A WEEK on Saturday marks 50 years since Neil Armstrong took one small step for a man and one giant leap for mankind as he became the first person to walk on the Moon.

But few may realise that the Apollo 11 commander actually touched down a bit closer to home just a few years later when he visited Dumbarton and the Vale.

On October 9, 1974, he flew into Glasgow Airport before travelling to the town for a tour of the Westclox factory at the now Vale of Leven Industrial Estate.

He was shown around by John Santos, the vice president of General Time International Ltd, the company that made the quartz timepieces used on the moon missions.

The Westclox factory, which closed in 1988, was the firm’s international HQ.

Following the tour, Neil had lunch in the Dumbuck Hotel in Dumbarton before travelling into Glasgow, where he gave a talk to schoolchildren.

He later attended a dinner at the Lomond Castle Hotel.

Also present with Neil during his visit was the astronomer Sir Patrick Moore, the presenter of the long-running BBC show The Sky At Night.

Davina Doran who lived in Silverton and worked at Westclox was also there on the day Neil Armstrong came to visit.

Her granddaughter Gillian Tiropoulos from Dumbarton shared the family's cherished photo of her gran with Neil Armstrong during the visit and told the Reporter: "My mum and I were looking at the photo recently because Neil Armstrong's name came up.

"My gran passed away a few years ago, but she always spoke about the day he came to visit. It was a big deal and everyone was dead excited for someone like that to come here.

"She said he spoke to everyone and was quite a nice man."

Click here for all the latest news in Dumbarton and the Vale

Following Neil Armstrong's death in August 2012 at the age of 82, John Santos’ widow Anne also shared her family's recollection of the visit, which saw her then 10-year-old son Christopher present the astronaut with the Armstrong tartan.

She told our sister paper The Herald: "He didn't talk about any spirituality that he felt, which I felt he might have done. It was just really that he had been the first man on the moon and it had had quite an impact on him.

"But he was perfectly charming – a very quiet and unassuming man who felt he ought to come to places like this because people wished to meet him or see him."