TO have your say on any topic of local interest, just email your opinions to or get in touch via the Send Us Your News section of this site.

Please remember to include your name and address, and to try and keep your contributions as brief and to-the-point as you can.

We also require a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.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!

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

IF the response to a post I published on Townhead Farm’s Facebook page on Sunday evening, regarding littering in Garraway Glen, is anything to go by, littering is a disease of the modern day that afflicts large numbers of people, yet impacts on all of humanity, the environment and the world in which we live.

It’s very easy to blame the frustrations of Covid restrictions for this. However, littering is still a crime and the lack of respect for public space and environment by the perpetrators, deserves some closely supervised isolation.

The disease initially manifests itself in the mind of the individual, such that they have no ownership or responsibility for packaging of items in their possession and as a result these can be discarded anywhere and at any time.

As the disease develops, the disregard for packaging and its proper disposal spreads. What was initially a sneeze or a cough, has mutated into a full blown fever and there is now no sense of ownership for items the packaging contained – items that are deemed to have no further value and ultimately, any item that can be dumped.

READ MORE: Letters to the Helensburgh Advertiser: September 24, 2020

As with Covid, there is no vaccination for the disease and so measures need to be put in place, such that there is a collective undertaking and responsibility to reduce the spread and save (our) lives.

The development of non-plastic, environmentally friendly, re-usable packaging will be a band-aid for the problem; organised beach and woodland cleaning parties are worthwhile medicinal interventions; and the commitment shown by local authorities to refuse collection and waste disposal services is the ultimate surgery to treat the consequences of the disease.

It is well understood that a band-aid, medicinal intervention or surgery are not going to eradicate a virus. These are merely measures to address the consequences of the disease and to mitigate any contagion.

Learning how to live with a disease and to prevent the spread of the virus that transmits it between people is much more important.

In the context of a littering pandemic we must all learn to take greater ownership of items within our possession, vaccination against the littering disease being no more than improving collective education and understanding on the disposal of waste.

The alternatives of further constraints on individual freedom, higher punitive awards and social isolation of the perpetrators are no more palatable than the consequences of the littering disease going unchecked.

So ask yourself, “Am I part of the problem? Do I have any of the symptoms of the littering disease? Should I boost my immunity with a further vaccination? Can I do anything to help eradicate the disease?”

Let us all try to restore an outdoor paradise that we can all enjoy and all be proud of.

John Penniston

Townhead Farm, Helensburgh

READ MORE: Letters to the Helensburgh Advertiser: September 17, 2020

* * * * * * * * * *

I DID not read Ruth Wishart’s Point of View article on young people in rural areas in the Advertiser of September 10, but the response from Sarah-Jane Laing, chief executive of Scottish Land and Estates, last week caught my eye.

She says that a recent report from the Scottish Land Commission found that the impact of lack of access to land is “overstated in the delivery of rural housing, with land just one of many pieces in a complex jigsaw puzzle”.

Complex jigsaw puzzle - in there lies a clue.

She then goes on to say: “We fully agree that housing and skilled rural jobs are vital for young people, but morphing that into criticism of moorland management makes little sense to those who understand the realities of living and working close to these estates.”

The reality of living and working close to these estates – here lies a second clue.

Living next to these “estates” is stifling for any enterprise that does not please the “estate”. The “estate” owns all land and now she indicates that the “estate” should also own all new housing. What private enterprise can flourish under such circumstances?

The Land Reform Act that had a long and difficult birth was half dead by the time it reached the statute books. It never went far enough.

The only answer to rural growth is for the “estates” to give over land to these communities, so that they can own, build and thrive in what, after all, is their community.

Berit Vogt


READ MORE: Opinion: Rural young people should be given priority for new homes

* * * * * * * * * *

I AM writing to you about the three whales that have lost their way in recent days and have found themselves at the top of the Gareloch.

It is a known fact that electro-magnetic radiation affects all living organisms, whether we are aware of it or not.

It is no coincidence that this stranding has occurred in the same week that there has been a huge increase in marine activity in the area. There have been umpteen warships coming into Faslane, along with many submarines coming and going.

It is a known fact that whales are hugely affected by electro-magnetic radiation. It will be to our long term cost as society if we don’t pay attention to the harm done by man-made artificial radiation – not to be confused with natural radiation from the sun.

This ‘electrosmog’ powers our world, from smart meters to baby monitors, from Xboxes to mobile phones, and from laptops to Fitbits.

For additional information on what is going on with all of this, contact ESUK (Electrosensitive UK).

But to get back to the local case in point, what is the Royal Navy doing to ensure the safety, wellbeing and release of these gentle giants?

Ann Kelly


READ MORE: Letters to the Helensburgh Advertiser: September 10, 2020

* * * * * * * * * *

YOU published a letter last week from Michael Harkin, in which he claimed that The Brae Shop was taking advantage of pensioners and the Covid situation.

Neither of these allegations was true and yet you published Mr Harkin’s view without giving us the opportunity of replying to them.

In July the Advertiser and the Chamber of Commerce awarded us a Local Hero Certificate due to the help we had given to pensioners in the lockdown.

Forgive me for being confused.

Robert Ryan

The Brae Shop, Rhu

* * * * * * * * * *

WITH reference the complaint from Michael Harkin (Advertiser Comment, September 24) about the excellent Brae Shop in Rhu limiting card sales to over £3: it is a small shop and the card companies charge. The pre Covid limit was £5.

The reference to poor old ladies who can’t afford to spend more than £3 is a bit patronising. We, male and female oldies, were brought up to be thrifty. Most of us have a stash of change saved in a jam jar.

Nick Cowie

Garmount Lodge, Shandon

READ MORE: Letters to the Helensburgh Advertiser: September 3, 2020

* * * * * * * * * *

THE SNP’s own supporters have called for them to scrap their dangerous hate crime bill. Lawyers, actors, the police and churches have spoken out against the bill. Now the SNP’s own supporters are slamming the legislation.

Humza Yousaf’s minor changes don’t go anywhere near far enough and he has flat out refused to remove the stirring-up offences.

Our fundamental right to freedom of speech remains under threat.

Cllr Alastair Redman

Conservative, Kintyre and the Islands

* * * * * * * * * *

A THIRD of patients in Scottish hospitals are in their last year of life and 10 per cent die on their current admission.

Many of these people miss out on the care and support they need when they become terminally ill, are approaching the end of life, and when they die.

Marie Curie and the University of Glasgow has recently, with a range of experts, explored how palliative care in acute settings can be improved, what changes need to be made, and how to better share good practice.

The resulting report, ‘Past, present and future: Caring for those approaching the end of life in Scottish hospitals’, finds that despite many examples of good care, hospitals are still not identifying enough patients who could benefit from palliative care when seriously ill and approaching the end of life, and so unfairly miss out on the care they need.

We want the Scottish Government, NHS boards and integration authorities to implement the 12 recommendations set out in this report covering public policy, communication, identifying palliative patients, IT, workforce, training and education, data and culture.

We would like to see this include a £15 million Change and Innovation Fund to test new models of integrated care involving acute settings.

The impact for patients who have missed out on palliative and end of life support in hospitals is distressing not only for those who are at the end of life, but also for their families. We have seen these impacts further increase with Covid-19.

There is no denying hospitals are the right place for some dying people to be, and for many it is their preference.

We need definitive action to ensure people get the care they need when visiting and staying in hospital in their last years, months, weeks, days and hours of life.

Richard Meade (Marie Curie)

Dr Marian Krawczyk (University of Glasgow)

Click here for more news, views and local opinions