It has been a busy year and once again in my role as Provost of East Dunbartonshire, I have attended some wonderful events and met many interesting and inspirational people.
In the spring, I had the great honour of presenting a local family with the Elizabeth Cross and memorial scroll, 70 years after their father paid
the ultimate sacrifice on active duty with the Royal Navy.
The proud family of Leading Seaman William Moir were my special guests at a humbling and moving ceremony where we paid tribute to his service and heroism.
Just weeks later, I met inspirational local man, Alistair Whitelaw, and was honoured to host an event at which he was presented with the British Empire Medal in recognition of his lifetime’s work with the Boys’ Brigade.
Through decades of tireless work he has inspired countless young people, most recently as an officer with the 1st Lenzie BB. It was my pleasure to be part of his special day.
Undoubtedly, the best part of my job is the people I meet. This year that included three fantastic ladies celebrating their 100th birthdays – Mary Lawson, Annie McSherry and May Braid. Some of their life stories were fascinating and also pretty entertaining.
I have also joined the celebrations with a number of happy couples celebrating 50, 60 and even 70 years of marriage. Some of their hints and tips for a long and happy union were rather interesting!
A personal highlight of the last year was accompanying the East Dunbartonshire Senior String Orchestra to an event in Cumbernauld where they were invited to play for HM The Queen. The talented young people really shone on the day.
In East Dunbartonshire we mark Armed Forces Day in June and Emergency Services Day in September. On both occasions it was my proud duty to raise their flags at the council HQ in support of the important, life-saving services they provide to our communities.
Over the year, I have officiated at Citizenship Ceremonies and met many people who were taking the final step in their journey to become British Citizens. I was delighted to welcome them all.
I have also met various foreign dignitaries and delegations from across the world, welcoming Consul Generals of France and China to the Council offices.
The Japanese Consul General was a special guest at an event in Kirkintilloch to celebrate the ‘Mother of Japanese Whisky’, local woman Rita Cowen, marking 100 since she met her future husband, Masataka Taketsuru.
This year has ended on a high with cheque presentations to Alzheimer Scotland and Motor Neurone Disease Scotland following my charity raffle, with Turkish Airlines tickets as the star prize.
Thanks to everyone who bought tickets and raised £1,620 for these two worthwhile causes.
Looking forward to 2020, I hope that once again I am able to get out and about to meet as many of you as possible, to attend your events, join your celebrations and recognise your successes.
And finally, I want to pay tribute and say ‘thank you’ to workers and volunteers on duty over the festive period delivering vital services and helping others: the emergency services, the military, our own Council staff and the many charities who work through the festivities.
Finally, it is my wish that everyone in East Dunbartonshire has a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.