Naval Base Clyde delivers community festive spirit on Garelochside

Royal Marines from 43 Commando and visiting Dutch Marines erect the Community Christmas Tree in Rhu; Garelochhead’s tree is delivered by the troops, and Marines are given a warm welcome by Garelochhead residents at the village’s Brunch Club.

By Gavin Carr

FIVE towns and villages across Helensburgh and Lomond have received a dose of festive spirit courtesy of HM Naval Base Clyde and community partners.

“Operation Christmas Tree” saw Naval Base personnel set to work to source, deliver, and, in some cases, help erect five gigantic Christmas trees, working alongside Community Councils and partners in Argyll and Bute.

Benefiting are: Helensburgh; Garelochhead; Rhu and Shandon; Cove and Kilgreggan; as well as Rosneath and Clynder.  Royal Marines from 43 Commando and visiting members of the Royal Netherland Marine Corps have also been using their muscle power to help put them up in Garelochhead, Rhu and Shandon, and will also assist in Rosneath and Clynder.

“The whole site came together to help the community enjoy the festive season,” said Captain Nick Gibbons, Captain of the Base.  “Many of the Service personnel at the Base live in the local community and this is a great way of saying thank you to those who support us and make us feel welcome.”

Operation Christmas Tree was a true team effort.  The 18-foot and 30-foot trees were sourced from MOD land just outside of RNAD Coulport, felled by Babcock’s Ground and Waste Team, delivered by base transport and in some cases erected by Royal Marines from 43 Commando and visiting Dutch Marines.

Community Council members and partners from Argyll and Bute arranged for the trees to be decorated and lit, providing a bit of seasonal sparkle to towns and villages across the area.

First to receive their tree was Garelochhead, with Rhu and Shandon next on the list on November 13.  Helensburgh’s tree was delivered to Colquhoun Square on November 14, leaving just Kilcreggan and Cove, and Rosneath and Clydner who will receive their Christmas trees early next week.

Watson Robinson, Convenor of Garelochhead Community Council, said: “We were delighted to accept the help on offer from HM Naval Base Clyde.  It’s extremely reassuring to know that when in need we can reach out to both the big and small organisations in our boundaries for help.”

He continued: “On this occasion the lads from 43 Commando and the Marines from Holland done us proud, so the least we could do was invite them into the Brunch Club for tea and a scone.”

Home to the Royal Navy Submarine Service, the Royal Marines of 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group and the First Mine Counter Measures Squadron, HMNB Clyde is one of the largest single site employers in Scotland and its biggest military base.

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