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A Christmas Message from South Ayrshire Provost Iain Campbell

Provost Christmas cropped 400 x 400

The festive season is a perfect time to look back and reflect on the past year - which has been a busy one for South Ayrshire Council's Civic Office.

I'm very grateful for my role as Provost of South Ayrshire, as it takes me out into communities and allows me to meet wonderful people.

One of the highlights of 2023 was the Provost's School Footprint Challenge. This annual competition encourages school children to come up with inventive ways to tackle climate change. This year, the trophy was won by Carrick Academy.

South Ayrshire primary schools were also invited by the Energy Agency to participate in the competition to design a calendar raising awareness of the climate crisis. I met with the winners at an awards ceremony held in County Buildings earlier this year. It was inspiring to find out about all the school projects taking place to help protect our planet.

The success of our young people would not be possible without the guidance of dedicated teachers and volunteers. I was delighted to be invited along to a Friday Night Divisionary Activity Night session at Carrick Community Campus in Maybole. Volunteers tackle anti-social behaviour by giving young people from South Carrick and surrounding villages the opportunity to participate in rugby and other activities.

I was blown away by the talent of our young people when I attended the final of the Scottish Young Musicians competition. S6 Prestwick Academy pupil, Naomi Priestnall and Belmont Academy Brass Group represented South Ayrshire, and both gave outstanding performances.

Back in June, I was part of a parade to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the Ayrshire Yeomanry. I was proud to participate in keeping this tradition alive and found it to be a wonderful way to pay tribute to the brave men and women who served and continue to serve in the historic regiment.

Acknowledging the achievements of people across South Ayrshire is important to me - especially those who help others around them and uphold our unique history and traditions. This year we celebrated 25 years of Voluntary Action South Ayrshire, commending volunteers on their continued contribution to the local community.

We also paid tribute to dedicated members of the community who we've sadly lost in recent years. I held a civic reception in County Buildings with the family of the late Robert Jardine to recognise his outstanding contribution to the Girvan community. I also unveiled a plaque within Loudoun Hall as a tribute to the late Sheena Andrew. Sheena was Trustee of Loudoun Hall and an active member of the community in Ayr where she worked in Carnegie Library, and Prestwick where she lived.

It's also important to commend those who dedicate their time to keeping others safe like members of our Emergency Services. Earlier this year, I presented the awards in the Leadership category at the 1st Ayrshire Tri-Service Awards Recognition Ceremony. The awards recognise the work of Police Scotland, Scottish Fire & Rescue and Scottish Ambulance Service.

Over the festive period, please keep in mind those who continue to work throughout the Christmas period, particularly for those who help to keep us safe and well.

Christmas is a time of giving but it's also a time to remember those that struggle during the festive season. Now more than ever, spare a thought for those that might need help. If you can make a quick visit to an elderly neighbour living on their own this Christmas, I am sure it would be appreciated. It's these small acts of kindness that make Christmas a particularly special time of year.

Finally, I'd like to wish you all the best for the festive season and a very Happy New Year when it comes too.