South Ayrshire’s Provost has used her Christmas message to hail the work of the emergency services during the explosion that rocked the Kincaidston neighbourhood earlier this year.

Helen Moonie said: “The emergency services played a key role during the dreadful events in Kincaidston in October. The explosion which saw one family in hospital and hundreds more displaced, required a huge multi-agency response.

“It was traumatic, but I am proud of the way council staff; residents; business owners and many more pulled together to help those in need.

“Tragic events can live long in the memory, and it’s important we come together to reflect and remember those involved.”

She also highlighted the importance of recognising these momentous moments and reflecting on them properly.

She continues: “The end of the year can be a poignant time for those who have lost someone close. In April, we lost HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He served this country and the Commonwealth for over 70 years. His loss has been keenly felt, not least by Her Majesty the Queen.

“We also remembered those that have given their lives in the service of our country. Remembrance Day was different again this year, with virtual commemorations also taking place to mark VE and VJ Day. We also remembered those who risk their lives at sea, as part of the Merchant Navy.

“For the last few years, we have commemorated Emergency Services Day. This honours the police; fire and rescue; the ambulance service as well as the coastguard; search and rescue; and the NHS.

“I attended the memorial of the Russian cruiser Varyag which ran aground not far from Lendalfoot in 1920. I was delighted that Andrey Yakovlev, Consul General of the Russian Federation, also managed to attend.”

She then finishes up with a plea for people to be careful with Covid surging again.

“If you are meeting up with family this Christmas, please protect each other as much as you can, and follow the latest guidance,” she said.

“Celebrating Christmas is important, but so is looking after each other.

“Please spare a thought for people who continue to work throughout the Christmas period, particularly for those who help to keep us safe and well.

“Finally, I’d like to wish you all the best for the festive season and have a Happy New Year too.”