Her Majesty the Queen was an ever-present in all our lives. I am sure many residents of Dumbarton will have a time or a story when they met or saw the Queen at some point in their own lives.

It is still difficult to fully accept that the constant presence of the Queen in the civic life of our nation has passed and that we now have a new King.

We gave witness to this at our Proclamation Ceremony on September 11, where I was joined by the Vice Lord Lieutenant of the County, Linda Moffat, our new chief executive, Peter Hessett, the council’s leader, Martin Rooney, other councillors and representatives of the police, fire service and local churches.

However, I was delighted to see so many members of the public join us too, and I thank all those who attended for giving up their time – as well as the council staff who worked tirelessly to prepare for and organise our local events.

I also attended the service of thanksgiving for Her Majesty’s life at St Giles Cathedral on September 12 – a significant honour at a historic occasion.

We gave thanks for Her Majesty’s long life of service, her steadfast commitment to duty, her strong faith and good humour and, of course, for the deep love she inspired from all her subjects and for the myriad ways in which she met, cared for and welcomed people from all walks of life.

She brought calm and stability across her realms during our darkest times.

From there I attended the Scottish Parliament to listen to the Motion of Condolence – and thereafter it was my great privilege to be introduced to our new King; in our private conversation we shared a joke and I then invited him to visit West Dunbartonshire during his reign.

It has been said by many that it is an unenviable task for Charles to follow in the footsteps of his mother. The challenge to our new King will be to recognise that as our Head of State we expect him to promote and seek justice and prosperity – not just for some, but for all.

There is no doubt that we head into uncertain times both locally and nationally, with the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, the rocketing energy prices and the cost of living crisis here at home.

As the dust settles from all the pomp and ceremony and civic events across the nation, the immediate challenges for society remain. However, my lasting memory of our Queen was her message to all during difficult times and at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when she said: “We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”

We honour our Queen who gave a lifetime of service and duty to us by continuing to pull together, work together and respect each other during difficult times.