A WEEK-LONG cycle tour of Argyll and Bute’s under-threat primary schools rolled into Port Bannatyne on Friday afternoon.
Somerset Charrington, from Ulva on Mull, arrived at North Bute Primary just after 1.30pm, with an escort of bike-riding and car-driving parents and pupils, to be met by loud cheers from pupils and supporters waiting in the playground.
Amid the throng was Scotland’s newly-reappointed education minister Michael Russell, visiting Bute for the first time since his election as Argyll and Bute’s new MSP at Holyrood.
Mr Charrington, representing the Ulva School Community Association, brought with him a ‘good luck’ card from the previous school on his tour, Skipness Primary, and took away a poster made by North Bute’s pupils showcasing their activities and another good luck card.
Both will be passed on to the penultimate stop on Mr Charrington’s cycle ride, Toward Primary in Cowal; his odyssey is due to end at Luss Primary on Saturday.
“Everyone has been absolutely fantastic – and so supportive,” Mr Charrington told us.
“This is a message of support from our community to all the affected communities across Argyll and Bute to say we’re still thinking of them.”
Mr Russell added: “What Somerset has done is fantastic for two reasons – firstly, it links up all the schools still threatened with closure, and shows there is a common purpose throughout Argyll and Bute.
“Also, because Ulva is no longer on the closure list, is shows that this issue is not just about the nine schools being closed – it’s about protecting and supporting lively rural communities.”