OUR latest crop of letters to the Advertiser includes your views on banking facilities in the town, a Christmas Day thank you, New Year's resolutions for our politicians, and reasons to be cheerful in the first days of 2020.

To have your say on any topic of local interest, all you have to do is email your thoughts to editorial@helensburghadvertiser.co.uk or get in touch with us via the Send Us Your News section of this website.

Please try and keep your contributions as brief and to-the-point as you can, and to provide 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We also require a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.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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Are they planning to close the Helensburgh branch of The Royal Bank of Scotland?

If enough customers can be persuaded to do all of their banking on line it will be enough of a reason to close the branch through lack of use.

I have been a customer there for a good number of years and things are changing. Now when you walk in and join the queue a member of staff comes along and tries to get you to use the machine on the wall rather than deal with the tellers.

They insist that cheques must be fed into one machine and coins are fed into another; of course they will also dispense limited amounts of cash.

There are now often longer queues at the machines than there are for the tellers.

Are we likely to get a banking arcade with a security guard and a few machines to replace tellers, managers and other staff in branches?

When you think of it, one banking arcade in each centre of population that serves all banks would be a great wheeze to increase profits by cutting costs. It would just be tough for those living outside town centres.

Dougie Blackwood, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: December 19, 2019

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I JUST wanted to use the Advertiser’s pages to say thanks to the three people who looked after me when I came off my mountain bike on Christmas Day on the track down to the back of the Academy, just above Camis Eskan.

I was too dazed to even think about asking their names, but they phoned for an ambulance (which, thankfully, wasn’t needed in the end), kept me warm and got me back on my bike again.

Mike Hyde, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters: December 12, 2019

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I HOPE and trust that the staff of the Advertiser enjoyed a good Christmas with fine presents. Those in the local media certainly deserve them.

Unlike many of your colleagues in national broadcasting and media, locally based journalists have displayed fairness, respect and even-handedness to communities.

Over recent Christmases, my wife decided that I needed training to become a more interesting person.

Her first present was to send me on a day’s wine tasting course. An excellent choice – of which I remember little, having consumed 15 wine samples over an extended lunch!

Another Christmas, I attended a weekend course on stained glass. Excellent and enjoyable training, even although I returned with plasters on each finger.

There is a real problem for people leading organisations to be given or even willing to undergo training.

When you’re top of the pinnacle it’s assumed you know it all. From the leader’s point of view any hint or indication that she/he could benefit from tutoring may be seen as a weakness.

Not having depth of knowledge in leadership can be very costly to an organisation or even country. Mistakes in defence issues; health provision; pension policy; welfare benefits have and are costing lives.

I am hoping presents received at Christmas will continue into New Year resolutions.

It would be good if generous highly knowledgeable specialists, trainers, and coaches were to offer their services at no cost.

And that Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, and her senior ministers and secretaries of state will drop their ‘know it all’ approach and undergo appropriate and significant training.

Hopefully that would save us, the tax payers, having to spend unnecessary millions of pounds, on ferries, unopened new hospitals, and IT systems that don’t work.

Finlay Craig, Cove

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: December 5, 2019

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For many of us 2019 will be viewed more than a little negatively, driven by a combination of Brexit, terrorism, climate change and increasing global instability.

However, while it may not have made the front pages, there is much for us to rejoice in and be thankful for.

For example, children born today have the best chance of growing up healthy, safe and educated. There are now 4.4 million fewer child deaths per year than in 2000, according to charity Save The Children’s Global Childhood Report 2019.

In addition, there are now 115 million fewer children out of school than at the turn of the century, and 94 million fewer child labourers.

Figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) also reveal that child-killing diseases have significantly declined since 2000. Measles, for example, declined 86 per cent and there was also an 82 per cent decrease in the incidence of tetanus.

According to the WHO’s latest World Malaria Report, cases of the disease declined by 3m between 2017 and 2018.

Governments around the world pledged to plant millions of trees in 2019, in efforts to capture carbon from the atmosphere.

In Ethiopia, an estimated 350 million were planted on one day in July. Elsewhere, Ireland’s government announced plans in August to plant 22m trees each year until 2040, while New Zealand has pledged to plant 1bn by 2028.

According to United Nations’ figures for 2019, the number of HIV and AIDS-related deaths worldwide has decreased by a third since 2010.

A number of endangered species are also witnessing a recovery. For example, the number of mountain gorillas, increased in east Africa. Elsewhere, India’s wild tiger population grew 30 per cent, to number almost 3,000, and humpback whales in southwest Atlantic now number some 25,000.

So, while we may think things are getting worse, there is so much for us to be thankful for and rejoice in.

Alex Orr, Marchmont Road, Edinburgh

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READ MORE: Catch up on all the latest news from around Helensburgh and Lomond here