National Park Pioneers Celebrated

NEWS RELEASE from The Friends of Loch Lomond and The  Trossachs                                                                           

 20th August, 2012


                                      National Park Pioneers Celebrated


To mark the 10th anniversary of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park three individuals who campaigned vigorously for National Park status and have served the area well over many years were honoured  at a special celebration lunch organised by the Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, with sponsorship from Argyll and Bute Council.


At the lunch, held at the Lodge on Loch Lomond Hotel yesterday, Dr. Hannah Stirling MBE, Lord John McFall of Alcuith and Billy Petrie OBE JP DL, the former Provost of Argyll and Bute Council and chairman of the various tourist organisations covering the National Park area, were all honoured for their tireless work in  helping to secure Scotland's first National Park and contributing to the well being of the area in a number of other ways.


Commenting on the contribution of all three individuals the Chairman of the Friends, James Fraser said:'' These are  three remarkable individuals who all in their own way have played a major part in securing the creation of the National Park and they have consistently over many decades selflessly worked hard to promote and protect this special place which is home to 16,000 local residents and plays host to 4 million visitors from other parts of the UK and overseas annually.''



He added: ''We were delighted to mark the contribution of Lord John McFall of Alcuith and Billy Petrie by appointing them both as Honorary Vice-Presidents of the Friends and we were also pleased that the guest of honour Dr. Hannah Stirling MBE received a commemorative engraved quaich from Billy Petrie on behalf of Argyll and Bute Council to mark her outstanding contribution to the protection and promotion of Loch Lomond.''


At the celebratory lunch both Billy Petrie and Lord McFall described Hannah as a truly remarkable lady who has done so much over so many years as the 'Queen of Loch Lomond' through her work with the Friends and also her own charitable Trust. They referred to the successful campaign led by Hannah in the late 1970s to safeguard Ben Lomond from a major hydro dam scheme; the support to bring the Ben into the ownership of the National Trust for Scotland followed by the creation of Scotland's National Memorial Park to commemorate the fallen in two world wars; the many conservation and access projects delivered under her watchful eye and her passionate and prolonged lobbying to convince respective Governments and senior politicians of the merits of designating the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs area as a National Park.


In paying tribute to the work of Lord McFall, Professor Gavin Arneil, a past Chairman of the Friends said: '' I recall John hosting a number of one day conferences in the early 1990s to keep the fight to secure National Park status in the public eye and I admired his efforts to ensure the creation of a National Park was on the agenda amongst various Government Ministers.  It was largely through his efforts that one of the first pieces of legislation the late Donald Dewar pushed through the new Scottish Parliament was the National Parks Act that led to the creation of  the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park in 2002.''

In his comments on the contribution of Billy Petrie, James Fraser, the current Chairman of the Friends  said: ''Billy has recently stepped down as a Councillor after 45 years of dedicated service for the lochside communities and the wider area and during that time he has been Provost or Convener of no less than 3 Councils and Chairman of 4 tourist bodies and has served on the Park Authority and its predecessors. This is a remarkable track record of public service and we are deeply indebted to him for his outstanding contribution to enriching the lives of so many and ensuring the National Park is a better place to live, work and visit.''