Well it"s been quite a week. Who would have thought America would have had a black President. Like many others I have watched with interest Obama"s journey from being a relatively unknown candidate to now being President. He really is a truly inspirational man and to see the crowds at his inauguration shows the hope people of all races, beliefs and those of no belief have in him. I wish him well.

Last week I spoke of the sad demise of Woolies. It must be a sign that I am definitely getting old as it was with great sadness I walked past the soon to be demolished Regal Cinema. I know it has been used as a Bingo Hall for years, but I will always remember it as the Regal the cinema that I saw my first ever film on a big screen. It was 1974 and my dad took me to see the James Bond film, Live and Let Die, probably not the best Bond film but in my opinion it definitely had the best Bond theme song - Wings 'Live and Let Die'. I still love that song. No matter what is built in its place the site will always hold special memories for me.

I attended today, 22nd January, a meeting of the Fairtrade Steering Group. I am delighted to play a small part in this group. It is wonderful to see so many people working together to spread the message of Fairtrade. Everyone involved is a credit to Renfrewshire.

Next week the Council is hosting a special event to remember the victims of the Holocaust during the Second World War. I am delighted Renfrewshire is doing this. I believe it is important, particularly for young people, to remember how ignorance and hatred can lead to violence and murder of human beings. I know several people who have visited the concentration camps and have been deeply affected by their experiences. I hope the event goes well.

This has been a terrible season for our amateur football teams. Most teams have hardly kicked a ball since November, due to the weather. Maybe it"s about time the clubs and their associations moved their season to the summer. It is tragic to see parks lying empty and I worry that players and teams are going to give up. Football plays such an important part in people"s lives; maybe it"s time for some radical changes.

2009 has not had a great start; two of my oldest friends have lost their lives very suddenly. George Ferguson and Alex Stevenson were each others friends and I"m sure many people in Johnstone will miss them. Both were well known in the town and both, in their own way, worked hard for the community.

I send my condolences to both their families. George and Alex : I will miss you both.