A HELENSBURGH resident has been given a lifetime achievement award for volunteering - at the remarkable age of 95.

Jean Holland took the honour at an awards ceremony, organised by the Argyll and Bute TSI, in the parish church halls on Friday - just two days after her birthday.

And this week Jean, who is the oldest of the 16-strong volunteer team who run The Tower Digital Arts Centre in Helensburgh, told the Advertiser she was delighted to receive the award.

She added: “Volunteering to make The Tower work has been a pleasure and it’s great helping on a project with young people that has made such a difference to Helensburgh.

“Older and younger folk can’t get to Glasgow to see the pictures and live events, so having it on our doorstep has transformed the lives of lots of people in the town. It’s a great thing."

The Tower, based in a converted church, runs live music and theatre events as well as live broadcasts of national opera, ballet and other arts events, as well as providing an array of learning and digital opportunities to residents of Helensburgh, Lomond and Dunbartonshire.

The centre has had more 40,000 visitors in the past 12 months and is now the most visited attraction in the town.

And after almost 50 years, it revived the screening of the latest cinema releases in the town.

Jean, who lives in Waverley Court, organises tickets and promotes forthcoming events to other seniors in the community who have been flocking to the new arts venue, a charity managed by volunteers.

Brian Keating, found of The Tower - and also a volunteer - said: “We are delighted that Jean has received this recognition.

“There are a lot of amazing charities in Argyll and Bute with thousands of dedicated and hardworking volunteers who all deserve awards, but Jean is so special, she has been amazing at inviting older patrons, who remember a time before TV when cinema was the town’s main entertainment.

“She single handedly helps combat loneliness and has drawn hundreds of people to our silver screen cinema events every week.”

Jean first came to Helensburgh 42 years ago and retired from her job with British Telecom in Glasgow Street in 1983.

She told the Advertiser volunteering was her “second nature”, and she has been closely involved with organisation such as Grey Matters, the Stroke Club and the Lunch Club. She has been honoured twice before for her work in the community.

The nonogenarian agrees that keeping busy helps her maintain a sharp mind.

However, Jean admitted she was glad to get some rest after the flurry of surprise birthday celebrations and the thrill of receiving the award.

Jean wasn't the only Helensburgh volunteer celebrating at Friday's awards: other prizes were presented to Alan Stuart, Fiona Donald, the Gareloch RDA, Kirsten Barrett, Marjory Barrington and the Rhu and Shandon Gala Day.

More on the other award winners in the next print edition of the Advertiser – on sale from Thursday, September 20.