Arran Banner Letters – week 49, 2021

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Best and brightest yet


From all of us that were involved in the Santa’s Sparkle, on November 27, we want to say a massive thank you to the people of Arran (and beyond) for joining us on a glorious sunny day!

Despite storm warnings, boats being off and still in the midst of a global pandemic we believe over 1,000 people enjoyed the day and took part in the parades, games, stalls, lighting the tree and, of course, meeting Santa.

We want to thank everyone who helped us make this the best and brightest Sparkle yet, including Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue, RNLI, Glenkiln Farm, The Isle of Arran Pipe Band, our Viking, The Isle of Arran Music School, Arran Soul Choir, Dance Arran, KA Leisure, Mitie, Arran Banner, Visit Arran, North Ayrshire Council, Arran High School, The Co-op, Lamlash Improvements, Arran Women’s Institute, Midnight Storm, all of our donors and sponsors, all the stall holders, the magnificent Sparkle Princess Alyssa Simpson and all the young people (and everyone else not as young) for giving your time, energy and efforts in helping make this years Santa’s Sparkle the biggest, best and brightest yet.

We shone brighter because of you – thank you!

To round off the day, The PHT and The Pavilionnaires provided a great evening of food, music and entertainment and we raised £201 in the raffle to begin the journey of getting ready for next year’s Sparkle.

In the words of one young person who said: ‘I had the best day ever!’, I did and hope you all did too?


Michael Gettins,
Lamlash Events.


Grateful thanks


I would be obliged if I could relate through the Banner my sincere thanks and gratitude to all those who helped myself, and my dogs Finn and Nara, after my accident.

I apologise to all whose journey was curtailed for a while, and those I left standing once I climbed out the wreck that was my car.

I only had Nara in the car and was desperate to find Finn, who was evidently heading back over the String at speed towards Brodick.

Special thanks to PCs Jimmy Baird and Colin Haddow; Jill Devine, the lady who headed off after Finn in her car; Elizabeth Bell for picking him up; Charlotte, vet, for taking care of him; Angus Lambie for coming and taking away what was left of the car, and all those whose names I am not familiar with.

It was a horrible experience (I’d only got the car five weeks was ago!) but the kindness of everyone made it not so bad.

Sarah Hay,



Save our heritage


It would seem if a very old special building is not mentioned or listed in various reports, it somehow loses it’s importance, as seems to be one of the issues over Shannochie.

The private house at Shannochie was never the Post Office. It was a lovely family home.

The Post Office was, where it still is, albeit without its thatched roof, still the very same building which could, and should, be repaired, with a bit of tender loving care and compassion.

The row of cottages mentioned consisted of the one adjacent to the post office which also belonged to the family, which was altered in 1980; nothing to do with the actual post office building.

Mr Sym states it would be primarily for family use only and short term lets; call me cynical – but really!

One big reason the house is looking sad and unloved is the door of the lean-to – which has been recently added – has been open to the elements month after month, year after year, and no heating has been used.

The little cottage on the roadside which the late Mr Sym stayed in most of his adult life, as I understand it, is still in my dad’s name.

The applicant hopes to retain the old Post Office box if approved by the Post Office – big deal. Please save our heritage!


Sandra Macmillan,

Brodick, originally Shannochie.


Harbour answers wanted


Prompted by the current ferry disruption caused by unsatisfactory infrastructure, the following is an extract from a letter sent to our MSP Kenneth Gibson on November 24, still to be acknowledged.

As it stands right now, Ardrossan is scheduled to close in Autumn 2022. There is no agreement with Peel Ports. There has been no tender process, and therefore no contractor has been appointed. There are no final designs for the shore side infrastructure.

As a further complication to this already confused situation, the new Hull 801/Glen Sannox is due for delivery in Autumn 2022.

This vessel will have a significantly reduced operational window in Ardrossan, meaning a diversion to Troon will be required irrespective of whether the works at Ardrossan start on time or not.

In spring 2021, it was confirmed that the service would divert to Troon during the closure period.

We still have no detail on the proposed timetable, or vital local logistics and onward connectivity.

The Ardrossan Harbour Task Force itself does not appear to have met since December 2020, which is hardly indicative of a key infrastructure project with any momentum.

There is growing and widespread concern that this project is drifting towards an inevitable delay.

The consequence of which will be extending the disruption to our lifeline ferry service well beyond the current completion date of Spring 2024, prolonging the extensive negative social and economic effects of this chaotic project on Arran’s residents, businesses and visitors.

We request you to use the upcoming Task Force meeting on December 7 to ensure the residents and businesses of Arran are fully and completely updated on the progress and schedule of this critical upgrade project.

We request – again – to be invited to these meetings as a properly constituted representative body to ensure the community voice is heard, and that the community is fully updated on this project.


Sam Bourne BEng (Hons),

For Arran Ferry Action Group.