December 2017 Update

Dear Friends,
I am writing to update you in our chairperson Allison Hillis’ absence in Australia.
National Trust for Scotland/Friends of Geilston working group
To recap: at a meeting in September Simon Skinner, chief executive officer of the NTS, gave
a number of undertakings on the immediate future of Geilston, the most important being that
the garden would re-open as normal in 2018. The Friends had also requested that a working
group be set up to secure the future of Geilston.
At our first meeting in October the two parties put their respective positions and the Friends
tabled a report “How to save Geilston: a pre-options ideas paper on the future of Geilston
House and Garden”. At the second meeting in November the NTS responded with a power
point presentation, giving details of costs and possible income for some of the suggestions
proposed by the Friends. These costs require to be developed and completed for the
following: the conversion of the house to create a large holiday let, a cafe in the courtyard, a
play barn and/or a multipurpose space for a range of garden related activities, and the
possibility of holding weddings on the property.
Securing the future of Geilston is a huge responsibility for the NTS and the Friends and
requires both parties to be committed to its future. At the next meeting in January we are hoping
to hear from the NTS on how these initial and by no means final proposals might be
funded and what income they might generate for the garden. The Friends’ position is that
Miss Hendry’s financial legacy should be used to support the property, if all other funding
options are exhausted. We will report on what I hope is progress in the New Year.
The number of Friends now stands at almost 450 members: an astonishing number that reflects
both the support for Geilston but also the anger in the local community as a result of
how its future has been handled by the Trust. The Friends are in the process of setting up a
bank account and when we have done so we will be able to accept the offers of financial help
already received and to request a modest subscription of £5 to cover our costs. More details
will be provided in a newsletter in the New Year.
2018 Geilston Calendars with beautiful photographs of the garden are still available at
Ardardan, Linda Macdonald, Lomond Soaps ad Shooftie for a modest cost of £5 :
an excellent small present.
Finally, thank you to all Friends for your support and best wishes for a Happy Christmas.
Mike Thornley
Vice chairperson

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