THE coronavirus pandemic, and the way people are responding to it, unsurprisingly dominates the latest crop of readers' letters to the Advertiser.

Whether you want to single out someone for the exceptional way they're dealing with the crisis, or whether you want to comment on the way local, national or even global authorities are handling the situation, or whether you have views on a subject that has nothing to do with Covid-19, we want to hear from you.

To see your views included in next week's letters page, just email them to 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We also require a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.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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THERE has been a lot of debate and many heated exchanges on social media in the last couple of weeks about the lockdown rules and regulations, and what is essential and what is not.

In the midst of all of these, it’s worth us all stepping back and remembering the utter devastation for some families who cannot even visit or sit with their loved ones as they die in hospitals around the country.

Can you imagine the loneliest of deaths for those unfortunate victims and the loneliness and devastation for the families not able to hold their hands and say goodbye?

Just stop reading for a second and think about this. Do you have a child or grandchild? Imagine you are told you cannot visit them or cannot hold their hand as they die. It’s a terrifying thought for any parent to have to go through that.

Our local minister – a friend – was in contact with me last week and we exchanged some thoughts. She pointed out that she is having to do bereavement visits and pastoral duties by phone, listening to people break down and pour their hearts out, but unable to offer physical face-to-face comfort and support.

Let’s also spare a thought for those who have daughters who are about to give birth and cannot visit, and who most likely will not get to see their new grandchild for many months to come.

My own mum lives 200-miles away and is in the high-risk category and is widowed, 80 years old, and scared. My mum-in-law is in her late 70s, lives almost 70 miles away, and is also in the ‘high risk’ category. Families are being torn apart, and kept apart. We haven’t seen them for weeks, and most likely it will be months.

This is going on up and down the country for many millions of families.

So – what do we do?

Well, let’s all make an extra effort to reach out by phone or email, Facetime, Skype or whatever – or even real letters!

If you live next to, or know, someone suffering grief, who recently lost a relative, or even lost them a few years ago – reach out.

If you know the anniversary of the date they lost a loved one, make a point of reaching out to them around that time.

There was a long thread on one local Facebook group recently about people going to the cemetery to visit the graves of loved ones. Well, these people need our support too.

Instead of berating them or criticising them, let’s reach out to them, if we know them, and offer support and a friendly ‘ear’.

They may be alone and vulnerable – visiting the grave of their husband or wife whom they spent a lifetime with. What they don’t need is to made to feel like a criminal. What they need is compassion, and support, and community.

The rules are the rules – 100 per cent – but let’s not just criticise people just because we can. Let’s be as bold about helping our neighbours and community as we are about criticising them.

One thing that has to happen after all of this is a renewed and reinvigorated sense of community and caring for our neighbours. We are all doing our bit – but we can all do more.

Food banks are crying out for supplies. Donate the tins you bought three weeks ago, when you thought the world was ending and you stocked up on stuff you’d normally never eat – and now realise you’ll never eat before the sell by date. There are donation points at Helensburgh’s supermarkets, at the Co-op in Rosneath, and at Cove Burgh Hall.

We will owe a huge debt of gratitude to the brave and selfless staff (and the 750,000 volunteers) of the NHS – the incredible efforts of the armed forces who are building hospitals in nine days.

My own daughter, who lives in Newcastle, has contracted the virus. She is an NHS worker and has put herself at risk to help the effort to beat this virus. She is young and fighting fit and will hopefully be fine – but many others are not so lucky.

To all the essential staff and delivery drivers and shop workers – and all those keeping us supplied and healthy – thank you all.

Let’s make sure we thank people every day when we interact with them – let’s show some human kindness and understanding and real appreciation.

But the biggest debt of gratitude we should, hopefully) be paying at the end of this should be to ourselves as human beings and neighbours.

If we allow ourselves to slip back into our selfish, greedy, money-driven ways after this crisis, then frankly we deserve what we might get again some time in the future.

I’m not religious, but I do hear the words “you only reap what you sow”.

Look after yourselves – follow the rules – and stay safe.

Mark Irvine, Kilcreggan

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: April 9, 2020

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Wouldn’t it be great if the media did not focus so much on the minuscule number of people who seem to break the rules and guidelines during the ‘lockdown’.

I’m not suggesting that the misconduct of those ‘who should know better’ such as politicians and health specialists should be ignored. My fear is that over exposure of unacceptable conduct by the limited few may in effect result in reduced services and ignoring obligations.

For example, a couple of weeks ago I attended a major Scottish hospital and was surprised that there were no hand swipes at the entrance, or out patients, or even at departure. When I mentioned this to a friend, she said: “Problem is, people are stealing the swipes.”

Statutory bodies seem to be seizing every opportunity to close car parks, gardens, walks and play areas. Their excuse? ‘Stay at home.

But aren’t we told that to maintain our health we need to get exercise, fresh air and areas in which to de-stress with our children?

If supermarkets can effectively organise parking areas, why can’t the statutory sector?

Swearing at those in authority is unacceptable, unwise and may even lead to court. I am not advocating swearing. However, recently I read that swearing in certain circumstances can help relieve pain and tension.

Growing up in industrial Lanarkshire vulgar language was not uncommon. My parents’ response was to give a penny for each day I did not swear. Each night I had to ‘tell the truth’. What a dilemma!

I have a tendency to trip and fall. Every time I do I release the four letter F word. Disgusting – but it does seem to reduce the shock!

We are experiencing unusual stress and anxiety at present. Let’s attempt to focus on the positives and not be too concerned over the exceptions.

Finlay Craig, Cove

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READ MORE: Readers' letters to the Advertiser: April 2, 2020

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While we’re all feeling very pleased with ourselves enduring the tribulations of lockdown, perhaps we should spare a thought for those living in much harsher conditions, with no heating or electricity, TV, or electronic gizmos.

I refer to the brave souls living at present in Faslane Peace Camp – all three of them.

This, the longest running peace camp in the world, has stood there for 38 years. People come and go, but it has never closed.

I have a great admiration for the campers. It must take considerable courage to live every day on the doorstep of that dreadful place.

I couldn’t do it. I hate the base; it is evil incarnate. It literally makes me sick to my stomach. Every time I go there, I can’t get back home quick enough.

There is a vertical banner at the gate into the camp and every time I read it I am struck by how true it is. This banner reads: “If not you - who? If not now - when? If not here - where?”

For me, this says it all. So on behalf of all the decent folk in Scotland, I hope the heroic campers of Faslane had a Happy Easter.

May God bless them in their righteous labours.

Brian Quail, Hyndland Avenue, Glasgow

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: March 26, 2020

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During these unprecedented times, connecting over social media is one way that people can keep in touch. This is even more important for those who are shielding because of health issues or vulnerability.

Lymphoma Action, the only chrity in the UK dedicated to supporting people affected by lymphoma, has launched a closed Facebook group for anyone affected by Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphoma or chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).

The support group is a great place for people affected by lymphoma to share information and tips about coping with the current situation, as well as thoughts and emotions about their diagnosis.

If any reader would like to join the closed Facebook support group they should search for Lymphoma Action Support UK.

For more information about lymphoma, including information about lymphoma and Covid-19, please visit the Lymphoma Action website at

Karen Bonell (Lymphoma Action)