KIND-HEARTED people of all ages across East Renfrewshire have been displaying true community spirit to help others during the coronavirus crisis.

Today, the Barrhead News salutes a host of local heroes who are bringing much-needed cheer to others at this difficult time.

Among them is talented Barrhead schoolgirl Sophie Channing, whose efforts to keep spirits up in her neighbourhood are proving to be a smash hit.

Barrhead News: Singing sensation Sophie Channing has been keeping her neighbours entertainedSinging sensation Sophie Channing has been keeping her neighbours entertained

Sophie, 16, went viral on social media over the weekend after mum June recorded her singing ballads to spread some positivity while people are in lockdown.

She impressed fellow residents in Gateside Crescent, who stood on their doorsteps to enjoy the performance.

Sophie, who is a pupil at St Luke’s High, told the Barrhead News: “I wanted to do it because I know that having to stay indoors has been tough on everyone.

“My neighbours were joining in and some of the children who live in my street started dancing. It was really nice. I wasn’t expecting so many people to come out and watch.

“I got my inspiration from videos I’d seen on social media of people in Italy out singing on their balconies.”

During the isolation period and as requested by neighbours, Sophie will be performing every Saturday night.

Proud mum June said: “Where we stay in Gateside Crescent, there are a lot of elderly people and they’re not getting out but, when Sophie sang, they were all at their windows, joining in and shouting out requests.

“It was just lovely.”

Meanwhile, members of the Barrhead Men’s Shed are doing their bit to help fight off loneliness as the lockdown continues.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the ‘shedders’ have had to shut up shop and follow government guidelines to stay indoors – but that isn’t stopping them from keeping in touch.

Bill Core, co-founder of the Barrhead Men’s Shed, said members of the group have downloaded the Zoom app so they can speak to each other via a video camera.

Barrhead News: Bill Core (right), of the Barrhead Men’s ShedBill Core (right), of the Barrhead Men’s Shed

He added: “The Barrhead Men’s Shed is closed until all this clears itself up, then we’ll be back on track again.

“We are all keeping in touch. We’ve got a big group and we’ve been told about a site called Zoom, so we can see each other rather than just talking over the phone.

“It means we’re all interacting and keeping each other company. There are a few members who are on their own, so we want to make sure we are checking in on one another.”

Another local hero who has stepped up to the plate is Barrhead High headteacher Andy Sinclair.

He had been due to retire this month but, with pupils experiencing disruption after classrooms were closed, that move has been put on hold.

Barrhead News: Andy Sinclair Andy Sinclair

Mr Sinclair said: “I have offered to postpone retirement until the summer and continue in post at this time and that has now been agreed.

“I am happy to be still working with the Barrhead High community during the challenging period ahead of us for a little longer.”

Elsewhere, a Barrhead garage owner has been praised for going above and beyond the call of duty by repairing a frontline worker’s car at four in the morning so he could travel to his job.

Elizabeth Harrison hailed Alistair Keith, who runs Angus Motors, in Lochlibo Road, for being a “real star” after he gave up his sleep to fix her husband Jim’s car.

She contacted the Barrhead News to highlight Alistair as an example of “the goodness in people” during these difficult times.

Elizabeth said: “My husband is a relief community pharmacist who needs his car to travel to far-flung branches like Lochgilphead and Rothesay. As you can imagine, like many others in the health system, he’s very busy right now.

“One of the tyres on his car needed a replacement valve. The tyre was flat and it couldn’t just be fixed by fitting a new one.

“I took it for my husband to Angus Motors, who we’ve often used, and it needed a new part from the manufacturer to repair it, which the garage ordered and planned to fit when it arrived.

“But with the lockdown restrictions being introduced, Alistair went in at four in the morning and did a temporary repair so the car could be driven safely and that I could collect it before he closed the garage for the duration of the emergency.

“I’m incredibly grateful to Alistair for his kindness. He’s a real star and I would have given him a hug, if we didn’t have to keep our distance.”