At Random with Martin Laing week 06

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Scandal of firms refusing to deliver

The latest issue to get my blood boiling is the point-blank refusal of some retailers – including Currys and the Co-op – to deliver household items to the West Highlands.

As we report elsewhere this week, one family from Oban tried to order a cooker but were dismayed to discover these firms refused to deliver.

It is an absolute scandal.

We have long lived with the fact we, in areas such as Argyll, the isles and Lochaber have been penalised with high charges for deliveries but for these companies now to simply refuse to accommodate us at all is outrageous.

Other retailers take an opposite view and cater well for those of us in remote and rural communities.

Their position seems to be that customer service and their own reputation are better served by them absorbing some of the delivery costs themselves.

That should be the thinking for all these big companies. They should be ashamed of themselves for treating us with the utter disdain they have displayed in this instance.

So what can be done about it?

Simple: boycott these firms and urge your family and friends to do likewise. There are plenty of alternatives.

Amazing response to Nancy Glen fund

The loss of the fishing boat Nancy Glen was a desperately cruel blow.

The families and friends of the two missing fishermen – skipper Duncan MacDougall and crew member Przemek Krawczyk – are still grieving and, for them, the pain is exacerbated by the fact they have not yet been found.

However, the response of communities across Argyll has been absolutely amazing, with more than £200,000 raised so far.

The generosity of people all over the region – many of them with no links to the fishing industry – has been overwhelming.

It is a great credit to the people of Argyll.

Alison deserves the highest praise

Oban is renowned for its close-knit communities and a level of generosity of spirit that is rarely equalled elsewhere.

It is, of course, people who are responsible for this sense of belonging which is manifest in a selflessness and willingness to help others.

The are countless individuals who go above and beyond to make life better for others, and among them, as we report this week, is very definitely Alison MacKenzie.

Alison has just retired after around 30 years as a leader of the Girl Guides in the town.

Countless young ladies have benefited down all these years from the sterling commitment shown by Alison. They are all very lucky to have known her.

Enjoy your ‘retirement’, Alison.

Trio are inspiring leaders for Oban

As we report on page nine today, in an excellent piece written by Mike Faulkner, a director of Atlantis Leisure, the sports centre has had just three chairmen in its 25-year history.

As with Alison MacKenzie, I salute these three inspiring guys for their dedicated and selfless service to a crucially important facility that, I am very pleased to say, is going from strength to strength.

As an occasional user of Atlantis, and having been involved in recent times with the Oban Sports Hub, I can testify to the wide range of sports and other activities that are available at the centre.

Atlantis Leisure is at the heart of the Oban community and we have been proud to partner the centre for publicity and other purposes to highlight the excellent work done by the team there.

Hugh McLean, Roy Clunie and Neil Matheson have given – and continue to give – exceptionally of their time for the benefit of others.

Pats on the back all round, gentlemen.

What do you think?

Write to me at or The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4 HB.