THE second half of 2020 was dominated by news of the virus, the second wave and hope of a vaccine.

As the summer went on there were signs of life returning to normal, but it was not to be.

Still, in amongst all the doom and gloom there were a few wonderful tales from across the Wee County.


A CAMBUS man thought he might be hallucinating when spotting an unlikely creature on the road during a late night drive early July.

Finn O’Hagan came across a wallaby on the roads of Carron Valley and simply could not believe his eyes upon discovering the animal, native to Australia.

He filmed the discovery in a hilarious video to send to his mum and thought a wider audience might enjoy the funny exchange on Facebook as a break away from bleak news.

Armed with his best Australian accent, the man approached the creature in a bid to encourage it closer.

July 8, Page 6

A YOUNG musician completed a 100-night piping challenge with plans to continue raising funds for Strathcarron Hospice.

Max Rae, a pupil at Dollar Academy, was seen playing the bagpipes around his Bridge of Allan home and in the Wee County during the lockdown as a way of raising funds for the good cause.

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In July he completed 100 sessions in a row, having started in March, raising incredible £9,192 for the hospice.

And while the original challenge was complete, Max was determined to extend the initiative until he secured as much as £12,900 – the running costs of the hospice for a day.

July 8, Page 4

THE parks should have been packed for the 164th Famous Alva Games with organisers vowing to bring the popular Hillfoots event back in 2021.

While it was not possible to bring people together for the usual day of traditional competitions due to coronavirus restrictions, games chiefs were at the Johnstone and Cochrane Parks on Saturday, July 11, for a “non-opening ceremony”.

Clackmannnanshire’s Lord Lieutenant Johnny Stewart, honorary life chairman Ken McCaffrey, chairman James Sharp, treasurer John Glencross attended along with committee members Euan MacPherson, William Richardson and Ryan Martin.

All kept a safe distance with special thanks to young Kyle Rees for providing the musical backdrop on his pipes.

July 15, Page 8


A SAUCHIE youngster ditched his stabilisers to pedal for a good cause over the past month, raising vital funds to support children.

Charlie Pearcy, 6, completed the mammoth sponsored challenge, cycling 300km over 30 days to raise money for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).

The achievement was made even more amazing by the fact that the Craigbank PS pupil could not ride a bike without stabilisers until the challenge started. He had just turned six at the end of June and received his first bicycle with no stabilisers attached as a birthday present.

August 5, Page 9

A FATHER and son duo have completed a 280-mile cycle from Clackmannanshire all the way to Scotland’s most northerly high school.

Menstrie’s David McLaren, 54, and youngster Nathanael, 15, set off from Alva Academy on Wednesday (July 29) towards Thurso High School.

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The pair pedalled at least 75 kilometres every day for five days, before finally arriving at their destination.

Along the way they had some ups and downs, and also managed to raise funds for Alva Academy’s Tanzania expedition in 2021 – which Nathanael hopes to take part in.

August 12, Page 12

YOUNG people at two Sauchie schools were benefitting from a donation of stationery as they returned to full-time education.

The town’s Craigbank and Deerpark primaries have received 150 full pencil cases between them to make the start of the new term a little bit easier.

The donation was delivered by Kate Turner and Craig Miller of Sauchie Community Group, where members were hoping to support families hard-hit by the coronavirus crisis.

Craig, co-community manager at the group, told the Advertiser: “We are delighted to be able to donate these stationery packs to Craigbank and Deerpark Primary school.”

August 19, Page 3


TWO quick-thinking council workers were hailed as heroes for helping to save a man’s life after he fell unconscious in his Alloa garden.

Mark Allan and Stephen Lamb, maintenance operatives at Kelliebank, were on their way to a routine work call when they spotted a man lying on the grass in his back garden.

Rather than thinking nothing more of it, they decided to check on him to be sure everything was alright.

However, they quickly realised the man was not breathing and immediately called for an ambulance.

Despite having no formal first aid training under their belts, the duo bravely carried out chest compressions for more than 10 minutes until the ambulance arrived.

September 9, Page 7,grass%20in%20his%20back%20garden

TRIBUTES were paid to the Wee County’s longest serving MP after he passed away at the age of 75.

Lord Martin O’Neill of Clackmannan died peacefully at Western General Hospital on Thursday, August 27.

He was a loving husband of Elaine, proud dad of Michael and Peter and an adoring granddad of Annabel, Lucy and Alexander.

Lord O’Neill was first elected to represent Clackmannan and Eastern Stirlingshire in 1979.

September 9, Page 8

A WEE COUNTY mum recalled the dramatic moment she gave birth in an ambulance – just three days after finding out she was pregnant.

On Tuesday, July 7, Stacey Stevenson visited the doctor because she had high blood pressure and swollen feet.

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She was then given the bombshell news that she was in fact pregnant, and had been for months. Fast forward to Saturday, July 10, and Stacey, 30, began telling friends after overcoming the initial shock.

Little did she know, however, that at around 11.30pm that night, she would be phoning and ambulance when her waters broke.

September 16, Page 7


SAFETY devices for women who have left abusive relationships were being distributed in the Wee County.

The Resilience Learning Partnership (RLP), which previously made headlines with its craft box initiative during lockdown, has teamed up with police and fire service colleagues to help protect women in Clacks.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service already fits letterbox defender safety devices to ensure that flammable items cannot be put through the front door with RLP taking the initiative further in a bid to support women who left abusive relationships.

Melanie Mitchell, Violence Against Women Partnership (VAWP) co-ordinator for Clackmannanshire and an employee at RLP, said: “RLP are delighted to continue their work with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service with this project.”

October 7, Page 9

A DEDICATED Menstrie volunteer was set to receive the British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to the community during the coronavirus crisis.

David Sharp, of Menstrie Community Council, was named on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his outstanding contribution throughout the crisis.

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He has been spearheading the community response to Covid-19 in Menstrie for many months since lockdown began in March.

Dave organised funding for several projects, going above and beyond by all accounts.

October 14, Page 9

A WEE COUNTY woman celebrated her 100th birthday at a Clackmannanshire care home.

Edna Doris Mundy Denny became a centenarian on October 1, and was treated to a party organised by staff at Sauchie’s Beechwood Park Care Home to mark the occasion.

Though the coronavirus pandemic has made celebrating such events far harder, staff and family members worked hard to ensure Edna enjoyed her big day.

One staff member at Beechwood Park told the Advertiser: “Edna’s birthday went really really well.”

October 14, Page 12


A WEE COUNTY man and his family spent Remembrance Sunday delivering meals to veterans after their usual event to mark the occasion was scuppered by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Stevie Preston, who is the licence holder of Alloa’s Station Hotel, has become well known for the generous support he provides.

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As the Advertiser has previously reported, that includes hosting veterans at the hotel on Remembrance Sunday, where he provides entertainment and a hot meal.

Unfortunately, given the current restrictions in place due to the pandemic, that was simply impossible this year.

November 11, Page 4

A SAUCHIE woman has raised crucial funds for Poppyscotland by selling hand-crafted dog collar flowers for pooches.

Rebekah Weir felt compelled to help servicemen and women after realising the impact lockdown will have on the charity.

Poppyscotland is likely to face severe financial difficulties this year, with coronavirus restrictions preventing poppy collections in person for the first time.

The University of Stirling student was able to call on dog lovers from all over the UK to help after starting a Facebook page for cocker spaniel owners last year.

November 11, Page 5

THE Wee County received a pedal power boost as three electric bike stations opened in Alloa, Dollar and Tillicoultry.

Hire points will be located by Alloa Train Station, Strathdevon Primary School and by Devon Way on Moss Road, giving locals easy access to Forth Bike’s 120 e-bike network.

Clacks residents will be able to access to the new stations from today, Wednesday, November 18.

Forth Bike was launched by charity Forth Environment Link last year and is Scotland’s only cross regional scheme; connecting Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

November 18, Page 12


A WEE COUNTY youngster has handed over a huge haul of essentials to a foodbank after holding a successful fundraiser in aid of those in need this Christmas.

Tullibody’s Amelia Hollingworth, 3, decided to gather her own pennies and ask others for theirs in a bid to help The Gate this festive season.

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Dad Matthew, 26, says his wee one managed to raise a staggering £180 as a result, and that money went towards a huge shopping haul for the Alloa-based charity.

He told the Advertiser: “Every year we try to do something to let her know there’s people less well-off than herself.”

December 2, Page 10

A TEAM of nurses and doctors from NHS Forth Valley have smashed a fundraising target to support a foodbank in Alloa.

Healthcare staff from Forth Valley Royal Hospital’s Mental Health Acute Assessment Team recently finished fundraising efforts for The Gate Charity, having completed a 10km run.

They originally set out to raise £500 for the good cause, which has seen a huge increase in demand as previously reported by the Advertiser.

However, they smashed that target with more than £2,804 raised by the time of writing.

December 2, Page 16

DELIGHTED children from an Alloa nursery last week had the chance to see their creations at the annual Festival of Light as the area got into the Christmas spirit.

The youngsters from Little Stars Nursery were treated to a trip to St Mungo’s Parish Church where the annual festival has been proving to be a beacon of hope – as reported last week.

The visit came as the nursery sponsored one of the 30 trees on display, with each tree dressed up by individuals and businesses from in and around the town as a sign of community spirit following a challenging year.

December 9, Page 15