THE Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre welcomed a special guest recently when social media sensation Wayne Barrow turned up to host sign language classes.

The radio and television presenter held a series of workshops over the weekend of January 26 and 27, organised by local resident Amy Powell, aimed at introducing people to British Sign Language (BSL) and Signed Supported English (SSE).

Amy, who also helped bring Wayne to the town last year for beginner lessons, hopes to turn the initial 'ripple of interest' into a mainstream 'wave of inclusion'.

She said: "The weekend last year was a first of its kind for Helensburgh and Argyll and Bute, there's nothing else like that here.

"It was a massive success, which was down to lots of planning - and some winging it too if I'm completely honest. It was also down to the most fabulous, entertaining, fun, respectful delivery of the sessions led by the main man himself - Wayne Barrow, alongside his assistant Jenni.

"Everyone left on such a high with a huge sense of pride in their achievements over the weekend, it all went over and above my wildest hopes.

"This year we had people returning to take part again and lots of new faces, including people from as far away as West Lothian, Paisley and Edinburgh which was amazing."

One of the participants, Jacqui Caldwell, told the Advertiser: "I was buzzing afterwards - it was an amazing day, and really interesting.

"It was great to learn something new, and I was quite surprised at how easily I picked it up.

"I don't have any close friends or family who are deaf but the idea of learning a new skill was one that really interested me.

"Wayne Barrow was a fantastic teacher and Amy did a great job of organising it."

Amy continued: "Over the weekend we had nearly 110 attendees and we were lucky enough to be able to invite a group of nine children from Cardross Primary and 10 from John Logie Baird Primary to perform a different signed song in front of the large audience. We also had a teachers only session.

"So much has come out of these events.

"The impact is just overwhelming, after all I'm just a self-employed, single mother of two with a passion for sign and its benefits regarding inclusion and communication, so to see all this going on is beyond my wildest dreams.

"We would like to thank everyone for your past, present and future support, here's to our nest event later on in the year."