CHRISTMAS may be seven months away - but thoughts in Helensburgh are already turing to the festive season after one of the biggest events in the town's calendar announced plans for a rebrand and expansion.

The chair of the Helensburgh Winter Festival's organising committee has spoken this week of plans to turn the event into a 'Christmas Town Festival', running from the switching-on of the town's Christmas lights display all the way through to the end of December and encompassing more than the two-day festival alone.

The festival itself - a firm favourite not just in Helensburgh's events diary but in the west of Scotland's festive season calendar - will also run slightly later in 2023 than in previous years, with this year's event to take place on the weekend of December 9 and 10.

But an appeal has also been made for more people to engage with the event - as its committee currently only has four members.

Committee chair Gail Broadhurst spoke at a council-run committee meeting on Tuesday, May 9, giving detail on her hopes for how Helensburgh can celebrate the festive season.

Argyll and Bute Council’s Helensburgh and Lomond community planning group heard from Ms Broadhurst that several organisations had already been engaged with, with more hoped to follow.

She said: “I am looking to rebrand the Winter Festival as a Christmas Town Festival, which will probably run from the Christmas lights switch-on until late December.

“This will give something back to the town, with the usual markets, stage, Santa Dash, street entertainers and other attractions.

“We want to try and pull organisations together and have some additional competition ideas.

"Lots of people get right into the Christmas spirit and fully decorate their houses, streets and communities, so why not submit pictures to the local press and support the community?

“I have already started engaging with a number of agencies and organisations, so we have some ideas.

“We have a fabulous park in Hermitage Park but we do not do anything with it at Christmas, so let’s do something.

"Having lighting in the park would also be awesome but I know there are issues with that.

“The Hill House also does great things at Christmas, so we are looking to pull together with them.”

Ms Broadhurst added: “Any charity is desperate for volunteers, and right now our committee consists of four individuals, which is not quite enough to pull together a winter festival.

"So to do Helensburgh as a Christmas town, I need as many people engaged as possible.

“We have a Christmas shop, two toy shops, award-winning restaurants and great independent retailers. We have great train connections and even an airport is 45 minutes away.

“We have a great Victorian town, and I am trying to embrace all of that with the benefit being longer term, and attracting more and more people to the town.”

More information on the Winter Festival is available at