This week's Advertiser letters page includes your thoughts on the Duchess Wood and dog waste, the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on the media, the future of the NHS, some of the help available for vulnerable people in Helensburgh during the pandemic, and more.

To have your say in the Advertiser on any topic of local interest, 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We also require a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.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!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On behalf of the Friends of Duchess Wood, I would like to use the Advertiser’s letters page to thank all those dog walkers using the Duchess Wood who are taking their poo bags home for disposal.

Also, our thanks to the kind person who was seen walking round the Wood picking up bags left by the side of paths and disposing of them.

At this time we don’t know when Argyll and Bute Council will start to empty the bins in the wood, so we would also reiterate the key message to dog walkers using the Duchess Wood: please take poo bags (and any other waste) home for disposal.

This is even more important now as temperatures rise and visitor numbers increase, so please help keep the wood clean and safe.

Additionally, we would be very grateful if dog walkers who leave poo bags by the side of paths for collection later could remember to pick them up before leaving the wood.

Thank you.

Martin Grafton (Secretary, Friends of Duchess Wood)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

READ MORE: Your letters to the Helensburgh Advertiser: April 16, 2020

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

IN your Advertiser View column of April 9, you clearly explained the challenges facing local newspapers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sadly, your predictions have come true with the West Highland Free Press temporarily ceasing publication.

You have clearly taken positive steps to retain readers. The eight-page Puzzle Special has clearly thrilled many. The addition of a TV daily guide has been a blessing especially for me. In this household it is not the man who monopolises the controller!

You and your colleagues clearly carried out a review of your product in order to provide an enhanced offering while retaining its great value for money.

If you can do it, surely so can the National Health Service (NHS). We in the UK are rightly proud of our extensive health facilities. For many years there have been signs that the NHS is in need of a major review.

Are we convinced that the integration of social services with the health system is achieving what it should and could?

Has the public been convinced that centralisation of services has been a good thing – what about the Vale of Leven Hospital? Are we sure that out of hours GP services are reliable?

Equally, Scotland’s health boards have no geographic correlation with local authorities.

Many people oppose review, in case it would further privatise the NHS. But all my life the NHS has worked with and through private providers. For me, this has included shoemakers, orthotic providers, dentists, opticians and possibly also GPs.

Covid-19 has placed the world’s heath systems under great strain. In the UK the NHS is doing its best. With health currently at the front of everybody’s thoughts, perhaps 2021 could be a good time to conduct a thorough review.

If so, the editor of the Helensburgh Advertiser should be invited to participate.

Finlay Craig, Cove

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

READ MORE: The Helensburgh Advertiser's letters page: April 9, 2020

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I HAVE just returned from a walk along the Barbour Road in Cove. I was shocked and dismayed to see that trees between Barbour Road and South Ailey Farm are apparently being cut down.

I remember attending a community council meeting a few years ago at which planning officers advised that woods in the area were protected, and that any felled trees would have to be replaced.

This cannot be allowed to happen. More than half the woods have gone already and in a couple of days or so they will all be gone.

This has to be stopped as soon as possible.

Please help stop this tragedy.

Name and address supplied

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I JUST wanted to get in touch as we noticed that in your brilliant wee section showing where people can get help locally, Ardardan had been taken off.

Although Ardardan is closed, the Monty family continue to do orders to those most vulnerable locally through deliveries and also collections for food and garden product orders as much as we can.

Our phones are manned Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 10am and 3pm to place orders.

We are here to help those in greatest need as much as we can.

Sue Aikman, Ardardan Estate, Cardross

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

WE wanted to write to reassure local people that we are open for emergency and essential care, despite temporarily closing our doors for routine sight and hearing tests.

This includes helping our fellow key workers stay on the frontline to support all of us at this challenging time, and we would like to thank all of them for all that they are doing.

To recognise their sacrifice at this time, we are prioritising their needs.

If you have any changes to your vision or hearing, or have a problem with your glasses, contact lenses or hearing aids, please give us a call in store on 01436 648823.

We will help you over the phone, and we will only ask you to come down to the store if it absolutely necessary.

We are following government guidelines in order to keep our customers and colleagues safe.

At this time of great pressure on our NHS, both locally and nationally, we want to reduce that pressure by continuing to use our professional expertise across eye and hearing services to provide essential care to those who need it.

We are committed to the community here in Helensburgh, and look forward to the time when our town centre returns to normal and our community comes back together, stronger than ever.

Until then, please give us a call if you need us.

Take care and stay safe.

Michael Griffin (Manager of Specsavers, Helensburgh)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters page: March 19, 2020

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

(An open letter to Argyll and Bute Council leader Aileen Morton)

We appreciate that Argyll and Bute Council is working under considerable stress and difficulty at the moment, so we hesitate to ask for more, but are interested to know what planning is being done in the event of the present crisis proving more severe than we all hope.

Recent experience shows the danger in governments being under-prepared and too casual in their assessment of risk.

We are not pessimists, but it is not hard to imagine a long lockdown resulting in difficulties over food supplies. It would only take cross-channel ferry companies to cease importing, European providers to keep produce to themselves or British labour shortages to make our harvesting inadequate.

Has the council made any plans to deal with these contingencies, for instance by encouraging local food provision? We mention this urgently because it is now the planting season.

Equally, we have, in our coastal waters, an abundance of marine life which could be directed to feed local people. It is unfortunate that, currently, there seems to be little or no fishing out of Oban harbour, for example.

The fare on offer at our local fishmonger is almost exclusively farmed, which ideally we would not eat. The export market has collapsed. Can the council find a way to support the development of a local one?

By its nature, climate and geography, Argyll is not well placed to feed its population entirely, but the food it does produce is world-renowned – a reputation to build on! Other parts of Scotland are better endowed. Is the country as a whole making any plans to exploit these wider resources?

To take this a stage further, can we trust Westminster to plan adequately for more difficult times? One would like to feel that Argyll is taking some initiative here.

We recognise and are grateful for the tremendous efforts being made by NHS workers, council members and employees, civil servants, community volunteers and local businesses and getting us safely throughout this crisis is quite rightly our principal goal at the moment

We write in the hope that local people will be moved to take a personal interest in their future well-being.

Cathy Cameron and Dennis Archer (co-convenors, Argyll and Bute branch of the Scottish Green Party)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: March 12, 2020

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Last year, my six-year old nephew Finley was diagnosed with JMML (juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia), a rare and aggressive form of childhood leukaemia, affecting around one to two children out of a million each year.

He needed to find his ‘genetic twin’ who could be his lifesaving blood stem cell donor, so I got involved with the work of the blood cancer charity DKMS.

Since Covid-19 arrived in the UK, the number of people coming forward to register as blood stem cell donors has substantially dropped.

This will impact significantly on people with blood cancer now, and in the near future. Their lives will be at great risk if more people don’t come forward now.

More than ever, we need people to register as potential life savers.

While most of us are at home and dealing with the necessary adjustments, we can only begin to understand the challenge of a patient with blood cancer. Building on the outbreaks of great kindness in our communities, can I ask one thing of you?

Go to and order your home swab kit. You don’t have to go near a GP or hospital and the kit will be sent to you.

Just swab the inside of your mouth and when you’re out buying your essentials, pop it in a post box and DKMS will do the rest.

I know we are all thinking about our own health at the moment, but there aren’t any risks to your own health by swabbing, and you could be a potential life saver in the future.

The Covid-19 crisis has shown us all just how precious our health is, and for people with blood cancer, it is even more fragile.

So please, if you’re between 17 and 55 and in general good health, take the first step to register as a blood stem cell donor by ordering your home swab kit at

Al Murray (on behalf of DKMS)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

READ MORE: Click here for all the latest news headlines from across Helensburgh and Lomond