The organisers of a protest which was held on Saturday afternoon in Milngavie precinct were delighted with the turnout of people on the day.
About 250 supporters rallied around pupils past and present from St Joseph’s Primary School to declare their message loud and clear - “East Dunbartonshire Council - Leave St Joseph’s Primary School alone”.
An 80-year-old former pupil, Jim Filbin from Milngavie who attended the school from 1937 to 1945, even joined in the event. He said: “My school days were some of the happiest in my life. Closing the school would be a disastrous decision with repurcussions beyond St Joseph’s. It would undermine business in the town and the rot would start to set in.”
Speakers included MSP Gil Paterson, Milngavie Community Council, Councillor Jim Gibbons, Rev Father Currie and Terri Colpi, who is the business development director at Colpi’s historic Ice Cream Shop in Milngavie.
The oldest shop in the town, Colpi’s gave 140 free ice creams to pupils to mark the long standing history of St Joseph’s Primary School.
Colpi’s has been part of the local community for 85 years and four generations of the family attended the school since it opened in 1873.
Terri Colpi said: “Local children walking to school, and even being picked-up locally by car, are what gives our little town centre its sense of both life and purpose. We need to preserve St Joseph’s not just because of its long history but because its survival is key to the future too.”
Parent, Andrew McFadyen, said: “There was a real sense of the whole community rallying round the school and people have come away from the protest feeling very positive and with the view that this is a fight we can win.”
Another parent, Emma Whitfield, said: “The centre of Milngavie was rammed with people who want to save the school.”
Laureen McIntyre, Chair of St Parent’s Council said: “This was a brilliant turnout.It is time that the council started listening to the people who vote for them.”
Head of education, Gordon Currie, said: “We are into the third week of the statutory consultation around the future of St. Joseph’s, Milngavie and St Andrew’s, Bearsden.
“We have had a number of responses returned and I am hopeful that we will continue to receive more over the coming weeks. No decision has yet been made and the council will collate all the consultation responses for consideration.”
A public meeting will be held in St Joseph’s Primary School on Monday, September 16 at 7.30pm.