Letters, April 9 2021


Want to read more?

At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall.

However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free.

To access all other news will require a subscription, as it did pre-pandemic.

The good news is that for the whole of December we will be running a special discounted offer to get 3 months access for the price of one month. Thank you for supporting us during this incredibly challenging time.


We value our content and access to our full site is only available on subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device In addition your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.

Already a subscriber?


Subscribe Now

A Walk to Remember in aid of Stroke Association

Stroke really is such a cruel condition. Sadly we have all heard of someone who has been affected by stroke and many people like me have tragically lost someone too.

Almost five years ago, my wonderful mum, Diana, suffered a severe stroke. She died four weeks later. My mum was the most active, ‘full of life’ person I knew. She LOVED life. She was my best friend and I miss her every day. That’s why I want to ask your readers to take part in the Stroke Association’s A Walk to Remember.

This wonderful event is a special way to celebrate the life of your loved one whilst raising money in their memory.

Simply pick a special place that is filled with memories, create your route, and on June 27 take part in your own walk to remember to raise funds for the Stroke Association.

Stroke strikes every five minutes in the UK, and there are around 128,000 survivors in Scotland living with its devastating effects who really need our help.

Like so many charities, the pandemic has drastically affected the Stroke Association’s income.

However the charity has still been supporting stroke survivors as much as they can with support and advice, while continuing to fund vital research into the condition.

Please join me and do something amazing in your loved one’s memory by taking part in A Walk to Remember.

It’s bound to be an emotional but amazing day for all of us that have lost someone to stroke. Walk in their memory and raise funds to rebuild more lives after stroke.

To sign up, please visit https://www.stroke.org.uk/fundraising/a-walk-to-remember

Katherine Dow Blyton, actress.

Supporting children struggling with pandemic

Children’s lives have been turned upside over the last year due to challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, with many spending extended periods of time out of school and behind closed doors.

The NSPCC’s Childline service has heard from thousands of children who have found this time really challenging.

Some have felt overwhelmed with home schooling and struggled to access their learning due to a lack of technology, whilst others have missed their friends and family and many have seen their mental health deteriorate.

The NSPCC and Childline adapted during the pandemic so our frontline staff could continue to be here as a vital source of support for those children who felt like they had nowhere else to turn.

Even though many children in Scotland are now back at school, it remains vital that we are still here to support those who are struggling with the impact that the pandemic has had on them.

To help us be here for children and to remind them that Childline is a source of support they can turn to, we are encouraging schools across the country to get involved in the NSPCC’s Number Day.

This annual fundraising day, which is based around fun maths activities, will take place in primary and secondary schools across the country on May 7 in aid of the children’s charity.

As part of the day, schools can sign up to enjoy puzzles, games and challenges to raise vital funds.

There are a range of activities for different age groups and teachers will also be provided with resources including information on supporting their school’s safeguarding.

It’s now more essential than ever that children aren’t left alone, isolated and unsupported with their worries, and the money raised from Number Day will help the NSPCC in its mission to make 2021 a better year for children.

To sign up, visit the NSPCC’s website and search for Number Day and fill in your school’s details using the registration form.

Alan Stewart, schools service manager for NSPCC Scotland.

Age Scotland is connecting comrades

Age Scotland has won a £70,000 grant for an innovative telephone friendship service which links older members of the ex-services community.

Our Comradeship Circles service has helped to connect hundreds of older veterans for regular group calls since the pilot scheme was launched six months ago.

The funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust’s Tackling Loneliness Programme will enable our service to expand and continue until autumn 2022, reaching even more older people. We are also looking for volunteers to support the service.

There are an estimated 220,000 armed forces veterans in Scotland, with an average age of 67. The Comradeship Circles also welcome their partners, widows, and widowers.

Participants simply dial into the weekly chat, with a facilitator on hand to assist if necessary. The service is popular with those who are unable or find it difficult to enjoy social connection online.

Our Comradeship Circles has been a social lifeline for many over the last six months, so we’re delighted this funding means they can continue.

Even before the pandemic, thousands of older veterans still felt isolated because of health conditions, disabilities, or living in a rural location. Although restrictions are now easing, we know that many are feeling lonelier than ever before.

While more and more older people are getting online, there are still hundreds of thousands who are unable or prefer not to use the internet.

This telephone service has been especially valued by older veterans who have a disability or health condition which means they struggle to use the video conferencing apps.

Comradeship Circles mean they can enjoy banter and share stories and memories of military life.

It’s been inspiring to see the care and support that the veterans’ community gives each other, helping each other through difficult times. Many participants have told us that they’ve rekindled old friendships or made new ones, or look forward to a natter to get them through the week.

If you or someone you know is a veteran aged 50 or over, we’d encourage them to give it a try.

A call to the Age Scotland helpline 0800 12 44 222 can open the door to camaraderie and extra support for older members of the ex-service community.

Brian Sloan, Age Scotland chief executive.

Condition of Ballymartin road on Islay

I have been contacted by many of my constituents about the concerning condition of Ballymartin road on Islay.

It has gradually been getting worse over the years but is now as bad as it has ever been and is getting to the stage that it’s nearly not passable for a small car without risking damage.

I have raised this with our roads department and although funds are stretched, this road is clearly in need of some desperate repairs and, if left unmaintained for any longer, will only end up costing the hard-pressed council taxpayer more to fix in the long-run.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Kintyre and the Islands.