Our last Councillor Column before Christmas – and also our last one of the year – is written by Iain S. Paterson, SNP councillor for Lomond North.

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Christmas is just around the corner, and I would like to wish all my constituents, fellow councillors and elected members a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I would also like to thank you for your kindness and understanding regarding the difficult personal circumstances that I have been going through these last few months.

I have spent a lot of time at hospital attending to the needs of a family member, and have gained considerable insight into what families, carers and hospital staff go through when looking after loved ones.

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It is a very difficult time, but it can also be very rewarding when you see what you can achieve by becoming personally involved in caring for someone.

I also see it in the wider community, with a local project that is running called Generations Arrochar that brings together the children of Arrochar, Tarbet, Luss and Ardlui with the older, and in some cases the isolated, people in our villages.

I was privileged to attend the carol singing at John Lewis in Glasgow recently where the children and older members of the Arrochar community raised more than £227 for Arrochar Primary School.

The project is the brainchild of my lovely wife Fiona, who along with head teacher Alison Palmer and her staff, who have made it such a success.

READ MORE: Arrochar community project is bridging the generation gap

It is at Christmas that we always say that we should look at the less fortunate in our society, and maybe knock on the door of a neighbour or make a donation to a food bank or other charity.

I think that this should be an all year round policy. There are so many vulnerable people in our communities who need help but will not ask for it, so if you are the type of person that would like to help people why not get along and volunteer in some capacity or other, be that at a local hospital, food bank or community project.

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I would also like to congratulate Brendan O’Hara on his re-election as our MP for Argyll and Bute.

Brendan, like all of his SNP colleagues, has taken a consistent approach to Brexit, representing the will of the 62 per cent of people in Scotland, including 60.6 per cent of people in Argyll and Bute, who voted to remain in the EU.

READ MORE: I'll go on fighting to protect Argyll and Bute from the ravages of Brexit, says MP O'Hara

It is a great pity that certain other candidates in this election did not do the same.

This election, more than any other, illustrates why Scotland needs to become an independent country, and I would urge Labour and Liberal Democrats to ask themselves if they really want another 10 years of Boris Johnson-style conservatism within this broken Union, or an independent Scotland that is in control of its own destiny, that actually gets the government that it votes for, and does not get dragged into devastating illegal wars – a Scotland that determines its own future and becomes a beacon of hope and success in a world of uncertainty.

READ MORE: Check out all the latest news stories from around Helensburgh and Lomond here