WITH regard to N. Macpherson’s comments on street signage in last week’s letters to the Advertiser, I exchanged emails with Norman Muir from the Community Council on this subject and was advised that “nowadays with the present generation of mobile phones the modern way to navigate is by electronic means!”.

In a town with a considerable elderly population, whose use of technology is not necessarily very great, I find this statement less than satisfactory.

N. Macpherson’s letter also raises the question of budgets, and I would add that my understanding is that Argyll and Bute Council’s budgets have totally inadequate provision for maintenance.

There is little point in regularly funding major vanity projects such as the CHORD works or the swimming baths if they cannot be maintained.

Shabby presentation says a lot about any organisation.

Geoff Atkins

via helensburghadvertiser.co.uk

READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: March 11, 2021

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FIRST, may I congratulate the Advertiser team on a great job during this past year.

I think you have always managed to put together an interesting read, even when news was scarce.

I recall someone complaining about the extended puzzle section, but personally I have enjoyed that enormously.

Of the recent developments, although I am not a photographer myself, I think the pictures by the Camera Club are a real source of joy.

You ask what people would find interesting. I think that any articles on local businesses and organisations, even departments of the council, are very informative.

Learning how national charities operate at a local level, for example, or a study of a typical week in the life of an employee in the council maintenance department, maybe even an account of the running of the Blackhill Recycling Centre (and their “garden” might make a good photo). You do already cover this type of thing, I know, and it is appreciated.

Just a few thoughts.

Mavourneen Watkins

via email

READ MORE: Opinion - 'National Park is ready to welcome you when the time is right'

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WHAT a slap in the face it has been for many local businesses who have had to endure months, many of them for a year of closure, to see on three occasions the market in the square.

Many of the stalls come from areas of high infection, certainly travelling more than the five miles allowed and most are not essential goods.

If you want food we have our own butchers and supermarkets. ‘Buy local’ has been the cry of small towns desperate to keep shops viable during this pandemic and Argyll and Bute Council trading officers are allowing this to go on.

How would the Scottish Government react to this? Is it even legal to hold markets or even sensible to hold them in these times, when the country is trying to fight Covid?

Helensburgh is certainly not immune from this pandemic as has been proved by the spike in numbers recorded in the area.

Some people are not wearing masks, and it’s certainly not being ‘policed’ at the market.

Local councillors should seriously consider if it’s in the town’s best interest to allow further markets until such events are within the Scottish Government guidelines of ease down. Hopefully this can happen over the next month or so.

Sephton MacQuire

East Montrose Street, Helensburgh

*(Ed: See Advertiser Comment in our March 4 edition for a letter on the same subject and a detailed response from the Helensburgh and Lomond Chamber of Commerce.)

READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: March 4, 2021

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LOCKDOWN deprives us of social interaction, of seeing loved ones, meeting friends and pursuing all the things that were a normal part of everyday life.

Being isolated can be devastating and soul destroying with little to do and no one to meet and talk to, but that need not be the case.

With little effort you can join in coffee mornings, participate with others in activities that may interest you, or listen to speakers on a range of interesting topics, and it will not cost a penny.

Join in one of our meetings. There’s so much going on and so many opportunities. You can do as little or as much as you want so there’s no pressure, but the opportunities are there.

The movement started in the UK in 1981 and there are now more than 424,000 members in the UK, with more than 12,000 members in Scotland.

It is one of the largest organisations in Britain offering friendship and support to its members.

READ MORE: Covid one year on: reflections and advice 12 months after first Argyll and Bute case

Our local group in Helensburgh started in July 2018. We have been running for less than three years and already have more than 230 members - and that number is growing all the time.

The good news is that due to Covid restrictions membership is free until July with only a modest annual fee thereafter, in the order of £20 for a full year.

What is this wonderful organisation? Why, Helensburgh and District U3A of course.

We are still running regular online activities and Covid-secure meet-ups for members to keep active and in touch with each other.

Many of our members comment that they are “so happy that they found the U3A, it’s filled their life with interest and purpose”, “it brings you together with people you may not otherwise have met”, “it’s very rewarding to be part of something that you can see is doing some good”, and “being in U3A has taught me it’s never too late to try something new”.

To learn more about the Helensburgh and District U3A and to receive a free information pack call Malcolm Brown on 07764 459 834 or visit u3asites.org.uk/helensburgh.

Cassandra MacEwan

Helensburgh and District U3A

READ MORE: Opinion - 'Council budget must be for the many, not the few'

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LAST week, Flamingo Land returned a black rhino to Tanzania, having released another several years ago to Rwanda.

This animal is critically endangered and according to WWF (World Wildlife Foundation) was very close to extinction.

I also understand that through their conservation projects Flamingo Land have saved areas of rainforest and discovered new species of flaura and fauna in Tanzania.

Their revised development proposal at West Riverside in Balloch is anticipated to be submitted this summer, after a previous planning application was withdrawn in 2019.

I hope there is more public support for this project, assuming it ticks the planning boxes, as it will provide a welcome boost for the local economy as we emerge from this Covid nightmare.

Flamingo Land appears to be a company with very strong conservation credentials, as outlined above, which is a plus point when dealing with a development site at the gateway to our National Park.

Malcolm Pearson


READ MORE: Flamingo Land plans branded 'toxic' as row over development continues

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MARCH is usually a month in our calendar that brings with it hope of the spring and summer to come. But this year March holds a different significance, marking the anniversary of when the UK first went into a nationwide lockdown.

The last 12 months have been challenging for so many and as a charity dedicated to caring for people at the end of their life and supporting bereaved people, Marie Curie has witnessed the impact of the pandemic first-hand.

While we can start to see glimmers of hope as plans are unveiled for the easing of lockdown restrictions, millions of people have been bereaved in the past year, many unable to properly say goodbye to loved ones or grieve with the support of friends and family.

That’s why Marie Curie and more than 100 other organisations are leading a National Day of Reflection on Tuesday, March 23, one year since the first lockdown, to remember those who have died during the pandemic, from any cause, and to show support for anyone who has been bereaved.

On this day, we would like to invite readers of the Advertiser to join a minute’s silence at 12 noon. We also hope you will also take a moment to reach out to someone you may know who’s grieving and at 8pm to take candles and lights out on to their street for a minute’s remembrance.

As relentless as this crisis has been, it has also shone a light on the courage, resilience and solidarity of the nation. People have put their normal lives on hold for the good of the many. We trust an annual day of reflection will continue to support those who need it most.

To find out more about the National Day of Reflection visit mariecurie.org.uk/get-involved/day-of-reflection.

Andrew Reeves

Principal social worker & bereavement support lead, Marie Curie Scotland

READ MORE: Helensburgh lads raise thousands for Beatson Cancer Charity

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JUST ahead of WWF’S Earth Hour last year, the country was put into lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As we look ahead to this year’s event on Saturday, March 27 at 8.30pm, many of us are reflecting on the future, as we emerge from the latest, and hopefully last ‘stay at home’ period.

With that in mind, we are asking people to use Earth Hour by helping us create the ‘Great Scottish Canvas’. Switch off your lights and by candlelight or torchlight, use the hour to paint a picture, craft a poem, doodle or write something which illustrates the future Scotland you want to live in.  

With so many eyes on Scotland this year due to Scottish Parliament elections in May and the vital COP26 climate talks in November, we want to show the world the vision of the Scottish people, for a greener and fairer society for us all.

You can find out more at wwf.org.uk/updates/great-scottish-canvas.

I look forward to seeing the things you believe will make Scotland a better place, perhaps changing the way we heat our homes, how we travel around our towns and cities, or even how we grow the food we eat.

Lang Banks

Director, WWF Scotland

READ MORE: All the latest Helensburgh and Lomond headlines

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