A LIFETIME achievement award has been presented to the secretary of Arrochar, Tarbet and Ardlui Heritage Gropl.

Mary Haggarty, who is also secretary of the local Community Council, was presented with the Hannah Stirling National Park Award by the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs.

THE 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy in 1944 which changed the course of World War Two was marked that evening, June 6, by a special concert in Helensburgh’s Victoria Hall.

And it was attended by 95 year-old burgh woman Jean Holland, a young serving Wren at the time of D-Day and former Helensburgh citizen of the year, who was given a round of applause by the large audience.

A NEW EXHIBITION features Her Royal Highness Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria.

She had a huge impact on Helensburgh and Garelochside, where she lived in Rosneath Castle and loved the beauty and quietness of the Gareloch.

The area provided a haven for her in her later years after a fascinating and busy earlier life inevitable for a daughter of Britain’s longest serving monarch from 1837-1901.

She was born on March 18 1848 and christened Louisa Caroline Alberta, but was always known as Louise. She had four brothers and four sisters, and was the sixth oldest and the fourth of five daughters.

She was to be the daughter of a Queen, sister of a King, aunt of a King, and great aunt of two Kings.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were devoted to each other and were very conscientious parents. Unlike many aristocrats of their time, they had a very close relationship with all of their children.

Like her other siblings, Louise was brought up with the strict programme of education devised by her Prince Albert, and the young children were taught practical tasks, such as cooking, farming, household tasks and carpentry.

From her early years, Louise was a talented and intelligent child, and her artistic talents were quickly recognised. Hallam Tennyson, the son of the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, remarked in 1863 that she could “draw beautifully”.

The exhibition in Inveraray Castle features Princess Louise and her husband, the Marquis of Lorne. It is open daily until October 31 from 10am-5.45pm, and it is included in the Castle admission charge.

HELENSBURGH’S historic Hill House will soon be open for business — despite the erection of a box over the building.

The Charles Rennie Mackintosh mansion in Upper Colquhoun Street is undergoing phase one of a pioneering conservation programme.

THE FRIENDS of Hermitage Park and Helensburgh Heritage Trust have received a grant of £10,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the War Memorial Families Project in Helensburgh.

Awarded through its 'First World War: then and now' programme, the project will focus on researching and creating biographies of all the men of the town named on the memorial in Hermitage Park who were killed in World War One.

To mark the centenary of the First World War, the project will enable local people in Helensburgh to come to preserve the  memories and heritage of the people who lived through the conflict.

Volunteers will collect photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, letters and photos of keepsakes, as well as family tales passed down to help them build a clear picture of what life was really like.

The two organisations will be casting their net far and wide using all the library and online resources and archives available, but most important of all will be the contribution of local families.

They will be providing training and workshops in using archives, and hope that local people who wish to be involved will help deliver the project. Anyone with a relative named on the memorial please is asked to get in touch.

With help from professionals, the information gathered will be digitally recorded and an on-line interactive archive will be created where everyone can access and contribute information. The archive will allow the public to discuss, contribute, share and research information about the Home Front.

The men named on the war memorial were the Burgh’s best men —a butcher’s boy or a stockbroker, it made no difference. They all made the ultimate sacrifice.

The two organisations hope thatthis project will honour them and their families and connect those who live here today with the war dead.

The first workshop dates and events will be announced shortly.

The chair of the Friends, Fiona Baker, said: “We are delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players and look forward to honouring the town’s war dead by uncovering the stories of their lives.

"It is impossible not to be moved by the list of names on the war memorial and now we have an opportunity to find out who they were and about their lives in the town.”

Ríona McMorrow, acting head of the National Lottery Heritage Fund Scotland, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching every corner of the UK.

"With our small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in Helensburgh War Memorial Families Project to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”

AS PART of the HLF-funded Written in the Landscape project, liveArgyll Archives and the Argyll Papers at Inveraray Castle delivered a well-attended local history workshop on Tuesday April 16 at Helensburgh Parish Church Halls.

Archivists introduced both collections and the types of records held in them, focussing on the documents which contain evidence about the history of Helensburgh and Dunbartonshire.

Some of the original records were on display.

HELENSBURGH features twice in the latest edition of a show business magazine.

‘Stagedoor’ is the newsletter of The Scottish Music Hall & Variety Theatre Society, which is in its 40th anniversary year and incorporates The Sir Harry Lauder Society.

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