THE Easter holidays give school pupils time to recharge their batteries and have a bit of fun, doing activities they love to do.

For some that is hanging out at a local park, going on a shopping trip, or heading up into hills.

At Menstrie, one of the draws for youngsters is Menstrie Burn and the Glen above, but one afternoon in the early 1920s tragedy struck, and a boy was killed.

On Monday 2nd April 1923, it was the start of the holidays. A group of boys and girls had left Alloa and headed to Menstrie to go up the glen and onto Menstrie Hill to have a picnic.

They got as far as the Washing Lin of Menstrie Burn where they stopped to have their picnic. They built a fire and ate their lunch round it, enjoying their adventure. They then proceeded up the face of the hill.

One member of the group was 12-year-old William Thomson, son of George Thomson, a mechanic in Alloa.

He lived at Hill Street in Alloa and, like many his age, enjoyed venturing into the Ochils. On that day he suddenly slipped on some soft ground, lost his footing, and fell around 30 feet into the burn below. As he fell, his head hit a overhanging rock and he landed in around four feet of water.

His friends were horrified. George Thomson, his friend from Tullibody Road in Alloa, made his way down the side of the crevasse until he reached him.

He saw him in the water and without any thought for his own safety, jumped into the pool and hauled William to the bank.

Meanwhile, four others ran to Menstrie police station to raise the alarm. They spoke to Constable Gow and told him what had happened.

He phoned Dr Davidson in Alva to come as quickly as he could, then followed the children to the place of the incident. By the time he got there, he could see the boy was already dead and there was nothing he could do.

William's body was taken back to the police station by which time Dr Davidson had arrived in the village. He examined him and fund that he had died of a broken neck. The body was then taken to the mortuary at Alloa.

William was buried at Sunnyside Cemetery on 4th April 1923. It was a sombre affair.

While the hills are a wonderful playground for many, danger is never too far away.