The Scottish Submarine Centre in Helensburgh finally opened its doors to the public on Friday – and received a donation from the town’s Co-operative Food supermarket on its first day.

The shop donated £1,240.61 from its local community fund to help the new museum, on West King Street, create more exhibitions.

As reported in last week’s Advertiser, the centre opened its doors with minimal fanfare more than five years after the idea of celebrating Scotland’s submarine heritage in the town was first suggested – and a year and a half since the facility’s centrepiece, the Cold War midget submarine X51, also known as HMS Stickleback, was carefully manoeuvred into the building.

On the opening day, the Advertiser spoke to volunteer Jim Rogers, who lives in Rhu, who said: “I am very pleased it has come to fruition. It’s been great to be involved and has been a four-year labour of love.

“Actually, just getting the sub proved to be quite a drawn-out process but it was certainly worth the wait because there’s only two of them in the UK.”

The Advertiser previously reported that the centrepiece of the facility would be Cold War midget submarine, X51 – or HMS Stickleback – and although the submarine is too small for visitors to get inside, 26 projectors have been used to display what the vessel looks like inside.

Jim added that the content would be updated regularly.

“As time goes on more and more things will be added, which is a great advantage," Jim added.

"We’re hoping to add a memorial wall and videos of people telling their stories.

“Over time people will also be able to have functions here and hire out the space for weddings and events. We’ll also be open for school trips."

Reacting to the Co-op’s opening-day donation, centre volunteer Claire Lang said: “The shop is passionate about helping the community. If the whole town pulled together like this, it could be an amazing town.

“We want to use the money to get the heating better because it’s a big old church and that’s a big cost. It was so nice of them to donate the money because it will make such a difference.”

The money was raised through a book sale in the shop and the company’s loyalty card scheme which donates 1% of each transaction to the fund.

The team manager at the store, Russell Stillwell, said: “It just shows that we aren’t just a big name taking money off the community, we want to give it back and get involved more.

“We have been giving money to the community for about a year and we decided to give money to the Submarine Museum because we have a lot of submariners in the community.”

Doors opened to the public at 10am on Friday, with a steady flow of visitors coming in throughout the day.

Alan White, who came from Airdrie, Lanarkshire, to visit the museum, he said: “We came down for the day and went to check if it was open, so we luckily caught it opening.

“I think they could learn from it and it will develop into a useful museum because there’s a lot of interest in submarines now.

“The questions that people will be asking about the museums will help them develop the idea and make it interesting for school kids.”

However, not every visitor left happily. Duncan and Margaret McIntosh took their two young grandsons to the museum on the first day of the school holidays.

Duncan said: “I was hoping to take my grandsons into the submarine or something of interest, but we got a piece of metal in the middle of the floor.

“It was an introductory price of £5 each for four and there was nothing to see. We were in and out in two minutes.”

Margaret added: “I was quite excited about going along today because We’ve waited for it to open for a long time, but we are very disappointed. You wouldn’t class that as a museum.”