I think people who volunteer are exceptional. the fact that so many freely give up their time to help others is commendable. I believe our society would struggle in many areas if our volunteers stopped doing what they do.

Can you imagine what it would be like without the numerous individuals who volunteer in our church groups, youth groups, community groups, charity shops, the list is endless.

Thousands of organisations across the country would collapse, or at least be on the brink, if their volunteer workforce disappeared.

I would like to include all aspects of volunteering which exists at both local and national level, but as I've limited space I will focus on the Clydebank area.

It would be invidious to single out any person or organisation, however, I want to mention two local groups which are run entirely by volunteers: Clydebank Asbestos Group, this small group works tirelessly on behalf of people whose lives have been devastated by terrible industrial-related diseases.

The Clydebank Seniors Forum, is another organisation which keeps pressure on politicians and government on the many issues affecting our senior community.

Both these groups, are indicative of many other organisations and they all deserve the highest praise for their efforts.

I could expand on the merits of volunteers within our community, who offer their services on a daily basis, without expectation or reward, but I conclude by referring to one other important local organisation, St Margaret's hospice.

Although not in the same category as the previous groups, in different ways, it still relies heavily on volunteers.

This hospice is literally at the heart of our community and has been for over sixty years.

But they face a continuous struggle to keep going and have to raise around �40,000 every week, over and above their public funding and that is achieved by the fund-raising work of just a handful of staff and hundreds of volunteers.

I know I have only scratched the surface of volunteering, as there are many people in local and national groups who also deserve recognition but I hope you will agree with me that the few organisations highlighted are in their own inimitable way a vital part of the community.

We owe them and their volunteers a debt of gratitude.

I want to take this opportunity to personally applaud all voluntary workers, because they make it happen, and this town is a better place for that.