Last week, on behalf of the council, I was on Islay for the commemoration of the SS Tuscania, torpedoed on February 5, 1918 with the loss of more than 210 lives, and the HMS Otranto, which was in collision with another ship on October 6 that same year, resulting in the deaths of 483 crewmen and American troops.

It was truly humbling to see the relatives of the men who were lost come together with the relatives of the people of Islay, who helped save so many, to pay tribute to the compassion and heroism that was shown on these tragic days – epitomised by the mothers who made an American flag out of the limited materials that were available to them to honour the sons of mothers they never knew. The service was a fitting tribute to those hundreds of souls lost and to the people of Islay.

The council’s Supporting Communities Fund has proven to be a welcome, positive initiative and I am happy to report that the three projects in my village of Arrochar, together with several others throughout Lomond North, have all been successfully funded. I look forward to seeing the benefits they can deliver for our communities.

In Lomond North the fund will provide support to plans for a floating pontoon in Arrochar, a climbing club for young people in the Arrochar area, the Cove and Kilcreggan Youth Cafe, ‘Generation Communities’ in Arrochar, Tarbet and Succoth, family activities at the Rhu and Shandon Community Centre, the Rosneath Peninsula Highland Gathering, Friday night youth provision at Route 81 in Garelochhead, and the Cove and Kilcreggan Lunch Club.

I WOULD also like to highlight the Arrochar community hydro scheme. The Arrochar and Tarbet Community Development Trust has been instrumental in getting this project from planning to completion in a relatively short time; the build cost of £660,000 being raised in just two weeks during the summer of 2017, both through a community share offer and the wider renewable energy community.

Profits from the scheme will be invested back into the local community. I must pay tribute to the main driving force behind this effort, Duncan MacLachlan, a true local champion, who works tirelessly for his community.

As you may know Our SNP Scottish Government remains 100 per cent committed to renewables, even in the face of UK government cuts to subsidies. I look forward to attending the official Hydro Scheme opening on May 18 by the SNP’s Paul Wheelhouse MSP, the Scottish Government’s minister for business, innovation and energy.