MILLPORT'S long-serving correspondent Mary Currie is retiring after over three decades of dedicated service to the News.

Having taken a very active role in community life, the 69-year-old gran spoke to the News about her memories from through the years.

Mary is still involved in the amateur dramatics on the island and has served on the community council and Cumbrae Gala queen committee. She has also been involved in the Brownies and the co-ordination of the annual September weekend celebrations for many years.

Mary was ideal for the News' role having already met royalty on the island when she lined up with the Brownies to meet the Queen Mother at the former Marine Station.

Mary said: "When I first started as a columnist for the Largs and Millport Weekly News it was the early 1980s.

"I used to write the notes as a hobby as I was writing about all the things that I was involved in including the Brownies, review of the plays at the drama club etc.

"Then I got a phone call from the editor at the time Drew Cochrane asking if I wanted to do it permanently."

Drew encouraged Mary to pick up her pen and contribute to the paper - and it was a job she carried out using every method of communication from mail to fax - but never email as she has a contempt for computers

Away from the world of facebook, twitter and social media, Mary believes she is not missing out and much prefers the traditional methods.

She said: "At the time I was a very busy mum and initially said no to Drew, but when my children were a bit older, I went back and agreed."

Mary was a long serving Brownie leader on the island and remembers meeting the Queen Mother when she came to the Marine Biological Station, now the Field Studies Centre, in 1979.

She recalled: "The Queen Mother was the chancellor of the University of London which owned the station back then and it was an official visit in her capacity.

"She came off the Royal Yacht Britannica in a launch and walked from the Keppel Pier to the marine station

"And we were all asked to line the route including BBs and Brownies and Guides.

"She actually stopped at one of the little Brownies who was standing beside me. What she didn't know was the only reason she was standing beside me was that this little Brownie had been misbehaving - and she shut up as soon as the Queen Mother spoke to her, pictured.

"I said, 'I am sorry Ma'am, she's a little tongue-tied!'.

"The royal yacht was moored off Keppel Pier, it was a fabulous occasion.

"Princess Anne took over from The Queen Mother and I met her twice - although sadly she came by helicopter on both occasions."

Mary was born in Glasgow and lived in Springburn where her father, a motor trader, had a garage and car showroom.

Mary's grandfather used to make saddles for horse-drawn carriages and then became a cobbler with his own shop in Maryhill.

Mary moved out to Kirkintilloch when she was three and stayed there for the rest of her childhood until she first got married, moving to Millport around 1972.

She spent many happy holidays in Millport as a youngster and followed her parents down to the Isle of Cumbrae after they semi-retired and opened up a laundrette.

Andy's snack bar at the Garrison was where she used to hang out with other teens when she was young, as well as The Cumbrae Club, and recalls playing the jukebox there.

Mary also worked on the island's tourist information centre and also became highly involved in the Tourist Association.

She said: "When people came in to speak to you, you were the face of Millport, told them where to go and what to do and could book accommodation on the island. It is a big loss since it was taken away."

Mary runs Island Express courier service in Millport with her son Austen and aims to retire from that when she turns 70.

She also has a daughter Lauren, and three grandchildren Jordan, Jay, and Lily-Rose.

Asked about the secret of the island's success, Mary said: "The magic of Millport is that it is out of the rat race, it is all geared towards traditional family fun away from the world of computers and social media. It is magical."