Arran Banner Letters – week 20

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Celebrating memories

Sir,

The Whiting Bay Memories group would like to thank everyone who took part in our weekend Celebration of Whiting Bay Past and Present. It is not possible to thank everyone personally, there are just far too many.

To all our bunting makers, for spending hundreds of hours converting unwanted fabrics into 600 metres plus of fabulous bunting, and all who braved the terrible weather when it was put up, thank you, the village looks wonderful.

To the village hall committee, thank you for all your support, we couldn’t have done this without you. Special thanks go to Whiting Bay Primary pupils and staff -our banners looked stunning!  Thanks to our Artists, our face-in-the-hole boards will be enjoyed by many for years to come.

Our young musicians, and those a little older, you were all excellent and very professional. You added something special to the occasion.

To the Bowling Club, and the Improvements, thank you for all your support and for organising your special events which were enjoyed by many.

To our businesses, thank you for embracing the idea and joining in the celebrations. Your bunting looked wonderful and we are sorry for traumatising you with a camera!

Everyone who took part in our DVD filming, you were all great. Well done.

To all our exhibitors and makers, thank you for your wonderful effort, our special exhibits were indeed very special!

Thank you so much to the many volunteers, your hard work before during and after the event made this all possible, without you none of this would ever have happened.

Thank you also to everyone who contributed to our ever-growing collection of memories, by sharing yours you allowed so many people to enjoy them and in many cases, re-live them with old friends and new.

On a financial note, to all those who donated raffle and tombola prizes, thank you all very much. We began without a penny to our name, but thanks to everyone’s support and generosity, we have managed to pay all of our bills. We should still have enough left to establish our memories group and develop some of our new ideas.

Last but not least, thank you to everyone who came along and joined in the celebration. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Yours,

Barbara I’Anson

The Whiting Bay Memories Group.

 

Ferry fears

Sir,

Over the past 50 years as a resident of Ayrshire and Lanarkshire frequent day trips to the Isle of Arran have been a pleasant relaxation.

It was a great privilege to wake to a bright summer morning and decide to head for Ardrossan, perhaps with our bikes, and have a day on the island. Sometimes we would leave the bikes, and take the dogs and have a day on the hills. One essential  annual visit is to Arran Show, when we take some elderly friends by car.

I holiday on the island every year for a month, in addition to several short breaks. This year I have had one short break so far, but for the first time ever I am uneasy about attempting a day trip.

I need to use the lift from the car deck because of arthritic problems, and I now understand that there are issues with the lift on the Caledonian Isles.

Also, it appears that there is no longer a reliable timetable for the island services.  Ferry and port malfunctions with the added hazard of newfound sensitivities to weather vagaries have lead to many surprising cancellations.

Taking elderly passengers for a day trip to the island risks being benighted as ferries can be cancelled without warning.

Surely this situation is untenable. What is for me a regrettable inconvenience must be wholly unacceptable for the people of Arran.

Whilst it appears that there has been ineptitude at an executive level on the part of the Scottish Government and also Caledonian MacBrayne, I would stress that my experience of support to the traveller on board and in port by the staff of CalMac is beyond reproach.    This applies not only on the Arran services but the Hebridean and West if Scotland services.

I shall be most grateful if someone can provide assurance that a solution to these problems is under urgent consideration and confidence in the island service can be restored.

Yours,

Nancy Anderson

Strathaven

 

Ferry frustration

Sir,

One of the many ferry frustrations raised at the recent Arran Ferry Action Group (AFAG) public meeting concerned concessionary fare ticketing. CalMac at Brodick seem unable / unwilling to issue concessionary driver / passenger tickets in the circumstance where vehicles are booked on the ferry on-line or by telephone.

One can collect one’s car travel ticket at the Brodick port control booth on arrival but one is then obliged to park the car, walk some 250m to the terminal booking office to purchase the ticket(s), then walk 250m to the control booth to hand it / them in and then a further 250m back to the car. Not very pleasant if one is elderly, probably with walking difficulties and especially nasty for anyone in winter when one is very likely also exposed to horizontal driving freezing rain.

Concession passenger tickets can be issued at the Ardrossan control booth and on the moving Lochranza / Kintyre ferry. Why is it not possible to do this at Brodick?

This question has been repeatedly put to the Arran Community Council  and the Arran Ferry Committee without any progress towards resolution. SPT are involved, they say, impossible to make any changes. Additionally, they say, it is impossible to prevent abuse of concessionary scheme with on-line / telephone bookings!

One way forward here, we suggest, might be to restrict the use of each concession card via its unique number, to one concessionary return journey to Ardrossan per day. Who would possibly want to do the journey more than once per day!! Each concessionary card could be viewed at the Brodick control booth when picking up the associated car ticket.

These points are being put to Gordon Maclennan, chief executive, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) and Robbie Drummond, MD, CalMac. We will keep all of  you informed of progress via the AFAG web site, www.arranferries.scot

Yours,

John Ford

Arran Ferries Action Group

 

Personal choice

Sir,

The Mobile Breast Screening van is due to arrive in Brodick on Wednesday May 22 for approximately four weeks.

It was last here three years ago when of the 856 women invited for screening 163 did not attend or declined the invite. That’s just over 19 per cent.

I did attend and as a result a small tumour (otherwise undetectable) was discovered and I was able to have the appropriate treatment.

Obviously attending for screening is a matter of personal choice – I am just very glad that I did.

Yours,

Carol Mills

Sliddery

 

ME Awareness Month

 

Sir,

Many of your readers living with the complex, neurological condition myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) are missing out on normal life; one in four are so severely ill they are house – and/or bed-bound. As part of our work for global ME Awareness Month in May, UK charity Action for ME is asking everyone with ME to share their experiences of healthcare, welfare benefits, employment and education in our Big Survey.

We will use what you tell us to campaign more effectively for better services and support, and improve the lives of children, young people and adults with ME. Take our Big Survey now at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/afmebigsurvey, open until Friday August  2 – and please get in touch on 0117 927 9551 if you need information and support for you or a family member.

Yours,

Sonya Chowdhury

Chief Executive Action for ME

 

Photograph of the week

Describing it as ‘One of God’s magic moments,’ 14-year old Alex Barnett of Glasgow experienced a chimerical moment and managed to capture it with these photographs. Explaining the experience Alex said: ‘My papa and I parked in the lay-by in Lamlash at the “No Fishing” sign to take a photograph of a seal. Suddenly an Otter appeared at my feet, stared at me then disappeared below the water to return almost immediately with a small fish/eel in its mouth which it seemed to offer to me as a gift. No_B19otter01 / 02

Describing it as ‘One of God’s magic moments,’ 14-year old Alex Barnett of Glasgow experienced a chimerical moment and managed to capture it with these photographs. Explaining the experience Alex said: ‘My papa and I parked in the lay-by in Lamlash at the “No Fishing” sign to take a photograph of a seal. Suddenly an Otter appeared at my feet, stared at me then disappeared below the water to return almost immediately with a small fish/eel in its mouth which it seemed to offer to me as a gift.