CHRISTMAS is back on track in Helensburgh after the tree which is the centrepiece of the town’s display in Colquhoun Square was badly damaged by high winds.

Generous supporters rallied round with offers of money and labour after bad weather last Wednesday left the tree “trashed”.

An online appeal was launched on Friday in the hope of raising enough cash and volunteer help to have repairs carried out and a tree back in place in time for the Winter Festival at the weekend.

Nicky Watt, a trustee of the Helensburgh Festive Lighting Charitable Trust, said in her appeal that the wind had “resulted in the tree being broken, about six feet from the top, the star has been trashed, and the string lights have been damaged”.

And though there wasn’t quite enough time to meet that goal, after a gruelling 10-hour shift by volunteers on Tuesday the tree was repaired and re-lit with 34 reels of lights.

Four-year-old Helensburgh resident Lucas Harvey was invited along to turn on the tree lights – and headed straight from nursery to throw the switch.

The Helensburgh Festive Lighting Charitable Trust, which puts together the town’s festive lights display and is responsible for decorating the tree, said in a statement: “A special mention must go to Connor Press, lead technician, who spent most of his day off from work in a cherry picker at the top of the tree fixing the lights.

“The Trust has been delighted with the level of support they received from the community, from funds to pay for the hire of the equipment to access the tree and some donations in kind, such as from James Daly Builders, who erected a support scaffold within the tree – and of course the uplifting messages of goodwill and support.

“We were rather low last Thursday when we saw the damage, but people have helped to make the reinstatement possible. Thank you all so much.”

Offers of financial and volunteer help flooded in after online pleas for help through the Advertiser’s website and social media.

A JustGiving page had attracted donations of £1,150 by Wednesday morning, while the Helensburgh and District Round Table contributed £750 to the cost of repairing the tree.

Vivien Dance from the Trust added: “People did offer us trees, and we spoke to them all, but we could see by the weekend that it was capable of being repaired.

“The internal scaffold, and a splint, was the quickest and most cost-effective way to repair the damage.”