YOUR letters to the Advertiser this week include more thoughts on the campaign for a Helensburgh skate park and the town's waterfront regeneration project, as well as views on the future of Geilston Garden, Gaelic signs and education, and more.

To see your opinions featured in our next crop of readers' letters, just email Please include your name and address, and also a daytime 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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As an old fogey, aged 76 and always out on my bike, I come across skate parks all over the country and abroad, and always I am amazed by two things.

Firstly, how much better they are than anything so far provided for our kids in Helensburgh – but secondly, and perhaps more importantly, in an area such as a skate park, where one would think there were no rules, in fact the opposite is the case.

The young people who use our country’s skate parks seem to have an unspoken etiquette that makes them take their turn, look out for each other, and to take care of any younger kids taking part.

Anyone at the event last Saturday in Helensburgh would have witnessed these two points.

I invite councillors and members of the community council to keep this in mind when deciding whether to provide a new facility since such conduct, self imposed by the kids, can only be good for society.

The affordability for providing individual equipment is also likely to be within the means of most parents.

Turning the subject to one where there are rules, I do hope there will still be lanes in any new pool, since otherwise we will be leaving Helensburgh Swimming Club ‘high and dry’.

From my own experience in life and Having taken part in competitive sports, both as an individual from a young age and as a team member, I can only say they help get you through life in general.

Again I would invite the councillors to consider this as an investment in the future for society.

Tam Anderson, East Montrose Street, Helensburgh

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On behalf of the Helensburgh Skatepark Project, I would like to thank the following businesses for their support in the lead up to our open day on June 23, and on the day itself.

Michael and Anna Curley from The Buffet Shop, who kindly donated three delicious salads, Unit 23 Skatepark, Townhead Farm, Hoodem Ltd, Chaz Sands Photography, The Coffee Club, The Toy Shop, The Community Advertiser, Helensburgh Heroes, Dino’s Radio Cafe, Helensburgh Flowers and the Hack Boutique.

We would also like to thank everyone who attended during the day and helped make the event such a success.

Community skateparks have been proven to improve social cohesion, reduce anti-social behaviour, provide a safe environment for wheeled sports, reduce damage to private and public property caused by street riding, provide a free, healthy workout, provide physical activity for kids not interested in traditional team sports, and have a positive economic impact.

We wanted to have an open day to show the people of Helensburgh that far from being disbanded, the wheeled sports scene in our area is vibrant and thriving and there is huge demand for a new concrete skatepark.

We feel very strongly that the skatepark provides a safe environment where young people can socialise, challenge themselves to learn new skills, build confidence and get healthy outdoor free exercise.

Jackie Hood, HBSk8park Project

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I’ve seen the recent advertising campaign on television for the National Trust for Scotland (NTS). They state that one of their objectives is to protect Scotland’s heritage.

I live in Helensburgh and my wife and I are frequent visitors to Geilston Gardens in nearby Cardross. The Hendry family had bought the estate in 1922. Miss Elizabeth Hendry and her lifetime friend, Miss Margaret Bell, started to lay out the gardens in 1951 and made it their life’s work.

They have created a tranquil oasis that is always a joy to visit. There is something very special and difficult to define in the gardens.

This wonderful property was bequeathed, in good faith, by Miss Hendry to the NTS in 1991. She wanted to ensure that her gardens and home should survive her and that the public would have the opportunity to enjoy them.

To enable this, Miss Hendry left a bequest in excess of £1 million to support the upkeep of the gardens and the house.

If this money had been invested in 1991, I would assume that the trust fund should have at least doubled and perhaps even trebled since then.

In late 2017, the NTS announced that it planned to close the gardens due to the high cost of maintenance.

This came as a huge shock to the local population and as a result of this an organization called the Friends of Geilston Gardens was established.

They commenced a dialogue with the NTS, with a view to assuring the survival of this historic and remarkable property.

There is now a rumour circulating locally that the NTS management are having private discussions with property developers to build a housing estate on the fields fronting the main road and also in the kitchen gardens.

I am sure that the estate would be very valuable as housing land, as would most of the other properties owned in trust by the NTS.

However their remit is not to redevelop property for profit, it is to preserve the existing property that they have been given in trust.

If this rumour is true, I would like the NTS to explain how they consider that they are morally entitled to ignore the intent of the last owner’s bequest, what the present value of Miss Hendry’s bequest is, and why it is not being used as intended to provide financial support for the gardens.

I’d also like them to explain how this re-development aligns with their stated objective to protect Scotland’s heritage.

Colin Finnie, Victoria Road, Helensburgh

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Helensburgh certainly needs better leisure facilities for its growing population, in particular, a strategic replacement of the current swimming pool.

Indeed, the current renewal strategy has noble parentage, has been long in gestation and yes, has been eagerly awaited.

However, when the ‘baby’ is finally unveiled, it appears neither bonny nor bouncing, nor – shock – even where it was agreed to be.

Despite a fulsome public ‘consultation’, recording disapproval in detail and in totality, it somehow remains adored by our area committee’s elected councillors (parents are often like that) who unanimously passed it towards a quick in-house planning approval.

Suddenly that leisurely pace has been replaced by a sprint. Why? What if the birth was premature, or needed some further thought or more technical assistance? Would an additional few months’ delay really matter in something that has already been more than 120 months in gestation?

Specifically, far more weight given to the valuable public feedback? When dealing with polarised opinion, there is a simple recipe for an attentive Council to follow- officers and elected councillors alike. Recognise the needs and wishes of your tax-paying residents, encourage cooperation, spend their money wisely, and gain respect for your wisdom and responsiveness.

For the opposite also holds true. This really is a Legacy Project, and it should be a positive legacy.

Norman McNally, Helensburgh (via email)

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To arrive home safely in Helensburgh these days, you have to follow the signs for ‘Baile Eilidh’.

The Scottish Government has decreed that Argyll and Bute Council spend taxpayers’ money on bilingual road and railway signs. This is political symbolism of the worst sort.

‘Baile Eilidh’ is the official translation into Gaelic of Helensburgh. Our bilingual signs are twice as large as a result and cost twice as much.

Meanwhile, the number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland is declining.

We need to protect all aspects of our heritage. The correct approach in this instance is to put the money into education. Gaelic needs to be between the ears and on the lips, not a confusing symbol on a road sign.

Only 1.1 per cent of Scots speak Gaelic. Polish is the unofficial second language of Scotland, in terms of numbers of speakers, followed by Urdu, Punjabi and Arabic.

The SNP Government needs to get a grip and take their role seriously. Political stunts like the recent mass walk-out of SNP MPs at Westminster are the politics of distraction.

The problems of Scotland are real and need the full attention of the government in Holyrood. Our taxpayer money should be used to address the real issues we face.

John Black, Woodhollow House, Helensburgh

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I’ve always been grateful for my state pension, although it doesn’t always stretch as far as I need it to. So imagine my amazement when I visited relatives in Ireland on a rare holiday.

On comparing pensions with friends my age, I discovered they receive around £4,000 per year more than we do!

They enjoy regular holidays, meals out and other luxuries that are simply out of my price range on a UK pension.

What also shocked me was that they told me the UK pension is the worst in Europe.

I found this hard to believe, so I looked it up on my son’s computer. I found out the UK pension is among the worst not just in Europe, but in the whole of the developed world.

At least I’ve proved that even at my ripe old age, I’m not too old to learn.

Aileen O’Brien, Balloch

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In response to Mr John Eoin Douglas’s letter (Advertiser Comment, June 21), I was appalled at the wanton disrespect shown by him to the Scottish Parliament, reconvened in 1999 in line with the democratic wishes of the Scottish people.

His disrespect extended also to the SNP MPs who the voters of Scotland elected to the Westminster Parliament, under our world-respected democratic system, to sit with the other opposition parties to hold the present government to account in the policies they wish to pursue.

While I respect the Westminster Parliament and the freedom and democracy it stands for, there has been “narrow nationalism” there too.

It’s that which has lead to the Brexit situation, with the problems which are beginning to become apparent for many industries such as farming, fishing, manufacturing etc.

The interests of Scotland and the UK as a whole are going to be seriously affected as a result of our exit and it remains to be seen whether ‘Mother knows best’ when the outcome of the Brexit negotiations becomes clear.

I cannot comment on the accommodation situation in Edinburgh, and as a revolting Scot, it is probably better to “haud my tongue” at Mr Douglas’s last remark.

Charles Barbour, Bonar Law Avenue, Helensburgh

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While forced to watch the BBC news in a dentist’s waiting room last week, I noted that the Conservatives are claiming there will be a “Brexit dividend” for the English NHS.

Hours later, Theresa May announced that we will all be charged more taxes to pay for this.

How is it a Brexit dividend if we are all paying extra for it? Perhaps if the Conservatives hadn’t been quietly privatising parts of the English NHS since 2012, it wouldn’t be in such a poor state compared to the Scottish NHS, which regularly outperforms it.

Why should the Scots help pay to repair the English NHS, when we never voted to wreck it in the first place?

Robert Inger

Via email

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I AM writing to tell you and your readers about a new campaign from Independent Age, the older people’s charity, called ‘We need to talk about death’.

Many people struggle to talk about death and final wishes, and we think it would be helpful if everyone could be more open and share their final wishes earlier, so their later years can be filled with positivity, rather than awkward conversations.

Death is an incredibly emotive topic and unsurprisingly, people don’t always know how to broach the subject.

The older you get, the more aware you become of death and, according to our recent research, older people do want to talk about death, but their adult children often feel uncomfortable about it.

We believe it’s really important for families to start breaking the taboo, so they can feel prepared for the eventualities of life, and Scotland residents are really important in enabling this conversation.

As a nation, we need to start embracing these conversations and promote a positive change in how we perceive and talk about this subject.

We don’t expect this to change overnight, but it’s time to take action and be brave and talk about death, and we want Scotland residents to join us.

You can find out more about Independent Age’s ‘We need to talk about death’ campaign, watch our new film, and get some tips on how to start the conversation by visiting, or by searching #TalkAboutDeath on Twitter.

If you would like to arrange to speak to someone about planning for the end of life, or about the practical side of coping with a bereavement, you can call our free helpline on 0800 319 6789.

Janet Morrison

Chief executive, Independent Age