2022-23 Chairman's Annual Report & Accounts

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Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation – number SC024603


Trustees' Annual Report for the year ended 31 March 2023

The Trustees have pleasure in presenting the report together with the financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2023


Charity name - Helensburgh Heritage Trust Charity number - SC024603 

Address - 28 East Abercromby Street, Helensburgh G84 7SQ


Robert Ryan  - Chairman; Fiona Howard - Minute Secretary (co-opted 27 June 2022); Stewart Noble - Treasurer; Dr Nigel Allan - (resigned 30 November 2022); Cecilia Dunlop ( resigned 30 August 2022); Alison Gildea; Alistair McIntyre; Calum McNicol; Chris Packard - (co-opted 13 February 2023); Chris Sanders                                      

Honorary MembersProf Malcolm Baird (President); Michael Davis; William Petrie OBE JP DL  (died August 2022)




The Trust is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO). It was registered in its current legal form on 18 May 2016. It was previously a company limited by guarantee (no SC16377) and also a registered charity with the same number as at present (namely SC024603).

The assets of the company limited by guarantee were transferred to the SCIO automatically on 18 May 2016. It has a single tier structure and as such the trustees are members of the charity.The constitution was amended on 26 February 2021 to allow the Heritage Trust to hold both board meetings and general meetings online, and to permit voting at these meetings online. This amendment was approved by an online vote of members, and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has been informed of the changes.

 Appointment of Trustees

The board, which normally meets several times each year, are the charity's trustees. Membership of the board is open to all members. Trustees are elected at the annual general meeting, and the board has the power to co-opt other trustees. There must be a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 trustees.

 OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES - Charitable Purposes and Activities

The Trustees of the Helensburgh Heritage Trust continue to promote the objects of the Trust in a variety of ways and to build on the successes of previous years.

The Aims and Objects of the Trust are  :

  • Education of the public
  • Preservation, restoration and enhancement of objects of local interest
  • Promoting a wider appreciation of the heritage and history of the area.

To enable the Trust to fulfil its Objectives the Trustees meet regularly throughout the year to consider matters ranging from the stewardship of the Trust’s finances and assets, the provision of a winter programme of speakers on a range of subjects, to the provision of visual displays highlighting aspects of local culture and heritage.

The Trust holds and maintains a wide collection of documents and artefacts, which are catalogued and stored in suitable lock-fast premises in Helensburgh Parish Church. This store is likely to be available to the Trust for the foreseeable future at modest cost and the Trust is appreciative of the Church’s generosity in this regard.

For the most part documents and articles in the Trust’s care have been donated or loaned to the Trust (appropriately recorded) while from time to time modest purchases are made of items which become publicly available. Potential purchases are always discussed and agreed by Trustees in advance and funds are designated for such opportunities.

Helensburgh Heritage Trust Chairman’s Report  - Year ended 31 March 2023

It was both a challenging and very rewarding year for the Trust. As the recovery from lockdown continued, our supporter base (generally the more senior members of the community) gradually became more confident about venturing out in company.

I am delighted to say that this increase in confidence coincided with very healthy attendances at our winter talk series. The Wedding Suite at the Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre is a very good venue for the talks and some minor issues there have now been addressed.

The year saw the resignation from our board of trustees of Dr Nigel Allan. We thank Nigel for his unstinting support of the Trust during his tenure. Nigel delivered a very interesting presentation about Geilston House and Gardens as the finale of our winter talks. I think I am right in saying that this talk broke records in terms of both attendance and donations, and it was a fitting valedictory appearance by Nigel. We wish him well and I doubt that he will be retiring completely from his many activities.

During the year Cecilia Dunlop also resigned as a trustee. She was the last remaining of the original trustees from the foundation of the Heritage Trust in 1996. In addition Calum McNicol also resigned as a trustee, although after 31st March. Pressure of work meant that he left the Board after only 18 months.

Sadly the death occurred of one of our honorary members, namely former provost Billy Petrie. Full tribute has been paid to him in one of our Newsletters.

Last year I also had to record the sad death of Donald Fullarton who was both our minutes secretary and custodian of the Heritage Trust website. To our delight we actually had a volunteer to replace Donald! Like Donald, Fiona Howard is a former editor of the Helensburgh Advertiser, and in May 2022 she was also elected as an Argyll and Bute Councillor, and hence a very busy person.

We were also pleased to welcome Chris Packard to the Trust Board. Chris has extensive experience of local activism and was previously Chairman of the Friends of Hermitage Park. I’m sure that Chris’s enthusiasm and knowledge will serve the Trust very well.

In March, Helensburgh Heritage Trust had a stall at an Exhibition of Local Societies, held at Hermitage Academy. There was much interest in our stall which included rotating digital displays from Helensburgh Memories, our Facebook presence, as well as vintage local artefacts, one of which was me!

Around the same time we also launched an appeal to raise funds for the purchase of a very rare Baird Type A Receiver. We have been offered this for a price of £10,000, and the board decided to use £8,000 of our reserves, and so the target of the appeal was to raise a further £2,000. I am delighted to say that the target was reached just after 31st March. It is now hoped that the receiver will be brought to Helensburgh this Autumn. It is by far the most expensive purchase that the Heritage Trust has ever made.

Storage of our items continues to be a challenge. Helensburgh Parish Church has given us notice to vacate our current store due to several issues with thee building. We continue to search for new premises.

Robert Ryan, August 2023

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