Step back towards normality
With an easing of covid infections I’m encouraged that some of the restrictions imposed late last year look set to be lifted in Scotland next week.
This welcome step towards normality will especially help the entertainment and sports sector.
It remains important to remember though that covid has not gone away and it is vital in our everyday lives that we take sensible precautions to limit the spread of the virus when out and about.
Role of honour
I’m always pleased when nominations from Dumfries and Galloway constituency are selected for inclusion in The Queen’s New Year honours list.
Congratulations to Deborah Murdoch of Balmaclellan village shop, who receives the British Empire Medal (BEM), for going above and beyond in her community. Most recently she ensured deliveries reached vulnerable residents despite bad weather and the pandemic and is also a community council member and stalwart in other groups.
It was good to see the BEM awarded to Stewart Parsons of Palnackie, who widely promotes library use, in particularly encouraging their additional role as small music venues.
Long service as a Deputy Lieutenant, The Queen’s representative in the London Borough of Hackney, resulted in Lt. Col. Roderick Morriss being appointed OBE. Although spending part of his life in London, his family roots in south-west Scotland go back generations and he considers Rockcliffe his main home.
Meanwhile, actress Joanna Lumley, hard-working patron of the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust at Dumfries, becomes a Dame.
My best wishes to all our local recipients and those elsewhere with connections to the area.
Highlighting Scots culture
There will be many enthusiasts across the constituency raising a glass to our national bard Robert Burns next Tuesday to celebrate his life.
Whilst some traditional Burns night events have been curtailed to reduce covid spread, a highlight this year will again be a digital online version of the Big Burns Supper on Burns Night broadcast via YouTube and Facebook.
The Big Burns Supper festival, with a full programme of events, is now scheduled for the summer.
Burns Night is not only dedicated to the work of the bard, who spent much of his life in our area, but also showcases the work of Scottish writers, musicians and artists, who are the envy of the world.
I would like to pay tribute to the work of the HM Coastguard volunteers and full-time staff who cover the lengthy coastline around my constituency.
They quietly marked the UK national 24/7 organisation’s 200th anniversary last weekend.
All trained to a high standard, the various local teams respond to an increasing number of call-outs to what are often life or death situations.