A tough year but full of generosity

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Looking back at 2014 brings a mixture of different thoughts and emotions to mind. There is no escaping the fact that we continue to live in difficult financial times with the Council facing hard decisions on how to reduce our spending and households working to tight budgets.

Despite that I have witnessed many examples of considerable generosity as you continue to support local charities through events that the Council has run this year – more than £9,000 was raised between the Business Awards in May and the Ladies’ Lunch in November. Thanks for your continued support.

Your generosity of spirit was also evident as we recognised the extraordinary efforts of ‘local heroes’ at an afternoon tea in September. Thirty-one people from across the area were nominated for the selfless contribution they make to their local community. It is always a privilege to meet these volunteers and thank them in this small way on your behalf.

As Provost I feel lucky that I get to attend some very special and exciting events and get to meet many interesting people.

An obvious highlight of 2014 was the Commonwealth Games and the Queen’s Baton Relay when it came to East Dunbartonshire in July.

What a day that was! There were wonderful scenes in our towns and villages and such joy as communities came together to cheer the baton bearers.

I was delighted to visit the athletes’ village and exchange gifts with our second teams: Namibia and Norfolk Island.

Another notable and proud event was hosting an Investiture where HM Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire, Rear Admiral Michael Gregory OBE, presented four ladies with the Medal of the Order of The British Empire (BEM).

In the year when we commemorated the centenary of World War One, I was honoured to represent East Dunbartonshire at the Drumhead Service at Edinburgh Castle and on Remembrance Sunday I joined local people to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in service.

I was also delighted to end the year presenting cheques, totalling £2,000, to Marie Curie and Macmillan Cancer Care, raised at my charity lunch and shopping event in November.

I look forward to another year as your Provost and wish you a Happy New Year.