She serves on the community council, runs a standalone charity, is chairwoman of Barrhead Housing Association and helps keep hundreds of children safe every year with the Safety in the Park initiative.

Rena McGuire was named on the Queen’s New Year’s honours list alongside hundreds of other people who give up their time for the benefit of others.

It’s worth noting that many more volunteers operate throughout East Renfrewshire, without seeking recognition.

The variety of work undertaken by volunteers is widespread, such as providing specialised care to dementia patients or the disabled in day groups and clubs, to dealing with victims of domestic abuse.

Even Barrhead’s beloved Gala Day is organised by volunteers; an event that can, and has in the past, attracted more than 10,000 people.

Rena is one of the most recogniseable faces in an army of thousands in East Renfrewshire and beyond who deserve enormous credit.

Lately I’ve been ploughing hours of my free time into balancing the books in my city... sad but true, sort of.

Let me explain. SimCity is a city building simulation game which puts everything from road building and infrastructure management to taxes and government policy in the hands of the player.

I happen to be the mayor of an industrial metropolis called Rooneytoon, and lately I’ve been struggling to deal with the excessive garbage output and overcrowding at hospitals and public schools. Sound familiar?

As both pressures mount up, the education level in my city falls and pollution rises. The wealthy upper and middle classes begin to move out, leaving my high rise offices which make-up the financial backbone of my city empty and derelict.

Pollution forces the high-tech and green industrial companies to move too, clearing space where another oil refinery pops up in their place.

Filth begins to fill the air and water, and citizens become unwell in their droves, and my hospital system is near collapse.

The pollution indicators creep ever higher, and in my efforts to turn the situation around, my city accounts move from the black, and deep into the red.

The people of Roonytoon could do nothing as the city stagnated into something resembling modern day Detorit — a rotten industrial wasteland.

Balancing the books on spending in an area with innumerable services and demands is a Herculean task. Neglecting one aspect can lead to social and financial ruin due to a vicious domino effect.

Everytime I switch off my computer, I can’t help sparing a thought for our local authorities and governments who don’t have the luxury of pulling the plug out the wall when things get tricky.