THIS week's letters to the Advertiser include praise for a Helensburgh disabled person, memories of living in the town in the 1950s, criticism of the SNP over the state of the country's roads network, and more.

To have your say on any local issue, email with 'Letter' in the subject line of your message.

Please keep your letters as brief and to-the-point as you can, and include your name and address. We also need a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be printed. Happy writing!

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Last Tuesday, March 13, I caught the bus to Dumbarton for an appointment. At the next stop, a severely disabled young lady and her carer got on the bus. The bus driver gave her a high five as he welcomed his friend onto the bus.

First Bus are to be commended on their provision for wheelchair users. Life has presented this local heroine with a serious challenge. She is hearing and speech impaired, yet she radiated light and enthusiasm for life.

Her carer, another young unsung heroine of our community was magnificent. She carried out a constant conversation in sign language with her young charge throughout the journey to Dumbarton.

The pair having a true bond. The carer interpreting the events of the journey to her charge. It was a delight to see in front of me, the true meaning of caring.

We are all the product of our genes. We inherit half of our DNA from our father, half from our mother. We all carry defective genes. Most have no effect on our development or our health.

In rare instances these defective genes can cause serious development problems. It is the human roulette wheel. When the wheel stops spinning, we have no idea if we have passed a genetic disease to our children. It can happen to any family.

These two young ladies face this difficult journey every day. Their dauntless spirit in the face of life’s many challenges should be an inspiration to us all.

John Black

6 Woodhollow House, Helensburgh

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How lovely it was to see a tribute to Stan Grieve in last week's Advertiser.

I remember him well. He had smiles for everyone and always brightened our day.

My son and daughter, now 19 and 16, remember him for the cartoons he drew for them, usually hastily sketched in the street or in a queue and given with a beaming smile.

What a lovely man!

Maxine Buist

Via email

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Although I now live in Australia, my brother and I lived in Helensburgh as children.

We first arrived in Helensburgh in 1955, not long back from a year or so in Alberta, Canada, whereupon our father, Thomas Deans senior, bought a butcher's shop on the front road leading out of town on the way to Dumbarton

My father was a Deacon at the Congregational church back then, know known as the United Reformed Church. When I read in one of your articles that the church hall was to be the venue for the Helensburgh Savoy Music Theatre Group Big Quiz, providing a bar and raffle tickets, it made me smile. Poor old Dad would have turned in his grave.

It’s quite obvious times have changed, and not always for the better.

However I would like to add that in this very hall, my father accompanied me on the piano for my first ever solo as a boy soprano. My singing teacher, Miss Howe, had me well rehearsed, and if only it had been her to play for me – my dad's playing, sadly, left something to be desired.

My performance came to crashing halt, and a very embarrassed 12-year-old.

We left Helensburgh in 1960 heading for Australia as Dad had itchy feet. But we had wonderful parents, and we have had great lives.

Thomas Deans

Redbank Creek, Queensland, Australia

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Shockingly 30 per cent of A-roads in Scotland are now classed as red or amber, meaning they are in need of inspection or requiring work.

Despite Scotland spending significantly more than the UK average on maintaining roads, only 3 per cent of A-roads in England were in poor condition, compared to 30 per cent in Scotland.

These figures are shocking and have a huge knock on for motorists who face increased damage to their cars, vans and motorbikes.

Ultimately the SNP has failed to improve the situation in any real sense and motorists are the ones paying the price for inaction.

When you include the challenges that we in rural constituencies like Argyll and Bute face with the large upcoming spike in logging tonnage on our roads and the continued growth of heavy freight from our world famous distilleries. It's clear that a piecemeal approach to road maintenance is not enough.

Argyll and Bute Council has stepped up to the plate with plans to spend £15 million on roads over the next two years.

Now it's time for the SNP at a national level to act. For far too long the separatists in the Scottish Government have focused far too much on urban areas while ignoring rural Scotland.

With the large scale losses inflicted on the separatists in the last election, particularly in rural constituencies, the SNP must heed public anger on this matter or face an even faster decline.

Cllr Alastair Redman

(Conservative, Kintyre and the Islands)

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I am writing to urge residents in Helensburgh to get involved in the National Autistic Scotland’s biggest fundraiser, World Autism Awareness Week (26 March - 2 April).

In the seven days leading up to World Autism Awareness Day (April 2), we are encouraging schools, workplaces and individuals to take part in activities to raise money and autism awareness.

Whether it's taking part in a bake sale, sponsored walk or wearing an onesie, there are plenty of ways in which you can get involved.

Around 58,000 people in Scotland are autistic and although we’ve come a long way in raising awareness, there's still more to be done until everyone understands autism.

Our research found that although 99.5 per cent of people in Scotland have heard of autism, just 16 per cent of autistic people think it is understood in a meaningful way.

We want to increase understanding of the condition – which affects one in 100 people – in order to tackle this issue and build more compassionate communities.

Autism is a lifelong, developmental condition that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.

We want to close the gap between awareness and understanding so that Scotland can become an autism friendly nation.

To do that we need the public’s support to raise vital funds to continue running campaigns like Too Much Information, training and sharing knowledge with professionals working with autistic people, and so much more.

This World Autism Awareness Week, I hope that people living in Helensburgh will get involved and help us to raise vital funds so we can continue to make a difference to autistic people in Scotland.

Free fundraising guides, packed full of great ideas on how you can make a difference, can be downloaded from

Fiona McGrevey

National Autistic Society Scotland