YOUR letters to the Advertiser this week include thoughts on Flamingo Land, Helensburgh Toffee, the Conservatives and Boris Johnson, and much more.

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

Remember to include your name and address, and please try to keep your contributions as brief and to-the-point as you can.

We also need a daytime contact telephone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.

Happy writing!

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Several years ago I was cycling in Yorkshire and saw on my map ‘Flamingo Park Farm’ and thought: “That sounds nice.”

I cycled towards it and as I came to the top of the hill there appeared a huge theme park - noisy, brash, mobbed. Needless to say I kept going.

The key word in your coverage of the Lomond Banks planning application is “developer”, which is a euphemism for money-making land destruction.

The thinking behind Flamingo Land belongs to the 1970s - let’s leave it there.

B. McKenna, Overtoun Avenue, Dumbarton

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – July 25, 2019

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HOW much longer will Boris Johnson tolerate the leader of the Conservative branch in Scotland trying to undermine his Brexit strategy?

As in the EU referendum, Scottish Conservatives in the leadership election knew precisely what they were voting for – Brexit on October 31, deal or no deal. To suggest otherwise is insulting, and to oppose the mandate given could be viewed as undemocratic.

It is unclear if Ruth Davidson’s views command the support of a majority of Scottish Conservatives, but many are appalled by the lack of support for a new Prime Minister elected with a huge majority.

There are two logical options to resolve the current strife: a new Scottish leader, or an independent Scottish Conservative Party.

Regardless of personality, an independent Scottish Conservative Party now seems inevitable after Brexit.

Scotland receives billions of pounds from the UK under devolution, so the cunning plan of a few million pounds extra to “strengthen the Union” is not going to sway voters.

The only credible alternative to the SNP’s ‘independence in the European Union’ is Scottish Conservative ‘independence in the United Kingdom’, by that or any other name.

James Robb, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – July 18, 2019

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I WAS searching online for a recipe for fudge recently, and came across an article you published in the Advertiser in May 2017 on the ‘original recipe’ for Helensburgh Toffee.

I recognised the recipe as one we used to use when we were kids at our grandmother’s house in Carlisle in the 1960s.

Her recipe came from a recipe from the Glasgow Cookery Book, so I thought it might be of interest to your readers.

The Glasgow Cookery Book’s recipe is as follows.

Ingredients: 2lb granulated sugar; ¼lb fresh butter; one large tin condensed milk; one teacupful milk or cream or water; ¼ bottle vanilla essence.

Method: Melt butter with water in pan. Add sugar. When dissolved, boil for five minutes, stirring all the time. Then add condensed milk.

Boil to a soft ball at 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat, allow to settle, and add essence.

Beat with a wooden spoon till it begins to grain.

Quickly pour into a greased tin. When quite set, mark into squares or fingers.

I’m off to make my fudge now!

Caroline Bignell, via email

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – July 11, 2019

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In 2020, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry plan to progress to case study hearings in relation to our investigations into abuse in current and former boarding schools.

We are interested in hearing from anyone about their experiences in boarding schools, particularly people who may have more recent experiences of having attended one of the schools currently under wider investigation from the 1980s up to December 2014.

The establishments which will be investigated are Fettes College, Edinburgh; Gordonstoun School, near Elgin; Keil School, Dumbarton; Loretto School, Edinburgh; Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh; Morrison’s Academy, Crieff (at the time it was a boarding school); and Queen Victoria School, Dunblane.

I would encourage anyone who has evidence to offer in relation to any of the investigations listed on our website to get in touch. We want to hear from you.

I know that some people have already made a report to the police or to other agencies/ persons and may have been involved in other investigations. That does not matter – please also talk to us.

The Inquiry’s witness support team can be phoned on 0800 0929 300, or emailed at

Individuals can also write to the Inquiry by post at SCAI, PO Box 24085, Edinburgh EH7 9EA.

Lady Smith (Chair, Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – July 4, 2019

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AS an organisation that has long campaigned for both LGB and trans equality, it is striking to us how some of the current discussion around trans people’s rights resembles the arguments against gay equality we faced 20 and more years ago.

For example, the focus on genitals, and in particular that many trans women have male genitals. Similarly, opponents of gay equality in the last century seemed obsessed with what gay people, and gay men in particular, do with their genitals.

Yes, many trans people do not undergo genital surgery – it is major surgery carrying very substantial risks. For that reason, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that countries must legally recognise the lived gender of trans people without requiring them to undergo such surgery, and UK law has done that since 2004.

The fact is that trans men and trans women have always lived and interacted in society as men and women, and most people they interact with have no idea of, or interest in, the shape of their genitals.

Then there is the suggestion that trans people’s rights should be judged on the basis that “some may have offended against women”.

Any significant subset of society will include a small minority who behave criminally. To judge a whole community by its worst-behaved members is the epitome of prejudice.

Such arguments have been common of course, deployed against gay people and other minorities. “Some men abuse young men, so we can’t risk giving gay men an equal age of consent” was an argument the Equality Network had to resist 20 years ago.

We welcome discussion about how the reforms of gender recognition law will interact with equality law, including how that law applies to providers of intimate services.

Just as happened with the earlier debates on LGB equality, we are sure that that discussion focused on facts and evidence will lead to reasoned changes to the law to deliver trans equality.

Tim Hopkins (Director, Equality Network)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – June 27, 2019

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With more than 124,000 stroke survivors living in Scotland, you are likely to have come across somebody affected by stroke in the community.

As a leading cause of disability, you will be aware of the devastating effects it can have – affecting people’s ability to walk, to communicate and deal with their emotions.

Having a stroke can also result in financial challenges, such as for those unable to return to work.

That is why the Stroke Association in Scotland offer Life After Stroke Grants to people who need financial assistance.

These offer a one off payment of up to £300 to fund vital home or personal equipment such as mobility aids, kitchen appliances, specialist aids, or household furniture. They can also be used to help people become active in their community.

As a charity wanting to support as many stroke survivors as we can, we are encouraging you to apply for a grant.

To find out more about applying for a grant, call our helpline on 0303 3033 100, visit or email

Angela Macleod, Stroke Association Scotland

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – June 20, 2019

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Many of your readers will have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately we have found that many people with diabetes feel they do not have enough information to help them with their diabetes.

With this in mind, the InDependent Diabetes Trust (IDDT) offers FREE booklets including, ‘Understanding Your Diabetes’ and ‘Type 2 Diabetes – Management and Medication’. They provide information in non-medical language to help people understand their treatment, improve their health and to make life easier.

One of the important aspects of the treatment of diabetes is eating the appropriate diet. We know that it can be difficult to curb the desire for sweet things but these foods raise blood sugar levels, something that needs to be avoided for people with diabetes.

So we also have a free booklet, ‘Diabetes – Everyday Eating’, which contains 28 days of menus of everyday, affordable meals, and much more.

All our booklets are free and we are happy to send copies of ‘Understanding Your Diabetes’, ‘Type 2 Diabetes – Management and Medication’ and/or ‘Diabetes – Everyday Eating’.They can contact IDDT by calling 01604 622837 or e-mailing

Jenny Hirst (Co-chair, InDependent Diabetes Trust)