TULLIBODY resident Netta Forbes celebrated her 100th birthday on January 19, celebrating with a party at the Orchard Care Home.

Provost Tina Murphy and Clacks deputy lieutenant Margaret Paterson attended the party along with Netta’s family and friends.

Netta’s daughter, Irene, told the Advertiser: “It’s hard to believe that she’s got to 100, but she certainly doesn’t look it.

Netta was born in Sauchie and worked in Alloa before moving to London with her husband John. While in London, World War Two broke out and so Netta and John returned to Alloa where they set up home on North Street. (January 9, pg. 9)

THREE Wee County residents were recognised on the queen’s New Year Honours List.

Dollar resident Anne Lavery, chief operating officer at Citizen’s Advice Scotland, was awarded an OBE for her services to consumers.

Sandy Farquharson, of Alva and former director of The Marie Trust, received an MBE for his services to the homeless, disabled and socially excluded.

Inspector Craig Rankine, QPM, was awarded an MBE, his second queen’s honour, for services to law and order and young people. (January 9, pg. 14)

BABY Jasper McNiven became the first Wee County baby to be born in 2019.

Jasper arrived into the world at 11.07am Monday, January 7, weighing a healthy 7lbs 14ozs.

He joins brother Jensen, sister Jorgiana and half-brother Adam.

Robbie Duffy, acting general manager for the women and children’s Directorate at NHS Forth Valley, said at the time: “It’s not often we wait a week after Ne Year to welcome a Clackmannanshire baby into the world.

“We are sure that baby Jasper was worth the wait.” (January 2, pg. 2)


TWO SYRIAN refugees opened a barber shop in Alloa this week, rebuilding their lives after fleeing the war-torn country.

Mohamad Alwan, a barber by trade before hostilities broke out, opened the shop with Neehad Othman on the high street.

Mohamad arrived in the Wee County with his family and in 2017 and began working on his English with the community and the council.

He began volunteering at a Turkish barber and soon gathered the courage to open his own space.

He said: “With determination, I started to learn fast, met new people and made friendships.

“I now feel relaxed to start a new challenge.” (February 6, pg. 10)

WEE COUNTY woman Claire Ritchie hosted a ladies night to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland.

Claire hosted the charity night at The Oakwood in Sauchie for her aunt who was diagnosed with the disease.

Stalls included Ann Summers and there were also raffles, cakes, glitter art and body creams.

70 people attended and the total raised was a huge £1,800 which did not include donations still to come in. (February 6, pg. 22)

TWO YOUNG girls became the first Brownies in the Wee County to earn a prestigious award.

Emily Stephen and Megan Childs, both from Dollar, became Clackmannanshire’s inaugural recipients of the gold award, the highest recognition a Brownie can achieve.

Tricia Davenport, a leader at the organisation, told the Advertiser: “We are very proud. They have been here since they were seven years old, we have kind of watched them grow up.”

Emily said her favourite part of Brownies were the sleepovers while Megan added: “I love everything about the Brownies.” (February 13, pg. 6)

AN ALLOA mum was thrilled about a new medical treatment being made available on the NHS after it changed her son Zac’s life.

Amy Cameron’s son Zac was diagnosed with the rare muscle-wasting condition spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type one and after being selected to be given the treatment, Amy said it gave her son “the chance at life.”

She told the Advertiser: “We are absolutely over the moon that everyone in Scotland will get the treatment.

“it is a miracle, it’s amazing.” (February 20, pg. 4)


CELEBRATIONS in Muckhart took place for a dedicated teaching assistant marking her 25th anniversary with the village primary school.

Christina Sutherland, who joined the school in 1994, was treated to cake, balloons and flowers from pupils and staff in recognition of her services to the community.

Headteacher Lesley McGlinchie said: “At first she worked in the kitchen, then as a caretaker and cleaner and now as a learning assistant.

“Some people even come back just to see her.” (March 6, pg. 11)

AWARDS were handed out to the most dedicated people in the Wee County at an annual awards ceremony.

Alexander Harvey was named Clackmannanshire Citizen of the Year at the Spiers Centre in Alloa, while Katherine Martin was named Young Citizen of the year.

Provost Tina Murphy said: “Congratulations to Alexander and Katherine.

“Once again we have had a very strong field and a difficult decision was taken to decide who our overall winner was.” (March 13, pg. 22)

COURAGEOUS bystanders were hailed for their efforts in helping to save a man’s life in Alloa.

Two ambulances arrived at Shillinghill to attend to a man who had collapsed near the bus stop.

While waiting for them to arrive, Alicia Bradie, Gemma Roach and Kim Mcdougall rushed into action, despite being in what Alicia described as a “really scary” situation.

Professionals then took over and rushed the man, in his fifties, to Forth Valley Royal Hospital. (March 20, front page)

A WEE COUNTY teenager became a world champion in kickboxing after winning gold at a major sporting event in Asia.

Luca Allison, 16, travelled to Asia with the Scotland team and brought back gold and silver medals.

Hailed as a role model to young athletes in the country, Luca said: “I am working hard to ensure I keep up my momentum both in my kickboxing and in my learning.” (March 27, back page)


WEE COUNTY athletes took on the Alloa Half-Marathon in the beautiful sunshine following last year’s postponement due to snow.

Runners from all over Scotland travelled to Alloa for the race and raise money for all different charities.

The first man to cross the finish-line was Fife AC’s Kevin Wood, who complete the 13.1-mile marathon in just over 68 minutes.

Morag Miller, of Central AC, was the fastest woman, coming in at 1:16:65.

Race director John O’Malley, of organisers Alloa Round Table, hailed the event as “the best year yet.” (April 3, pg. 24)

DOLLAR teacher Jilly McCord reached the finals of MasterChef and compared it to competing at the Grand National.

Jilly, a former rugby union internationalist, applied after being encouraged by family and friends.

She was part of the competition’s first ever all-female final along with Maria Asser and eventual winner Irini Tzortzoglou.

Jilly said: “I felt real pride and relief getting that far and joy for Irini.

“It was just a really, really special day.” (April 10, pg. 5)

A MEMORIAL was unveiled for a Wee County BMX pro described as an outstanding character.

Grant Benvie died in February 2018 after taking his own life.

Grant was remembered proudly by his sister Catherine, who said: “He pulled loads of people out the gutter.

“He never had a bad bone in his body. If he saw something that wasn’t right, he would help.”

A bespoke bench was created by Gary McGrouther and unveiled in Tullibody in memory of a young man and a “caring and dedicated friend.” (April 17, pg. 2)

AN ALLOA man was given a new lease of life from his father who flew home from America to donate an organ.

Allan Watson’s kidneys shut down in 2018 and his father Ian underwent an operation to save his son.

Allan, who thought he was having a hangover “lasting a few weeks”, then spent 10 months on dialysis.

His father flew back and forth from America three or four times for tests before the operation. (April 17, pg. 7)


A WEE COUNTY man was given a truly fitting send off as he was laid to rest.

David Smith, from Tillicoultry, was given a blue-light journey by his colleagues from the emergency services at his funeral.

David, known by those close to him as Smudger, spent most of his life as an ambulance technician.

The tribute was arranged by Juliette Blair, his close friend and colleague, after she received the blessing for the idea from his family.

Juliette said: “He loved the job and was so proud to be an ambulance technician.

“Most of all he lived for his family, they were his world.” (May 15, pg. 5 and front page)

A TEENAGER from the Wee County smashed her fundraising target as part of an appearance on a TV dance contest.

Tiegan Comrie took part in Strictly Kids 2019, the junior version of the popular TV programme.

She raised a whopping £2,028, beating her original target of £500 by over £1,500.

Despite high scores from the judges, she missed out on the top spot, however proud mum Gayle said: “To be the highest fundraiser [was amazing], that’s what it’s all about.” (May 22, pg. 3)

A PENSIONER from the Wee County also raised a fantastic sum for charity after completing a 214-mile hike.

Sarah Robertson, 76, completed the hike in 17-and-a-half days, including wild camping at night, with her husband David.

Sarah took on the trek for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Scotland, in memory of her friend Anne Shearer who died because of the disease.

She set out a target of £1,000 and raised over double the amount, saying: “[I’ve had] a lot of encouragement from people and I think it has heightened the awareness of MND.” (May 22, pg. 9)

A YOUNG man completely turned his life around and overcame some personal challenges to become a sporting hero.

Lewis McDermid, from Alva, has autism and found primary school very difficult, until he met teacher David Kerr when he was in P7.

Mr Kerr worked hard to make sure Lewis was included in the classroom and then put him forward for Clackmannan Council primary school athletics for the Additional Support Needs (ASN) department.

His mum Tracey said: “He’d never really been interested in sport, but he went and won gold in the javelin.”

He has now won over 50 medals and even gave a speech in front of the whole school when he ran for head boy, something people thought he wouldn’t be able to do.

Although he didn’t become head boy, he is a school ambassador and house captain at Alva Academy.

Tracey added: “He’s worked so hard to make things right in his life.

“He’s just so keen to succeed in everything he does.” (May 29, pg. 16)


THE LAST of the original Tron Court traders retired with a party after 52 years in the industry.

Wilson Orr, of Tron Barbers, was described as a “pillar of the community” and hung up his scissors after cutting hair for over half a century.

Wilson’s last customer was his uncle Frank, who was also the first person brave enough to let Wilson cut his hair.

Wilson closed his shop at 3pm alongside his wife and helper Anne, thanking his customers who he said “are more like friends who I will miss immensely.” (June 5, pg. 4)

A WEE COUNTY woman enjoyed a well-earned rest after completing the London Marathon and earning a huge four-figure sum in the process.

Sarah-Jane Burns, a teaching assistant, signed up for the marathon in an effort to encourage herself to lose weight.

Sarah-Jane, who raised £4,000 for Girlguides, insisted it’s never too late to change your life.

She said: “Anyone who is reading this and thinking they can’t change their life, you can.

“I have changed my life in so many ways, for the better and forever.” (June 5, pg. 11)

A MENSTRIE woman who challenged herself to combat her demons hoped her journey would inspire others.

Samantha Brander, who says she “struggled and suffered” for a few years, decided to sign up for a body building competition.

Losing a family member and a friend while training proved to be a blow however she powered through and took the stage in Perth for the national championships.

Despite not gaining a podium finish, Samantha was thrilled with her achievement and hopes it will encourage others to try something out of their comfort zone.

She said: “[Last] October I posted on Instagram how I wake up every day wishing I didn’t.

“Now, I just feel like I’m a different person, which came from doing this.” (June 12, pg. 2)