THE latest bumper crop of Advertiser readers' letters includes a plea for expert professional support from Helensburgh Community Council, a message of thanks from one Burgh resident for whom Friday the 13th proved particularly unlucky, a call for evidence on the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on the area's sports clubs, and much more.

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We also require a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.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

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Helensburgh Community Council is looking for professional support.

We are looking for assistance from both practising and retired professionals in the legal, accountancy, engineering, environmental, and architectural professions in the town.

Most Helensburgh residents are pretty aware that the Helensburgh Community Council is a statutory, non-political, volunteer grouping of 20 citizens elected by you, the community.

We do our level best to represent you to the utmost of our ability.

However, the complexities and volume of local and national governmental procedures impact on our ability to respond to myriad consultations and surveys on a wide variety of topics. These range from budget matters to planning issues.

The Community Council has a broad collective knowledge to respond to such challenges; however, we lack specific specialist knowledge which would add an extra dimension to our work.

The town enjoys a strong sense of altruism and also a wealth of talent within the community. We seek to capitalize on this untapped expertise by inviting both practising and retired professionals in the legal, accountancy, engineering, environmental and architectural professions to register an interest in working with us for the benefit of the town, as and when your help may be required.

The Community Council has no money, so any assistance would be on a pro bono, co-opted basis. However, the satisfaction of applying individual skills and knowledge to the future benefit of the town cannot be overstated.

Anyone who wishes to register an interest or ask further questions is invited to email me on

Norman Muir (Convener, Helensburgh Community Council)

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

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I AM writing to pass on my sincere thanks to everyone who came to my aid when I fell near Kidston on a bitterly cold and windy Friday morning last week.

To Sheila Gardner for calling the ambulance; the off duty nurse who stopped and brought her first aid gear and stayed with me until the paramedics came; the young naval couple who also stopped and helped; the young man physically supporting me until I could be moved; and also the woman who brought the rug (please contact the Helensburgh Advertiser to arrange collection).

I now have many reasons to remember Friday the 13th this month - not least the kindness of strangers.

Take care and keep safe.

Jean Johnston, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters page: November 5, 2020

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READERS of the Advertiser might recall the campaign, with which I am closely involved, seeking to raise awareness of the over-diagnosis of anti-depressants and the damaging withdrawal symptoms suffered by many people when they attempt to come off such medication.

The Advertiser has previously reported on the petition on this issue which I submitted, on behalf of the Recovery and Renewal support group in Helensburgh, to the Scottish Parliament in 2017.

A similar petition has also been submitted to the Welsh Assembly.

Along with Anne Guy, Stevie Lewis and Mark Horowitz, I have now co-authored a new paper which has been published online by Sage Journal Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology – click here to read the paper in full.

The paper outlines the themes emerging from 158 respondents to an open invitation to describe the experience of prescribed psychotropic medication withdrawal for those petitions.

We believe this is the first time that grassroots ‘Patient Voice’ evidence - certainly about the issues with antidepressants - has ever been published in a medical journal.

Because nearly all medical research is funded directly or indirectly by the pharmaceutical industry, and comprises the basis for so-called ‘evidence-based practice and prescribing guidelines’ such as those used by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN), we discovered that patients actually have no real voice in the way that the ‘medical’ and prescribing system operates, and no route to feed back patient experience of taking medicines as prescribed.

Our Scottish and Welsh public petitions have offered an unprecedented insight into what has been happening - and it is truly alarming. We are the evidence of ‘prescribed harm’, but this is not seen.

Medical training of doctors is, from the outset, heavily influenced by the industry, so prescribers are not aware of the potential adverse effects of the medicines they are trained - and even ‘incentivised’ - to prescribe.

Marion Brown, Garelochhead

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser readers' letters: October 29, 2020

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I HAVE recently been diagnosed with Electromagnetic Hyper-Sensitivity (EHS), and I’m hoping to find people in Helensburgh and Lomond who might be interested in setting up a support group.

If you have, or suspect you might have, health issues in connection with mobile phones, wifi, smart meters or while using electrical appliances, please write to me at the address below and we can hopefully meet once restrictions allow.

Include your postal address and a little background information and I’ll write back as soon as I can.

Ann Kelly, EHS Support, Ballagan House, Stirling Road, Balloch G83 8LY

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Helensburgh Advertiser: October 22, 2020

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The SNP has been repeatedly warned that the proposals contained in its Hate Crime Bill are a threat to the free press.

Newspaper publishers told the Scottish Parliament’s justice committee that the Bill would put limitations on what could be published in their papers.

The SNP must withdraw this Bill and think again instead of trying to force through dangerous attacks on our freedoms. Our fundamental right to freedom of speech remains under threat.

Cllr Alastair Redman (Conservative, Kintyre and the Islands)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters page: October 15, 2020

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The Scottish Parliament’s health and sport committee has launched an inquiry into the impact Covid-19 restrictions on sports clubs and leisure venues have had on local communities across Scotland.

The committee’s inquiry is seeking to quantify the various societal benefits that sporting clubs and leisure venues bring to their communities. They are asking sport and leisure organisations what support they require to ensure these community services can be maintained.

The inquiry will then examine impacts on individuals and their communities from the reduction or cessation of sporting events, and community-based activities undertaken by sporting organisations.

This will include investigating the impact on the mental and physical health of individuals.

Our sporting and leisure clubs are woven into the fabric of our communities, providing a wealth of benefits to our society which so many people rely on.

But with a ban on mass gatherings since March and with leisure centres closed for much of this time, the pandemic has hit this sector particularly hard – in many cases threatening their very existence and their ability to provide vital community services.

Our inquiry wants to hear from sports clubs, organisations and leisure venues on the unprecedented financial challenges they are facing and the support they require to come through this pandemic.

We are also keen to hear how individuals across Scotland who engage with these institutions and the various community services they provide have been impacted.

Sporting clubs, organisations and leisure venues can give their views in the first part of the inquiry at

Lewis Macdonald MSP (Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee)

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READ MORE: Catch up with all the latest Helensburgh and Lomond news headlines by clicking here