THIS week's crop of Advertiser readers' letters includes your views on the Duchess Wood's closure on safety grounds, political insults, the Bicentenary Pipe Band Championships in Helensburgh and much more.

To have your say on any local issue, just email your views to or get in touch via the Send Us Your News section of this website.

Please keep your views as brief and to-the-point as you can, and remember to supply us with your name and address.

We also require a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.

Happy writing!

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In last week’s Advertiser Comment section, local councillor Gary Mulvaney referred to Derek Mackay MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work, as 'Dalek Mackay'.

I get it, I really do. 'Derek' to 'Dalek'. Wow, great state-of-the-art wordplay, Gary.

Such terms may be 'great bantz' in a school playground, but in the Advertiser's comment columns they perhaps offer more insight into the column writer’s animus than political commentary on Derek Mackay's sofa – or maybe his ‘money tree’.

Norman McNally, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – June 20, 2019

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As a regular user of Duchess Woods for many years, Their sudden closure by Argyll and Bute Council would seem a ridiculous over reaction – and one which is being ignored by most sensible people.

I understand that an independent survey commissioned by Argyll and Bute, prior to returning responsibility for managing the wood to Luss Estates next year, has highlighted some "unsafe trees".

At any time there will be quite a large percentage of dead trees in an established wood. Surely Argyll and Bute officials could fence off the relevant trees if they are concerned. But obviously fear of litigation far outweighs giving the public the chance to enjoy their local nature reserve.

I will be walking the woods as usual.

Although I am a member of the Friends of Duchess Wood committee, I am writing this letter in a personal capacity as a long-standing user of the Duchess Wood, and my views may not necessarily reflect those of the Friends or its other committee members.

Morag Young, via email

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser readers' letters – June 13, 2019

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The most successful Bicentenary Pipe Band Championships to date was held at East King Street Park in Helensburgh on Sunday, with almost 1,000 pipers, drummers and highland dancers competing in perfect weather conditions.

I would like to thank all sponsors, volunteers, competitors, traders and the public for their support with special thanks to the National Lottery, Tesco, he Co-op, Waitrose, Helensburgh Clan Colquhoun Pipe Band, Roddy at Argyll and Bute Council, committee members from the Rosneath Highland Gathering and the Helensburgh and Lomond Highland Games who assisted on the day, and of course our own very hard working committee.

Colina Helen Campbell (chairperson and piping convener, Bicentenary Pipe Band Championships)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser readers' letters – June 6, 2019

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As the UK’s largest cat charity, Cats Protection has been marking National Microchipping Month this June by renewing our calls for compulsory microchipping of owned cats.

Cats and dogs are both much-loved pets by owners across the UK. Yet currently, microchipping is only compulsory for dogs, and we believe this should also apply to cats, so they have the same level of protection.

Microchipping is a safe, permanent and cost-effective method of identification which ensures cats can be reunited with their owner should they go missing and that lost cats are not mistaken as strays by rehoming charities.

It also ensures owners can be notified if their cat has been injured or killed in a road accident. Cats Protection encourages local councils to scan any cats they collect that have died in road accidents for a microchip so their owners can be informed.

Cats Protection will continue campaigning on this important issue, and readers can keep updated by visiting:

Jacqui Cuff (Head of Advocacy and Government Relations, Cats Protection)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser readers' letters – May 30, 2019

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Every year, more than 3,000 men in Scotland are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Sadly, almost 1,000 men die from the disease every year. In some cases, their deaths could have been prevented had they received earlier diagnosis and treatment.

In an effort to raise awareness about prostate cancer, and encourage more men to talk openly about the disease, Prostate Cancer UK is launching a new partnership with Bowls Scotland.

Over the yearlong partnership, prostate cancer information and leaflets will be available within Bowling clubs, awareness posters will be displayed on washroom doors, and clubs will receive the offer of training on key prostate cancer messages to bring up in conversation with their members.

Clubs and members will have the opportunity to buy the charity’s ‘Man of Men’ pin badge for a suggested donation of £2 each.

The charity will also be at the 2019 Bowls Scotland National Championships in July to provide health information, access to services and support to bowlers who may have concerns about prostate cancer; a disease that kills one man every 45 minutes – the same time it takes to play a typical 15-end game of bowls.

Prostate Cancer UK’s ambition is to stop men dying from prostate cancer, and to achieve this it is crucial to reach as many men as possible to help raise awareness of their risk.

Partnering with Bowls Scotland provides an opportunity to get these important health messages out to 61,000 members across 860 bowling clubs in Scotland whilst also raising vital funds, and has the potential to save lives across the country.

Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can also contact Prostate Cancer UK’s Specialist Nurses in confidence on 0800 074 8383, or visit

Bronywn O’Riordan (Fundraising Manager, Prostate Cancer UK)

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Scotland is a nation in the midst of an obesity epidemic.

Carrying too much weight is the single biggest preventable risk factor for cancer after smoking and is associated with a wide range of illnesses and premature death.

Shockingly, 65 per cent of adults and almost a third of Scotland’s children are overweight. Scots are the heaviest in the UK and among the most overweight in Europe.

The Scottish Government must take action and commit to legislation in this autumn’s Programme for Government to regulate multi-buy type price promotions of food and drink high in fat, sugar and salt.

Every day in Scotland an overwhelming 110 tonnes of sugar are purchased on promoted offers such as 3-for-2 chocolate bars or buy-one-get-one-free mega bags of crisps which are of no nutritional value.

Research shows that shoppers who purchase more on promotion are more likely to be overweight or obese. We also know that two-thirds of Scots support restrictions on multi-buy promotions. The case is compelling.

Now’s the time to act and turn the tide on obesity. The health of our nation depends upon it.

Professor Linda Bauld, Chair in Behavioural Research for Cancer Prevention at Cancer Research UK

Professor Steve Turner, Scottish Officer of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Aberdeen

Dr Tom Bird, Honorary Consultant Hepatologist, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh; Intermediate Wellcome Trust Fellow, University of Edinburgh; Senior Clinical Lecturer, University of Glasgow

Elma Murray OBE, Chair of the Scottish Obesity Alliance

Lorraine Tulloch, Programme Lead, Obesity Action Scotland

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Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has launched an online questionnaire to allow members of the public, community groups, elected representatives and other interested parties to pass comment on how the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) is fulfilling its core role.

The information received by HMICS via this questionnaire will be used to inform its statutory inspection of the SPA which is currently underway.

We are keen to understand how the SPA is perceived by the general public, groups and organisations who have an interest in its role. We are also keen to hear from officers and staff, present and past, and offer them an opportunity to highlight areas which may be relevant to our review.

To help people provide us with relevant information, our questionnaire is now live and comments can be submitted until midnight on Friday, July 19.

It contains a number of questions which we hope will assist people in telling us about their views and experiences of the SPA and there is also provision for them to make a general comment. The information which we receive this way will help highlight any potential strengths and weaknesses within SPA.

All responses will be treated in confidence, only for the purposes of this inspection, and will not be shared with any other organisation.

The full HMICS report will be published in September 2019.

Gill Emery QPM (Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary)