THE man who halted council diggers as they prepared to turn over Largs' treasured prom has looked back on the 30th anniversary of the iconic demonstration.

Harry McEachan, now 85, led the fight as hundreds of locals staged a sit down protest on the grass in front of Nardini's Cafe to stop it being turned into a car park.

There was drama as contractors for the district council moved in to rip up the turf but they were driven back as residents occupied the area for 10 days - and vowed not to leave until the promenade was safe.

The seafront became an encampment, with 20 tents on site and people sleeping there each night to ward off the Cunninghame Council workmen.

Harry said: "The message to the local authority was clear - we would not sacrifice the town's heritage."

The pensioner was at the site when workmen first arrived and he quickly mobilised the community.

A few hours later, there were hundreds of people of all ages on the site.

Harry said: 'It was sacrilege to dig up the green grass of the seaside town when everyone in Largs was opposed to it. It was a protest about abuse of democracy."

A number of people volunteered for night-time vigils as national TV news crews arrived to cover the dispute.

Cunninghame North MP Brian Wilson told them the council was in danger of becoming a 'national laughing stocks' over the row.

Largs seafront fostered a carnival atmosphere as people congregated around the protesters' tented village. Sandwiches were handed out, placards waved and thousands of passing cars tooted their horns in support.

The campaigners held regular clean-ups of the site and also organised barbecues as demonstration rolled on.

The impasse was brought to an end thanks to the intervention of Euro MEP Hugh McMahon.

Harry recalled: "He appeared on site, after dark, asking questions. He said he was our MEP, and he wanted to know what was going on.

"The council in Irvine had been telling everyone that Europe would take the cash back if the car park extension did not go ahead. Hugh said that was not the case.

"He addressed the 28 Labour councillors who decided to call off the plan.

"Hugh had meetings planned in Europe, but he stayed with us for two days to sort it out."

Harry says the most memorable moments of the campaign was when an army of local kids and mums arrived from a playgroup to see off the diggers.

He added: "Remember this was a time before social media, but still the word spread that people needed to fight to save their seafront.

"If it was now, word would be on Facebook and we would have had thousands of people fighting our corner.

"At the end of the day, the war was won and the prom was saved in all its splendour for generations to come."