Firstly, I’d like to offer my congratulations to the Robert Burns Academy pupils who recently finished eighth at the annual Enterprising Maths in Scotland National Finals.

Over 200 young people from over 50 schools took part and this is the second consecutive year that pupils from RBA have placed in the top 10.

This is testament to the hard work and enthusiasm of our youngsters and to the tireless, dedicated support they receive from teachers and other school staff.  Very well done to all involved!

I was delighted to be able to present Sir James MacMillan CBE, Founder and Artistic Director of the Cumnock Tryst, with a copy of the Early Day Motion which I Tabled recently at the House of Commons.

The EDM recognises the ‘outstanding achievement’ of the Cumnock Tryst and noted the ‘involvement, dedication and commitment’ of the many musicians, local groups and volunteers who contribute to the success of the Tryst in celebrating the heritage and communities of Cumnock and the Doon Valley. 

As the countdown to Christmas continues, many constituents will be celebrating the season with a night out. While it’s important to enjoy such occasions it’s equally important that everyone gets home safely afterwards.

Ayrshire Road Policing Officers are carrying out road checks across Ayrshire this month: part of the Festive Drink/Drug Drive Campaign.  Remember you can be tested for drink and drugs at the roadside and could lose a lot more than your licence. Please don’t put yourself or others at risk by driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

One solution is to take a taxi home. I recently met with a Scottish based company who have developed an app known as Safekab, which allows customers to interact with taxi companies, improving safety and it’s being rolled out across Scotland.

The app also allows users to communicate with friends and family to further ensure they are safe when waiting for a taxi or walking from the taxi to their destination. For further information please visit .

On a brighter note, I have very much enjoyed the appearance of the Christmas decorations in our towns, providing great cheer at this darkest time of year and enhancing the shopping experience. I would urge you all to shop local whenever possible this December and support the many family businesses who rely on your patronage. 

A growing feature of this festive season is the number of private dwellings suberbly lit up by their owners. Their displays often attract visitors from far afield and raise vast sums for local charities.It seems to me that this really sums up what Christmas is all about: doing something for others and giving back to our communities.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those key workers and emergency services who work over the festive period and remember those who are not able to be at home this Christmas. 

Whatever your plans, please accept my warmest wishes for a happy Christmas and a peaceful, prosperous New Year.