This has been my first full year as Provost of East Dunbartonshire and looking back on the events I have attended and remembering the people I have met has reinforced what a privilege it is to hold this very special office.
It is always my pleasure to welcome dignitaries and foreign guests as they enjoy the beautiful scenery and rich culture our area has to offer.
Also, this summer I hosted a reception at the ever popular Kirkintilloch Canal Festival, welcoming Chinese dignitaries, local businesspeople and fellow Provosts to enjoy our wonderful event with me.
It is also an honour to officiate at landmark events for the Council including the opening of our flagship buildings. This year that included the brand new Auchinairn Community and Early Years Centre and St Nicholas' Primary in Bearsden as well as the revamped Bishopbriggs Community Hub, Bishopbriggs War Memorial Hall and Kirkintilloch Town Hall.
All of these buildings represent a massive investment in East Dunbartonshire and provide local people with modern, well-equipped, attractive spaces in which to do business, learn, enjoy leisure time and simply come together as a community.
However, what I enjoy best is meeting local people, attending their events and celebrations and being part of the life of our many and varied communities.
I have celebrated anniversaries with groups such as Milngavie In Bloom and with a number of dedicated couples across the area, celebrating Golden and Diamond wedding anniversaries.
I was honoured to host the presentation of the British Empire Medal to Patricia Morrison from Milngavie for services to comedy, people with long-term health conditions and charity. Another highlight for me was meeting Annie Telford in Milton of Campsie as she celebrated her 100th birthday - what a lovely lady! She was one of several centenarians I had the pleasure of meeting over the past year.
I met many local heroes at the annual 'Tea with the Provost' event and it was a wonderful opportunity to honour the service they give to their local community, working and supporting local groups and charities. This close-up look at what happens around the area served as a reminder of how fortunate we are to have a strong voluntary sector.
Across the world in 2018, we marked the 100th anniversary of the end of the First War and across East Dunbartonshire we fell silent at our war memorials and we remembered those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
It was my humble duty and privilege, as part of these commemorations, to unveil a memorial paving stone in Kirkintilloch to pay tribute to former resident Sergeant John Meikle. He was one of just 628 people to be awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War. Honouring his bravery with his family and military representatives was a very special moment.
I feel very lucky to have been given all these opportunities and look forward to 2019 when I hope to meet more of you, hear about the good work going on and join you in your celebrations and landmark occasions.
As we approach the festive season, I would like to pay tribute to everyone who works or volunteers to help others at what can be a difficult time of year. Whether that is the emergency services, the military, our own Council staff or the many charities who work through the festivities in the service of their community - my thanks go to them all.
I'd like to wish everyone in East Dunbartonshire a Merry Christmas with best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.