Arran Banner letters – week 53, 2021

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Sparkling donations


On behalf of all my six schools, and I know that Mrs Foster, head teacher in Lamlash will agree, can I pass on a huge thanks to everyone at Santa’s Sparkle for donating a cheque for £100 to each of the school parent councils.

A successful event takes a huge amount of behind-the-scenes planning and preparation, and Santa’s Sparkle certainly showed the many talents of the island, the huge amount of creativity around and brought some happiness and fun to many. My thanks go to all involved.

Fundraising opportunities have been limited over the last almost two years, so this donation is much appreciated and goes towards opportunities for the children to enhance their experiences.

Best wishes for 2022.


Shirley MacLachlan,

Head teacher.


Arran cats


We would like to thank all our supporters on the Isle of Arran and beyond for helping us to help the cats on Arran.

After a national charity closed the island branch unexpectedly during the Covid pandemic in 2019, volunteers here on Arran decided to ensure the cats did not suffer as a result.

Thus, Arran Cat Rescue was born, and with a small but growing group of volunteers has been helping cats for the last 18 months.

We could not have done it without your help, and you have all been fantastic in your response and support – Thank You.

Anyone thinking of donating towards Arran Cat Rescue should be aware that the volunteers all give their time freely, no wages, no advertising budgets, central costs, or control.

Unlike national charity groups every penny raised stays on Arran and helps the cats here on the island to ensure they are vet health checked and receive all appropriate veterinary care as needed before they are rehomed and that we also run a feral trap, neuter and return (TNR) campaign.

We receive no government assistance, no help from any national charity and rely on donations from residents; as well as tourists and supporters on the mainland, right across the UK.

If you wish to contact us please do so via our Facebook page We shall have a website soon so watch this space!

We always need more volunteers, particularly those who can help either with fostering or trapping cats for neutering; someone who would like to help with the Facebook page who has experience of doing so as well as volunteers who would like to help with fundraising. All training is given, and cat care costs covered when fostering.


Linda Hartley, Teresa Beckett, Frances Coyle, Iris Russell, Charlotte Karsmeijer and Pietre Johnston,

Arran Cat Rescue.


Faster connections


With record demand on our broadband and mobile networks – and periods of extreme Scottish weather to contend with – I’d like to thank all our front-line colleagues for keeping our customers and communities connected during a challenging year.

The pandemic has accelerated Scotland’s shift online. We’ve learned new terms like ‘Zoom calls’ and ‘vaccine passports’.

With the average home predicted to have 50 connected devices by 2023, families need better and faster connections, no matter where they live.

To future-proof our networks, BT Group confirmed plans to invest around £15bn so Openreach can extend its ultrafast, full-fibre broadband network to 25 million UK homes and businesses by 2026.

More than 438,000 Scottish premises can already order full-fibre, with thousands enjoying ultra-reliable, ultrafast speeds.

Our mobile network, EE, has already reached around 40 per cent of the UK’s population with 5G, with plans to offer the service in every corner of the UK by 2028. And on 4G, we’ll expand our network to 600 more rural Scottish communities by 2025.

This ultrafast connectivity is being expanded on a daily basis. We’re building like fury, and we know there’s more to do.

To make sure this digital future benefits as many people as possible, we published a ‘manifesto’ for the next decade, setting out how we’ll support responsible technology, become more inclusive and do more on climate action, including electrifying our vehicle fleet.

Despite these challenging times, we’re working hard to bring next-generation networks and digital services to millions more in the coming years.


Jane Wood,

BT Group Scotland Director,



Fireworks pet plea


National pet charity Blue Cross is once again urging people to consider the devastating effect fireworks can have on animals and people, and to be sensitive to their neighbours this New Year’s Eve.

We know only too well the fear and distress fireworks cause to animals, with 70 per cent of owners reporting their pets being affected – trembling, panting, drooling and being too frightened to leave the house for days after.

As another difficult year for everyone draws to a close, it is understandable the British public will be wanting to celebrate new hope for 2022, but we’d urge people to stick to sparklers during their celebrations this year, for the sake of animals and people.

If this really isn’t possible, then opt for low noise fireworks and please let your neighbours and the community know in advance – this allows some preparation for those people and animals that are particularly vulnerable and frightened.


Claire Stallard,

Animal behaviourist,

Blue Cross.