Direction of travel clear after conference
One of the achievements of the UN COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow has been highlighting more widely the urgency of limiting and eventually reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Whilst not every proposed target and timescale was agreed universally across the international community, the direction of travel was clear with global support to further limit and reduce emissions along with financial help for the developing world, parts of which are already experiencing the worst impact of negative climatic trends.
I was privileged to spend time at the conference and I believe Glasgow, Scotland and the UK as a whole can be proud of the way this massive event was hosted and organised and I welcome the resulting extra international interest in our towns, cities and countryside.
My thanks too go to Police Scotland and other agencies for their great contribution and other UK police forces who deployed officers as part of mutual support.
It was good to see representation from Dumfries and Galloway at events inside and outside the conference campus and, indeed, special projects in local schools together with community events, such as an impressive art exhibition at Auchencairn.
Extra funding for Moat Brae
The team effort to rescue Moat Brae in Dumfries — a very special building — and develop an inspiring new role by creating a unique top-grade visitor attraction has impressed me greatly in recent years.
A group of dedicated volunteers, against the odds, have drawn upon the building’s links with J. M. Barrie and his iconic character Peter Pan to create a centre for children's literature which is also of interest to visitors of all ages.
I'm delighted that the contribution of £280,237 from the UK Government Community Renewal Fund has been confirmed and will help create an immersive exhibition which, I understand, will greatly enhance the Moat Brae experience.
This should bring many more people from across the UK and overseas and, with Moat Brae's central location, should assist Dumfries town centre's long-term regeneration as a vibrant regional hub, a prospect very close to my heart.
Lest we forget
There were ceremonies at war memorials across the constituency on Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday when communities rightly commemorated those who lost their lives in the service of our country.
They were very much on my mind when, as part of ministerial duties, I laid a wreath along with the First Minister, at the memorial at Edinburgh City Chambers before a national service of remembrance in St Giles' Cathedral.
My personal thanks go to Sally, a young forces cadet assigned to me, for her assistance during what were a very moving service and ceremonies.