This week's Councillor Column is written by Ellen Morton, chair of Argyll and Bute Council's Helensburgh and Lomond area committee.

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This week I have been watching the Christmas lights go up across Helensburgh and I look forward to seeing them switched on.

I am sure the display will be stunning, as usual, when the switch is thrown on November 23.

The weekend also saw the annual bonfire and fireworks display in the town, organised by the local branch of the Round Table, and we were lucky that we defied the weather forecast and the rain stayed away.

The next day, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a tea dance organised in the Gibson Hall by the Garelochhead Station Trust, who are working to raise thousands of pounds to lease and renovate the old railway station building and bring it back into use for the benefit of the community.

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The event was a sell-out, with young people from the Police Scotland Youth Volunteers serving tea, coffee and cake all afternoon, as well as taking to the dance floor and demonstrating the skills acquired recently at dancing classes.

A great job they made of it too. I am looking forward to seeing them on Strictly Come Dancing in a few years’ time!

The Gibson Hall was looking great, and is a real credit to the local volunteers who manage it.

Whether it’s Cardross, Rhu, Garelochhead, Cove or the Three Villages Hall in Arrochar, none of them would be there to support the local community if it were not for the work of local volunteers.

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It’s been a hectic weekend, but what struck me was that all of these events are a result of hundreds, if not thousands of hours of work by volunteers.

That will also apply to the forthcoming Remembrance Day parades taking place across the area on Sunday, November 10. It’s also true of Helensburgh’s hugely successful Winter Festival, to be held this year on November 30 and December 1.

I am always aware of the work done by voluntary groups, ranging from beach cleans to supporting carers or those with dementia or other health issues, but when you see so many events held in such a short time, the scale of volunteer efforts really strikes home.

Our communities would be immeasurably poorer without the work of local volunteers, particularly in the current climate of cutbacks in funding for councils and other public bodies.

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So next time you see a volunteer event, consider how you could help them, by joining in their work, or by donating to their cause or even just by recognising the good they are doing and saying thank you.