East Renfrewshire Council recently introduced a ceremony to recognise individual employees or groups of staff who had gone the extra mile, in terms of their commitment to their job.

These are individuals and groups of people who had displayed extraordinary service and dedication in their work to support local residents.

It was a humbling experience to learn just how dedicated many members of our council staff are when it comes to helping local residents – and we all owe them a debt of gratitude.

Our event to recognise the exemplary service of key staff was the very least we could do as a council to thank them.

Many of the examples of extraordinary service centred round the periods of bad winter weather. It is easy when we are basking in the current glorious summer weather to forget just how challenging some of the winter weather was.

The ‘Beast from the East’ seems a distant memory at a time when current temperatures are in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit but the extreme snowstorm caused significant challenges for our staff in supporting and protecting our most vulnerable residents.

My own Provost’s Award recognised the work of dedicated members of our winter gritting team, who worked long hours, round the clock, in extreme and unpleasant weather to keep our roads and pavements passable.

There is a joke that a typical East Renfrewshire resident expects the roads staff to catch the snow before it reaches the ground. It is, of course, impossible to keep these clear of snow as quickly as we would all like.

We do, however, grit a larger percentage of roads and pavements when compared with most other councils in Scotland – and the gritting budget has always been protected from the cuts caused by continual year-on-year underfunding of local government.

I believe most local people are very appreciative of the work done by the gritting team and welcome the fact that it is deemed to be a key service in East Renfrewshire.

It is great to see the good weather coinciding with the end of term for our schools. Hopefully our youngsters and teaching staff can get out and about and enjoy the fine weather, after a year of hard work.

Whatever your plans for the coming weeks, I wish everyone a pleasant break and hope that our summer is a good one.

Given the recent hard winter, I think we are due warm summer sunshine.