THE centre of Helensburgh will soon be lit up in full festive fashion thanks to the tireless efforts of local volunteers and businesses.

Last week the Helensburgh Festive Lighting Charitable Trust (HFLCT), which has organised the town’s annual display for more than a decade, took delivery of a 35-foot Christmas tree donated by Luss Estates.

The green giant has been playfully nicknamed Douglas and is now standing proudly in Colquhoun Square where it will be decorated by trust members.

At the end of October, the Advertiser reported that Argyll and Bute Council has scrapped its provision of Christmas trees to communities across the region, leaving doubts over whether or not Helensburgh and Lomond villages will have a display this year.

Vivien Dance, from the HFLCT, expressed her gratitude to local volunteers and businesses who provided their service free of charge to ensure that those fears were unfounded in Helensburgh, at least.

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She said: “The tree arrived on Billy and Robert Sharp’s low loader last Thursday, having been felled first thing that morning, accompanied by Ross Stewart, Louis Kane and David Spraggs from Luss Estates.

“‘Douglas’ was then unloaded by Chris Landless from M&T Builders Merchants and then Gerald Johnstone and Alistair Todd of West Coast Cutters worked their chainsaw magic to size and trim the trunk so it would slide into the holding cavity below ground level.

“Once installed, barriers donated by Speedy Services were put in place temporarily until the next phase of the work begins.

“It sounds so simple and looked effortless too, but this was a complex exercise only made possible by the expertise and skill of all involved.

“Luss Estates, M&T Builders Merchants, West Coast Cutters, Speedy Services and Robert Sharp and sons all donated their time, labour and resources to giving the town its impressive Christmas tree, a central part of this year’s Christmas lights project.

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“Without the help and generosity of these local companies the Helensburgh elves would not have been able to afford to purchase and install a tree this year.

“Santa would be very proud of the community spirit in Helensburgh, just what the kindness of Christmas should be about.”

Simon Miller, Luss Estates CEO, said: “Luss Estates is delighted to contribute to the Helensburgh Festive Lighting Charitable Trust by donating a substantial 30ft Christmas tree.

"The efforts to illuminate and decorate Helensburgh are driven by the trust’s hard working volunteers and we are proud to make this contribution to their festive efforts.”

The HFLCT is still in need of donations to support this year’s - and future years’ - efforts: to donate, visit the Terrace café in Colquhoun Square; pay direct to the bank account - Helensburgh Festive Lights at RBS (sort code: 832303, account number: 00624980); text ‘Xmas’ to 70490 to donate £5; or hand your donation to one of the orange ‘elves’ throughout the town.

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