Lord-Lieutenant praises communities in ‘extraordinary’ year

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Jane MacLeod, Lord-Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute, has reflected on the community’s response to another ‘extraordinary’ year in this year’s Christmas message.

‘When I wrote my Christmas message last year, I spoke of what an extraordinary year we had all dealt with,’ said Mrs MacLeod.

‘This year has been equally so; another year of challenges and changes right up to the very end, it seems, as we contemplate the possibility of more change over the festive season.

‘Last year, though, I also spoke of optimism. And it was right to do so – when I reflect on the past 12 months here in Argyll and Bute, there are many wonderful moments to recall.

‘We have been visited twice by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. She joined us first in June to celebrate the completion of the renovation of Iona Abbey – a truly happy day in this historic and very scenic setting.

‘And she returned to Argyll in August, this time to Oban where she spent a full day, in glorious sunshine, with the local community. She enjoyed the tradition and colour of the Argyllshire Gathering for its 150th anniversary before visiting Oban High School to meet with our young people.

‘Finally, she had an opportunity to meet with representatives from just some of the many voluntary and community groups that make such a difference to local life, in a celebration of community spirit.

‘This year has seen that Argyll and Bute community spirit recognised through HM The Queen’s Honours. Seven local residents received awards in the 2021 New Years Honours, and Kintyre-based Shopper-Aide received the highest accolade available to volunteers, the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

‘This achievement was matched in the business world when Bute Island Foods received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

‘It was difficult to imagine successes like these this time last year, but against the odds they helped to make 2021 a better year. That is what gives me hope for the year ahead.

‘Argyll and Bute’s community spirit is well known and has proven, time and time again, that it will rise to meet any challenge. I have every faith that this will continue to be true in 2022.

‘May I take this opportunity to wish all of you a very happy Christmas, and a healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.’