This week's Advertiser letters page includes your thoughts on the NHS and Trident, the people helping Helensburgh and Lomond's bereaved families during the pandemic, memories of a former school in Shandon, and more.

To have your say in the Advertiser on any topic of local interest, just email your thoughts 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We also require a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.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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Following on from Brian Quail’s thought-provoking letter in last week’s Advertiser, on the global effect of Covid-19 and the continuing delivery of nuclear warheads to Coulport, the issue of how and why we rank our priorities needs discussion.

I worked in the NHS for 40 years, and during that time I witnessed a progressive reduction of funding, and a reduction of ITU beds. All the while, military budgets inextricably increased despite the lack of supportive evidence for such profligacy.

I would suggest that we reject stockpiling weapons of mass destruction in favour of diverting monies to the NHS to stockpile weapons of mass salvation: ITU beds, PPE, and antibody testing.

Perhaps the public should be given the choice of continuing to fund an out of date Cold War model of defence or being better prepared for this and the next pandemic.

Let’s have more ITU beds and PPE rather than submarines of no evidence-based value to anyone.

The Cold War is over and the wars against infection, global warming and internet terrorism are real and visible. However, I suspect this government will support Eisenhower’s outmoded military industrial complex as most right wing regimes do.

Ian Bone, Suffolk Street, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: May 21, 2020

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My wife Trish and I worked at St Andrew’s School in Shandon from 1977 until its closure in 1986. We loved our time there and made many friends.

On its closure we moved to Balfron, where I was offered work, and we remain there now. As usual, the best intentions fail, and we lost touch with those who had been our friends in Shandon.

Sadly some have since passed – Bill Donald (head), Alistair McKellar (depute head), Basil Boyer (third in charge), Hunter MacAulay (instructor), housemasters Donald McNeil, Michael Kipling and John Donnelly, Mac the janny, Jimmy the cook and, I think, all the night care officers. Apologies to the families of those missed.

We have, however, managed to get in contact with Paul Fenning, and have met him and his wife.

If anybody worked or lived in St Andrew’s while Trish and I were there, it would be great to hear from them.

Please get in touch by emailing me on or calling 07879 256073.

Len Thomson (aka ‘Major’), Balfron, Stirlingshire

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters page: May 14, 2020

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Recently it was my privilege to conduct a funeral service at Cardross Crematorium.

I was so moved by the care shown by the crematorium’s staff and by local undertakers in these difficult times, that I decided to pen this little tribute.

But, equally, if goodbyes are by gravesides, we are well aware of all the preparations which precede these too, and these few verses say thanks to those workers as well.

From where I now live, in Clynder, I can look beyond the Rhu Narrows and see the white building on the brow of the hill beyond Helensburgh, hence the title of my poem: ‘Cardross-on-the-Hill’.

When life’s journey here is over, and all is quiet and still,

There’s a place of fond farewell

At Cardross-on-the-Hill.

Kind welcome as we enter, calming music, never shrill,

Comfort comes to sadness

At Cardross-on-the-Hill.

Mem’ries will be shared, and eyes with tears may fill,

But love’s embrace we’ll know

At Cardross-on-the-Hill.

God bless its caring team, who with sensitivity and skill

Are there for every mourner

At Cardross-on-the-Hill.

May they always feel our gratitude in summer warmth and winter chill,

We couldn’t do without them

At Cardross-on-the-Hill.

And we don’t forget the gentle hands that work when we lie still,

And get us ready for the journey

To Cardross-on-the-Hill.

Thank you everyone.

Rev Fred Booth, Shore Road, Clynder

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: May 7, 2020

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Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is calling on people to share their memorable stories and images of nature during lockdown.

In these unprecedented and difficult times, many people have reported finding solace in the natural world and being more interested in, and appreciative of, nature as our lives have slowed down with less travelling and more people walking and cycling daily.

In our quieter cities, towns and countryside there have been reports of unusual wildlife sightings – from a fox exploring Waverley station in Edinburgh to a deer perusing the shops in Glasgow’s Buchanan Street.

To celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity (May 22), SNH wants to hear people’s personal experiences of nature in lockdown, whether that is spotting something new you’ve never noticed before, unusual wildlife, changes to nature locally or finding a deeper connection with the natural world.

Gathering a people’s record of nature during lockdown will complement longer-term scientific research into our growing understanding of the state of nature and the forces influencing it.

We are also keen to encourage and support people to develop their interest, learn more and get involved in citizen science.

Our staff have produced an online guide to the many nature surveys and activities that people can get involved in from their home, garden or out on a local walk.

Especially now when much professional field work is restricted, citizen science is key in helping to expand our scientific knowledge.

The true impact of coronavirus restrictions on nature will of course take some time to establish, and there are likely to be both positive and negative impacts.

The overwhelming positive is that so many people seem to be noticing and connecting much more with nature, and we’d love to hear any unusual or interesting nature moments that the public have experienced during the lockdown.

Over the past few weeks we have certainly been seeing animals which are sensitive to disturbance returning to areas they formerly occupied, as well as being more active in the daytime.

We’ve heard stories of coastal waders benefiting from quieter beaches, roe deer moving closer to populated areas, mammals such as pine martens and badgers becoming more active during daytime and foxes and other urban wildlife moving about more in cities.

We urge everyone who can to take the next step and get involved in recording and monitoring nature.

Citizen science is not only an enjoyable way to make space for nature in your day, but is also crucial to help us understand and improve the state of Scotland’s nature for the future.

You can submit your stories and images to Please include a full name and location.

Professor Des Thompson (Principal adviser on science and biodiversity, Scottish Natural Heritage)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser readers' letters: April 30, 2020

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I would like to let your readers know about the support the British Heart Foundation is continuing to offer to the 720,000 people across Scotland living with heart and circulatory diseases throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

People with heart and circulatory diseases are at increased risk of complications if they develop Covid-19. After dementia, coronary heart disease is the second most common pre-existing health condition in people who have died with Covid-19 in Scotland. 

Since the pandemic began, we’ve seen an unprecedented demand for our Heart Helpline service. In response we’ve extended our Helpline opening hours and added to our specialist nursing team.

We’ve also launched an appeal to help us offer this expanded service.

Understanding what lockdown and the different risk levels mean for people with heart and circulatory diseases has been one of the most common enquiries.

The uncertainty of the situation means we may not be able to answer every question, but we are here to reassure people who might feel anxious and provide information and support specific to their condition and concerns.

If you’re feeling unwell or concerned about your heart condition, it’s still vital that you use NHS services as you always would.

Our team of nurses is available if you’re trying to understand what the pandemic means for you or the health of a loved one.

To contact the BHF’s Heart Helpline call 0300 330 3311 (open from 9am until 7pm Monday to Friday, and from 10am until 4pm on weekends and bank holidays), or you can email

James Jopling (Head of British Heart Foundation Scotland)

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