A TROON dad-of-one who lit the touchpaper of history almost 20 years ago enjoyed seeing the fruits of his labours when he was asked to perform a key duty at the Wintertainment festival.

Colin Howie spoke of his pride, after being invited to light the Ailsa Troon Beacon, which was gifted to the town by the Ailsa Shipyard to mark the Millennium in 2000.

He was an apprentice at the Ailsa Shipyard in the town back in 1999 when he was asked to help weld the landmark, which is now known across Troon and is lit for a very short period every year after the lights are switched on.

Colin, a bowler, who won the Ayrshire Singles Championships last year, said: "Troon Community Council approached me to see if I would be interested in lighting the Beacon and I must say I was really proud. It was a great honour to be asked to do it. The flame was lit with a glass bottle which had a rag on it and I must admit I was nervous beforehand but I was okay when I was lighting it and I knew I had a few firemen beside me if anything went wrong.

"It was nice to see my work close up and to have the opportunity to light the Beacon.

"I remember we worked on the Beacon by welding it with plate and pipe. There were four of us worked on it - Colin Barton, Donald McKenzie and David Hill, who is sadly no longer with us. It must have taken us a couple of weeks or so do. We worked on the beacon in 1999 and the following year the Ailsa Shipyard closed."

Colin is now quality manager at Star Refrigeration in Thornliebank and is a lifelong Troon resident.

He added: "I enjoy living in the town and Wintertainment is always fun. Everyone seems to enjoy it."