Members of the Salvation Army’s Barrhead Corps have bid a heartfelt and emotional goodbye to their Major.

A special service saw tributes paid to Major Deanna Dougan, with speeches and gifts, ahead of her final day in Barrhead before she left to take on a new role in Belfast.

An officer in the Salvation Army since she was 24, Deanna, who was born in Edinburgh and raised in Inverness, served in Oban, Partick, Chesterton and even Pakistan, among other places, before being posted to Barrhead in 2015.

She said: “You don’t get a say in where you’re sent, they just move us when they feel the time is right. I’ve been to quite a few places, a real variety.

“When I came here three years ago it was my very first time visiting Barrhead but it’s a nice wee place and the people are very friendly indeed.

“Every place is different, wherever you go. The work of the Salvation Army is very different here to where I’d come from because there’s a big community programme here. Where I’d come from didn’t quite have that. That was a big difference for me.”

Barrhead’s parent and toddler groups and twice-a-week lunch clubs will certainly be a far cry from her new posting at a city centre homeless hostel in Belfast, where she will be working on the frontline of poverty and addiction.

Deanna said: “It is a change. I’m going from being a minister in a community church to become the chaplain of a hostel with 120 men. That will be totally different. I am feeling a little apprehensive but I’m looking forward to new challenges.”

As for the town she leaves behind, Deanna said she would be carrying nothing but fond memories.

She added: “I will remember a lot of the people I’ve spent so much time with over the last three years. You learn to love the people you work with.

“I’ll remember people who passed away and I’ll recall watching the children grow up, which has been quite fun. I will miss the people and their friendliness.”

Barrhead Corps has been assured that someone will be appointed to take Deanna’s place by the end of the month.

To her successor, Deanna offered this advice: “Treat others as you would like them to treat you. Personally, I like having a lot of banter with people and Barrhead’s certainly been great for that.”