Three months of lockdown and three months of fine weather, a blessing to be able to take our exercise without getting wet.

The first easing of restrictions towards the end of May saw a flouting of the rules and an influx of people to Balloch and into the countryside. The council provided extra staff for litter collection and parking management, as good weather had been forecast.

The National Park had for some reason decided that it would not deploy staff to aid the police and council. The park authority said people were not supposed to be travelling, but the reality was that Balloch was swamped by cars and trainloads of people who had been so good during lockdown and were just desperate to get out.

We do live in a world-renowned landscape with easy access to enjoy nature and exercise on our doorsteps - the Kilpatrick Hills, Whinney Hill, the Loch and Balloch Country Park, as well as the path along the River Leven. It is therefore sad that not everyone sees it as their responsibility to take their litter home or at least put it into a bin.

During this long period out of school many pupils and families have found the home schooling and working online extremely difficult. Three out of four pupils have completed work online every week, which is commendable; one in four has not, which is worrying. Chromebooks have been made available by the council to 900 children to make sure no-one is disadvantaged.

Children need their teachers and online learning can only be a substitute for so long. We really need to get back to school. The council needs to develop a protocol for testing and a procedure should there be a positive test. We need a fuller return to school than is currently being proposed; one or two days in a classroom is not ambitious enough.

The education and wellbeing of a generation is being put at risk. If the health situation allows, the Scottish Government must ensure there is a Scotland-wide plan for a full return to schools in August. Parents cannot go to work if children are only at school for two days a week.

The council is working hard on a recovery programme, alongside other councils in the west of Scotland. Currently 10,500 people in West Dunbartonshire are furloughed. It is anticipated that where possible more time spent working from home will become the norm.

Support for local business is vital. Many have worked longer than normal hours during the peak of the pandemic, offering delivery services and extended opening times for shift workers, and we are all grateful.

Council staff have had to turn their working worlds upside down to continue to deliver services for us all - only possible through strong leadership and the dedication of WDC staff. Thanks to all.

A full council meeting will be held by Zoom on Wednesday at 6pm. IT staff have worked hard to train councillors in the art of the virtual meeting; the public will be able to access the meeting online.

Finally, the death of Dame Vera Lynn means our links to the Second World War generation are loosening as every year passes. She wasn’t only the Forces’ Sweetheart, she was the nation’s sweetheart; a very Great Briton.