I RECENTLY had the honour of welcoming guests to our Holocaust Memorial commemoration at Eastwood Park Theatre.

East Renfrewshire Council now jointly hosts this annual event with our colleagues from Renfrewshire Council.

It is an important date in our calendar and is, of course, of particular interest to our large local Jewish community.

I was pleased to receive such wonderful feedback on the success of the event from those who attended.

Grateful thanks are due to all who worked so hard to put together such a powerful and thought-provoking evening.

Kirsty Robson, who is a former pupil of Barrhead High and a Holocaust Regional Ambassador, introduced the speakers and she, as well as our talented local musicians from East Renfrewshire and Renfrewshire schools, are a credit to their area.

I also had the privilege of representing East Renfrewshire Council at a celebration of Glasgow’s Jewry at the City Chambers.

This event was attended by senior members of the Jewish Board of Deputies from all over the UK, as well as prominent local Jewish residents.

Principal speeches were given by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Chief Rabbi in the UK, highlighting the importance of the gathering.

I particularly enjoyed being able to chat to so many Jewish friends and residents from East Renfrewshire who travelled to the City Chambers for the celebration.

In my duties as Provost, I also attended an event to launch a booklet remembering the Second World War POW camp located at Patterton, Newton Mearns.

The camp stretched from Patterton railway station car park down towards the start of what is now the Dams to Darnley Country Park.

Many local people, specifically our younger generation, are unaware of the camp and its fascinating history.

The area was first used as a rifle range in the First World War for the Third Lanark Rifles – the same regiment that formed the now-defunct football team.

After being turned into a POW camp, it first housed Italian prisoners, followed by German POWs towards the end of the conflict.

Some elderly local residents, who attended the launch, spoke fondly of the handsome Italian prisoners living there and kindly German prisoners who made wooden toys for local children.

The camp seemed to operate peacefully, without any negative impact on the local community.

After the Second World War ended, the huts in the camp were used by Polish soldiers who were loyal to the Polish Government in Exile and did not wish to return to their country, which was then being run by a Puppet Government under the control of Stalin’s Soviet Union.

The history is fascinating and a booklet which can be accessed in East Renfrewshire libraries delivers a much greater knowledge of the camp.

Grateful thanks are due to the historians who worked so hard to bring the project to fruition and to the local elderly people who remember the camp from their childhood days and were able to provide excellent personal testimonies, in terms of its operation and impact on residents.

I would recommend the booklet to any local resident who has an interest in the history of our area.