Work on a new £270,000 hospital helipad will finally begin next week, thanks to a two-year campaign led by a Neilston ambulance worker.

Residents of Campbeltown, in Argyll and Bute, requiring emergency medical treatment need to be airlifted to Glasgow, Clydebank or Paisley – almost 150 miles away.

Currently, the helicopter has to land up to three times a day in a muddy playing field, leading to delays for patients.

Stuart McLellan, who has lived in Neilston all his life, got the helipad idea two years ago while visiting relatives in Campbeltown.

Now his campaign, first highlighted in the Barrhead News in October, has been given planning permission by the local council.

It means the £270,000 worth of charity funding can finally be released to the contractors.

Stuart hopes the work will be completed by mid-April for the first flights to land and take off.

Ambulances often get stuck when the pitch is waterlogged as they transfer patients to the chopper from the nearby Campbeltown Hospital.

Stuart, 26, said: “Construction work will begin on January 11 and we plan to have the official opening on April 17, with some helicopters coming in to land on the pad.

“It will be be named after Robert Black – a paramedic from Campbeltown who sadly passed away from coronavirus.

“It has been a two-year battle to get the go-ahead because, at first, no-one in authority wanted anything to do with it.

“We were forced to overcome a lot of red tape to get to where we are now.”

The £270,000 to pay for the project comes from the Helicopter Emergency Landing Pads Appeal (HELP), run by the County Air Ambulance Trust.

Stuart added: “The demand for this service has never been greater, particularly with the number of Covid patients needing airlifted.”

The East Renfrewshire man has worked for the Scottish Ambulance Service for the last eight years.

He is currently a technician in Kilmarnock and has previously worked in the control room.

Stuart is also co-founder of the Neilston and Uplawmoor Community First Responders, whose members attend emergencies in the area to assist paramedics.

In addition, he is a member of the Neilston Development Trust, which plays an important role in efforts to regenerate the village.