THIS week's Councillor Column is written by Lomond North ward councillor Iain Shonny Paterson (SNP).

* * * * * * * * * *

MORE than two million people in Scotland have now received their first dose of one of the country’s Covid-19 vaccines.

That this has been achieved in little more than three months is down to the enormous efforts of our vaccination teams, and of our invaluable NHS, who have been instrumental in the roll-out.

This illustrates what a national service is truly capable of doing, in stark contrast to the fiasco that we saw with the early roll-out of the Test and Protect system and the PPE fiasco, both of which were overseen by the Conservatives.

Tens of millions of pounds were wasted in contracts handed out to private companies, some of them with links to UK Government ministers.

READ MORE: Opinion - 'Ignorance is bliss - until Covid is involved'

And then the Tories had the audacity to offer a paltry pay rise of only one per cent to our NHS staff, many of whom have been putting their physical and mental health at risk throughout the pandemic.

And on top of that, the Conservatives further compound the insult by committing to spending £10 billion more on nuclear weapons. With the Scottish Parliament elections just around the corner, this is our country’s opportunity to make these policies a thing of the past by casting your vote for the SNP on May 6.

* * * * * * * *

MEANWHILE, I have recently attended the family support group in Helensburgh and Lomond, provided by the Alzheimer Scotland charity and run by Anne-Marie King from the charity’s dementia resource centre in Helensburgh.

I’ve found this to be a great support for anyone who has, or who looks after, a loved one who is suffering with dementia. I urge anyone who is feeling isolated, especially during these difficult times, to get in touch with Anne-Marie. She and her Alzheimer Scotland colleagues can provide advice and help for you and your loved ones, and the support group will give you the chance to meet people who have shared, and are sharing, similar experiences.

READ MORE: Opinion - 'Cause for thought on lockdown anniversary'

Contact Anne-Marie on or by calling 01436 642196 or 07588 531288.

* * * * * * * *

IN my own community in Arrochar, we have suddenly lost two well-known and well-liked village residents in the last two weeks.

Heather Mactavish was a much loved member of our community who ran a local business with her family for many years. She would always ask how you and your family were doing; she was a kind and lovely woman who was loved and respected by many.

Carl Greig, who was known affectionately as ‘Bounce’, was also loved and well liked. His passing came as a shock to many of us who knew him, especially as he was a relatively young man and because he passed away so suddenly. He, too, will be sorely missed.

I extend my condolences to their family and friends.

Read more local news and views here