Taking pride in our armed forces

RECENT commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in World War Two were a reminder of the commitment and professionalism of our armed forces.

They highlighted the price paid down the decades by many of our servicemen and women, who in today's uncertain times can be mobilised at short notice to go anywhere in the world to help ensure the security we enjoy in our democracy or on humanitarian emergency missions.

That's why I strongly support the ceremonies, which began in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale a fortnight ago and culminated on Armed Forces Day.

There was an excellent turnout at Sanquhar, where the ceremony and a reception, were hosted by the community council. I had the privilege of giving an address along with the Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries, Fiona Armstrong. Prayers were led by the Rev. Dr. John Lochrie.

Despite wet weather there was a large turnout of townspeople outside The Old Tollbooth, including local councillors, ex-servicemen and the region's Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Archie Dryburgh.

Equally appreciated was the attendance of pupils from the local primary school and Sanquhar Academy.

It is always important to highlight the work and importance of our armed forces and their ongoing contribution.

Volunteers making summer great

I ENJOY weekends at this time of year when I get the opportunity to go out and about and catch-up with constituents at the various summer festivities taking place.

My constituency diary is packed with events ranging from galas to agricultural shows, which make a refreshing contrast with the fast-paced nature of life at Westminster.

What is particularly striking is that all age groups enjoy elements of the local celebrations and the importance of volunteers in ensuring the diverse events are successfully delivered in time-honoured fashion.

That's why it is important that organising committees are strengthened from time to time by younger people joining their ranks.

They help ensure the continuity appreciated by local residents and returning exiles alike is maintained and new ideas are also brought to the table.

I would encourage those with some spare time, and, who share an interest in our local traditions, to become involved.

Their support, I'm sure, would be greatly appreciated and they may find it a rewarding and fulfilling experience that also provides an opportunity to make new friends.