I'M SITTING down to write to you with the holidays fast approaching.

My timeline is full of pictures reminding me that it's a year since I stood on the stage of the Alloa Town Hall and looked down on a sea of happy faces and cheering supporters. We'd won.

A fabulous end to long weeks of campaigning—in what seemed like endless rain—the length and breadth of our beautiful constituency.

We hit the ground running. I promised during the campaign that I'd be the most accessible MP the constituency had ever had. I was determined to make good on that promise.

Within a week I'd hired a staff of five. Within weeks we'd opened a constituency office. I made sure voters knew exactly what I was up to on social media.

And, because not everybody uses Facebook and Twitter, I was delighted to be asked to write a regular column for the Alloa Advertiser.

I discovered during the course of last year's campaign that many folk were completely unaware of their MP's voting record. I was determined that constituents would get to see exactly how I voted, and why.

And then Covid struck and the world changed. I'd had a sense it would be grim from the very beginning. At a meeting in Westminster, the first minister had addressed MPs and talked of the pandemic ravaging China. 'How bad do you think it will be?' I'd asked her, and her face said it all.

Like families across the land, my own has suffered a devastating loss. My mum died in June after a stay in a care home.

In her case, it wasn't Covid but separation which brought her life to an end. I hadn't been able to see her for nine weeks.

Desperately lonely in a room on her own, she stopped eating and drinking. She seemed certain she'd never get back to her flat and lost hope. Her irrepressible zeal for life deserted her.

It's been a brutal time for so many. Financial worries have created misery for many families and businesses have gone to the wall.

And while individual MPs can't always deliver solutions, I want you to know how proud I am of my team.

Our office has handled literally thousands of cases since lockdown began in March. And my staff work tirelessly to help everyone who contacts us.

With vaccines arriving in clinics across the country, at last the end is in sight. I can't tell you how I yearn to hug my friends and family. I know you all feel the same.

Thank you for all the support and encouragement in public and private you've given me throughout the year.

I hope you've had a peaceful Christmas. And I hope above all else that the New Year brings you, your family and friends good health and happier times.