THE community volunteers fighting for the future of Geilston Garden in Cardross will hold their annual meeting later this month.

The AGM of the Friends of Geilston takes place at Cardross Golf Club on Tuesday, January 28 at 7.30pm.

The meeting comes at the end of a busy 12 months which has seen a significant increase in the number of special events organised at the garden.

The garden’s owner, the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), announced in November that Geilston would remain open in 2020 while it takes time to consider options for the garden’s longer term future – in particular ‘enabling development’ to part-fund the restoration of Geilston House, a move which it’s hoped will generate enough income to maintain the gardens for years to come.

READ MORE: Geilston Garden reprieve welcomed – but Friends remain concerned for the future

Allison Hillis, the Friends’ chairperson, said: "Our working group has continued to work in collaboration with the NTS to secure the Gardens’ future and the committee have organised a range of very enjoyable and successful events to increase visitor numbers and introduce new visitors to the Gardens.

"They have not yet achieved their ultimate goal of having the NTS Board of Trustees rescind the decision they made in 2016 to close Geilston Garden, but the gardens will remain open whilst the NTS explore the potential for enabling development to part-fund restoration of Geilston House to generate sufficient income to maintain the gardens.

“Whilst there is a place for a degree of cautious optimism, the Friends are very aware of the importance of ongoing support from the local community and the influence this has on NTS decision-makers.

READ MORE: Friends lobby Trust's AGM in bid to secure Geilston Garden's future

"We are very grateful to have that support. Existing Friends of Geilston and all interested in the future of Geilston Gardens are cordially invited along to hear about the efforts and successes of the past year and our hopes and plans for the future."

Membership forms for those interested in becoming a Friend of Geilston will be available at next week's event.

The meeting will also hear from the new NTS general manager for the Ayrshire and West area, Ian McLelland, and operations manager Louise Baker, and from Stewart Noble of the Helensburgh Heritage Trust.

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