I WAS honoured to attend the services in Barrhead and Neilston on Remembrance Sunday.

It was wonderful to see so many local residents turning out at these events to show their respects to our war heroes.

Remembrance Sunday is always an extremely moving occasion and one which is so important, as we should never forget all of the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Whilst this year marked 100 years since the end of World War One, it is also a time to reflect on the more recent conflicts which have claimed so many lives.

The head boys and head girls from St Luke’s High and Barrhead High played an important part in the poignant service at Cowan Park, laying a wreath on behalf of their schools.

As always, the pupils were a credit to their families and schools.

Their presence also reinforced the importance of ensuring our younger generations never forget the sacrifices which have gone before them.

Many of those who tragically lost their lives were just teenagers themselves, so it serves as a stark reminder of the losses which were felt both here in East Renfrewshire and in many other communities during the world wars.

On a lighter note, I was also delighted to be able to attend the leaving ceremony held for Frances Healy, our long-serving receptionist at East Renfrewshire Council’s headquarters.

Frances really does have the ability to light up a room with her smile and warmth.

The kindness she has always shown to residents, staff and councillors has been truly amazing.

After 26 years of dedicated service with the council, first at St Ninian’s High School and then as part of our Customer First team, Frances is now looking forward to spending more time with her family, especially her beloved grandchildren.

Everyone at the council wishes her well for a long and happy retirement.

As leader of East Renfrewshire Council, I also want to put on record our gratitude and mention the high regard in which Frances has been held throughout her career.

If we can learn anything from Frances, it is that an act of kindness and compassion goes a long way.

With this in mind, and as we move into the winter months, I would urge all residents across East Renfrewshire to keep an eye out for their neighbours, especially those who are elderly.

Simple acts such as helping to grit pavements outside elderly neighbours’ homes really do make a difference and help foster community spirit.

This is so important, especially at this time of year when the darker nights begin to draw in.
Let’s all try our best to work together to help make East Renfrewshire the best place to live in Scotland.