I was honoured and privileged in May to be asked to serve as Provost of East Dunbartonshire Council and I have thoroughly enjoyed carrying out my duties over the last six months.
My diary has never been fuller and as you can imagine, it is looking very busy at the moment as I am invited to join in school and community celebrations in the run up to Christmas.
As Provost it's a great privilege to see first-hand the good work being carried out in our communities. The people of East Dunbartonshire are our strength and I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of the wonderful individuals contributing to the wellbeing of our area.
This year has been good one for East Dunbartonshire and I’ve been fortunate to be part of some very memorable occasions.
My first official duty was to open the fantastic Thomas Muir Primary School and adjoining Cleddens Early Learning and Childcare Centre, which provides an improved learning environment for the young people of Bishopbriggs and Auchinairn.
I was honoured to open the newly refurbished Kilmardinny House in Bearsden – one of East Dunbartonshire's most historic buildings - while I helped launch a new era for sport and leisure at the official opening of Huntershill Sports Hub in Bishopbriggs.
One of the most popular events in the East Dunbartonshire calendar remains the fabulous Kirkintilloch Canal Festival and I was delighted to be part of the fun.
In October, I was delighted to be able to uphold the old tradition of the Kirkin’ of the Council service where we dedicated councillors and officers to serve the people of East Dunbartonshire during this Council term.
As we continue to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, I was honoured to represent East Dunbartonshire on Remembrance Sunday at a service in Auchinairn as I joined local people to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in service. Next July the Council will pay tribute to former resident Sergeant John Meikle, one of just 628 people to be awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War, by placing a memorial paving stone in Kirkintilloch to honour his bravery. The memorial will be unveiled on 20 July 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of the action for which Sgt Meikle's VC was awarded.
Of course all through the year I have been helping people celebrate their milestone birthdays and weddings. These events are definitely something to applaud and I’d urge anyone who has something to celebrate in 2018 to get in touch with my office.
I am now in the festive mood having recently attended the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall for the Council’s Gala Christmas Concert. I was very impressed by the outstanding talent of our young musicians and singers, who are a credit to themselves and great ambassadors for their schools and the area in general.
The talent of our young people never ceases to amaze me. The Christmas card I've posted this year features an image by Abbi Campbell, a P3 pupil from Westerton Primary School whose wonderful entry won the competition for primary school pupils to design the Council Christmas card for 2017. It was a hard task to judge the competition and I’d like to congratulate Abbi and thank everyone who took part.
Although Christmas is a joyous time as family and friends come together I’m also aware that it can be a difficult time of year for many in our communities. I’d ask that residents take some time to look out for others in their area during the festivities.
To everyone in East Dunbartonshire I’d like to offer my best wishes for Christmas and my hope that 2018 brings good fortune and good health to all.