led with the news that the new commercial TV channel for Scotland, Scottish Television, was unlikely to reach many homes in the area on its launch on August 31 due to the obstruction of the signal by Ben Bouie.

Elsewhere the paper reported on the resignation “for domestic reasons” of the librarian at Helensburgh Templeton Library, the acceptance of a Helensburgh soldier, Frank Hailstones, for service in the SAS, and on a Glasgow student fined £2 – or the equivalent of 14 days in prison – for parking her car within the limits of the pedestrian crossing in West Clyde Street.

Also on the front page was a message from the Jeffreys under the heading 'The New Paper', which stated: “This weekly newspaper is a new enterprise which will combine optimistic drive with wide experience in the field of newspaper production.

“Presentation of news, without prejudice, without partiality, without bias, will be its aim.

“Keeping pace with developments in this growing community, the Helensburgh Advertiser will reveal to its readers, each week, the interesting parade of events which take place in Helensburgh and district.”

Such was the success of the weekly Advertiser – despite a fire in 1961 that destroyed the Colquhoun Street print shop – that a sister title, the Dumbarton County Reporter (later the Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter) was launched in 1964, and at its peak the company had a workforce of more than 60, making it the area's largest private sector employer.

Craig and Ronnie sold the business to Express Newspapers in 1985; just three months later, Express Newspapers was in turn bought out by United Newspapers, and the Advertiser and Reporter both became part of United Provincial Newspapers.

In 1991 UPN sold their Scottish interests to the Clyde and Forth Press Group, run by the Romanes family, and the paper remained the family's ownership until the Romanes Media Group was bought by Newsquest in May 2015.

Craig Jeffrey died in August 1997, just seven days before the Advertiser reached its 30th birthday; the following week's issue described him as “a fighter, a fine writer, a consummate salesman, a man of real character with a tremendous sense of humour, a 100 miles an hour man to those who knew him or worked for him”.

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Former editor Donald Fullarton, still a regular contributor to the paper, marked his 50-year association with the Advertiser in 2015 with a personal recollection, still available on the Helensburgh Heritage Trust's website, in which he wrote about his first week in the job after moving across from the 'Times' to replace Advertiser reporter Tom Gallacher.

Donald secured a pay rise just ten days after taking up the job on August 31, 1965, and admitted afterwards that he “must have done something right”.

In that 2015 piece Donald wrote: “That could have been something to do with my first day, when I was called to Rosneath where four men working in a 20ft deep trench laying pipes were trapped when part of the banking gave way.

“The operator of a mechanical digger and a colleague rushed to help free the men as sand poured down on them. One of the pipelayers and one of the helpers were encased up to their thighs —but the other man disappeared completely.

“A protracted and successful rescue operation followed, and I interviewed rescuers and passers-by. Fortunately none of the trapped men were seriously injured.

“Other stories I worked on that first week included a solicitor smashing a sports car into a Loch Lomondside rock face. It rebounded across the road and through a wall, then nosedived eight feet down into the loch.

“The driver and his wife stepped out unhurt into two feet of water.

“Rhu Amateurs football team were on their way to play Mosspark when the Dormobile they were travelling in was involved in a three vehicle pile-up at Dumbuck.

“The match was cancelled, and the players went to watch Dumbarton play Alloa at the historic Boghead ground.

“From Dumbarton Sheriff Court came the story of a drunk 22 year-old Helensburgh man who broke into a Burgh house, was confronted by the lady of the house, and told her “Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you.”

“At this moment the lady’s Alsatian dog bounded down the stairs, looked at the man — and sat down.

“All ended well, however, when the lady locked her unwelcome visitor in the toilet and called the police. The man escaped through the window, but was caught and in due course jailed for three months.

“That same week but on different days four ‘bombs’ were washed up on the shore between Craigendoran and Cardross. A Royal Navy Bomb and Mine Disposal Unit exploded one of them near the village.

“The other three turned out to be three-foot-long used smoke generators, and they were taken away.

“Only Craig Jeffrey could write the headline '3 Phuts and One Bang!'.”

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Julian Calvert, who worked for the Advertiser for six years from 1998 until 2004, said: “I’d never heard of Helensburgh until I saw the editor’s job advertised in early 1998, and after a 700-mile round trip to be interviewed by Fiona Howard and Donald Fullarton I still wasn’t much wiser – the weather that February day was so dreich I couldn’t see the other side of the street, let alone the far side of the Clyde.

“Still, I reckoned, it was unlikely to look much worse than Coalville, the Leicestershire town, where I was editing the local weeklies, so I took the plunge, headed north and on a sunny morning in May I was delighted to arrive at my B&B in a beautiful town where the streets were full of blossom.

“I worked in the Colquhoun Square office for another six and a half years and was very lucky to share it with journalists who in many cases lived in the area so helped me to settle in quickly – indeed my new boss, Fiona Howard, was so generous as to invite me to her home on the peninsula that first night for dinner.

“We then went to the Kilcreggan Hotel, which turned out to be completely packed with locals who had been told the new editor of the Advertiser would not only be there – but was English, called Julian, wearing a suit and drinking one shandy as he had to drive back to Helensburgh.

“One of the locals who were competing with each other to get me to buy them the most unpronounceable whiskies did end up becoming my wife, in fairness (her choice was a Lagavulin, which I thought at first was a lager and lime).

“The big national development during my time at the Advertiser was of course the formation of Scotland’s new Parliament; locally the regular stories included parking problems in Helensburgh, house prices, ferries, opposition to new housing estates, NHS cutbacks, record-breaking wet weather, the need for a new swimming pool and flooding at the seafront – sound familiar?

“The main changes at the paper were technological – the parent company’s own printing press in Greenock was closed down in favour of contract printing in Glasgow, which meant that for the first time the Advertiser included full colour photos and adverts.

“With all aspects of the paper’s production gradually becoming digital during those years there were a lot of changes for the journalists – although when I left in October 2004 the Advertiser still didn’t have a website, and the multimedia work that is expected of the paper’s journalists today could not have been imagined.

“I’ll always have fond memories of the people I worked with in Helensburgh, not just the editorial team – which included Louise Baillie, Jonnie Baker, Katharine Bell, Helen Bushnell, Christina Cran, Fiona Holland, Alistair Mackay, Tony McGinley, Calum McNicol, Janette Moorhouse, David Morrison, James Mulholland, Simon Piper, Scott Reid, Cameron Robertson, Sarah Swain and Kirsty Urquhart - but all the photographers, receptionists, circulation and advertising and accounts staff.

“Despite all the talk of newspapers declining, the power of the local press should never be underestimated and I look forward to reading the editions of the Advertiser which celebrate many anniversaries to come – but hopefully the town’s seafront and swimming pool will finally have been sorted out by 2027.”