THE Jubilee Weekend brought with it another Honours List and, in the main, it is the usual list of the good, the bad and the frankly bewildering (Tony Blair’s son?).

I have little time for the Damehoods and Knighthoods handed out like long service medals to politicians and then, of course, there is always a smattering of celebrities on the list to give the tabloids something to feed on.

It is only when you get further down these lists, to the ‘lower’ awards – The MBEs and BEMs – that the "real" people start to get a look in. The dinner ladies and the lollipop men, the community volunteers and those who have given a lifetime of service to society.

And I do want to pause for a minute and congratulate two well-deserved local awards - Liz Thomson, Deputy Head Teacher at Alloa Academy, who received the BEM for services to Education and Home-Start Clackmannanshire who were awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service. The recipients of these awards have made a tangible difference to the lives of children and families here in Clackmannanshire for many years.

Those who give of their time and energy to help others or for the general betterment of their local community are always worthy of celebration, however, and I want to highlight Volunteers Week, held in the first week of June each year, which is an opportunity to recognise, respect and thank all who volunteer.

Without volunteers, communities would collapse and society would fail to function. The range of roles carried out by volunteers is so incredibly diverse – from running youth groups like the Scouts and Guides, to helping out at a lunch club for the elderly; from preparing planters and hanging baskets to coaching a football team; from working in a charity’s shop to running their tiktok account; from offering befriending services to sitting on committees.

Throughout the pandemic of the last two years, many voluntary activities – like so much else – went into abeyance, but that didn’t stop our army of volunteers finding other ways to help others.

It was great to pop into the Alva Community Fun Day at the weekend and chat to a number of stall holders, including the Royal British Legion Scotland stall. I hope to be able to attend as many galas and fun days, games and other community events as I can over the summer. It is great to see these events happening again and, of course, almost entirely down to the efforts of volunteers.

This year, the Volunteers Week theme is, once again, quite simply, ‘Thank You’. An opportunity for organisations to thank their volunteers and for all of us think about the fantastic contribution all those volunteers make. I was delighted to be able to attend an event in the Hawkhill Centre in Alloa to recognising the contribution of some of our fantastic local volunteers.

If you want to get involved in volunteering, please do. Not only will it make a difference to your local community, it can promote better physical and mental health and wellbeing, improves confidence and can help you develop new skills.