This week's Councillor Column is written by Helensburgh councillor, and Argyll and Bute Council leader, Aileen Morton.

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Despite writing this column in mid-November it seems that Christmas is already upon us.

From Christmas music in restaurants and special offers in shops, to friends and neighbours having their houses fully decorated, I’m feeling a bit disorganised – then I take a deep breath and remember that I still have weeks to get sorted!

Of course, by the time you are reading this, we will be heading into the start of local festive events, with the Hermitage Academy Christmas Fair held on Saturday, which was followed by the official lights switch on in the Square.

Then the following weekend – Saturday, November 30 and Sunday, December 1 – will see the Winter Festival return again to the town.

READ MORE: Pictures from Helensburgh's 2018 Winter Festival

As most local residents will be well aware, the Winter Festival is run by a very small group of volunteers who are then supported over the weekend by many more individual volunteers and local organisations.

This year will see the return of the traditional carousel as well as favourites such as Santa’s Grotto, market stalls and the Santa Dash. There will also be a jam-packed schedule of entertainment on the stage featuring a huge number of local performers.

It’s heartening to see events like this continue to run year after year because local people are prepared to put the work in.

These events provide an opportunity for residents and visitors to appreciate what Helensburgh has to offer, and I’ve spoken to many people over the years at these kinds of events, from areas like Inverclyde or East Dunbartonshire, who say that they are now regular visitors to the town throughout the year.

READ MORE: Entries now open for Helensburgh Winter Festival's Santa Dash

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This year our festive season will of course be interrupted by a general election – the first winter election since the year I was born!

The change in normal election timing does bring extra challenges – for voters, for election staff and, of course, for candidates and campaigners.

I’m delighted that Argyll and Bute Council was able to change the polling station arrangements for Colgrain this year, so allowing all of the festive activities at Colgrain Primary School to take place as planned.

In addition to Colgrain, changes have also been made to the location of polling stations in Churchill and Luss, so please do remember to check the information on your polling card when it comes in.

READ MORE: Catch up with all the latest Helensburgh and Lomond news headlines here