This is my last column as a councillor for the ward of Helensburgh Central before the council elections in May and I would like to say it has been an honour to represent the constituents of Helensburgh in this role.

The most satisfying aspect of the job over the last five years has been helping and, assisting with constituent enquires and finding a positive resolution to these enquires.

I have gained new knowledge about planning, education, health, roads transport, housing, leisure and libraries as well as the workings of the council, which I have put to use in representing my constituents in the best way possible.

Within my role as a member of the council administration I have campaigned for local issues to be heard and acknowledged whether it be street lighting, speeding, litter bins, Duchess Woods, mental health or parking within the town centre.

I have enjoyed being involved with the community of Helensburgh in a more direct fashion, especially when helping the Community Council with the maintenance of the shrubs in Colquhoun Square and assisting at the Winter Festival (above right).

Covid-19 has dominated a very large part of my time as a Helensburgh councillor, and has been a challenge for us all.

For one thing, it has substantially changed the workings of the council. For the last two years, meetings have been held online, and in a post-Covid world a hybrid model is to be adopted, saving money on expenses and freeing up councillors’ time to concentrate on the work at hand and spending less time travelling to and from Lochgilphead.

The Covid regulations were relaxed further at the beginning of this week, and I’m sure I’m not the only one hoping that this becomes the permanent position so we can all enjoy a sense of normality once more.

It’s been great to see local community groups having social events again in Helensburgh in recent weeks, like the Highland Association, the Music Society, Visiting Friends and Grey Matters.

I would like to thank all the council officers and staff with helping me with my role as a local councillor and also members of the Dumbarton Liberal Democrats for their continued support – especially my fellow Liberal Democrat councillors in Argyll and Bute, Aileen Morton and Alan Reid.

In conclusion, with the ongoing war in the Ukraine I think it is essential that we reflect on the fundamental importance of protecting democracy and its role in preserving our values, freedoms and quality of life.

With that in mind, I would urge all Helensburgh residents, in the name of democracy, to cast their vote in the council elections on Thursday, May 5.