AS I opened my notebook in January I could not have imagined half of the stories I would go on to write in it this year.

With 12 months in the job under my belt, I was eager to see what 2023 had in store – and what a year it was.

My second year in Clydebank took me to all corners of the town with much of my time spent out in the community meeting with residents, businesses, and charities.

I had the privilege of telling some incredibly heartwarming and also heartbreaking stories and I am so grateful to everyone who took the time to speak to me this year.

Clydebank Post: I think it’s safe to say there’s nowhere quite like Clydebank which Drew Park from Lisburn, Ireland, proved back in January.

The 46-year-old revealed that his love for the town, where he spent 16 years as a youngster, was more than skin deep as he had the iconic Titan Crane permanently inked on his leg.

Clydebank Post: January also marked an uncertain chapter for several historic churches in the area as they were earmarked for closure.

I spoke with members of various congregations including Kilbowie St Andrews, a surviving witness to the events of the Blitz, who were fighting to keep their buildings open.

Clydebank Post: I put my tastebuds to the test in February to settle a heated debate in our office – I’m a good sport like that.

So what were we divided on? A wacky fried creation from a local takeaway which had taken the internet by storm.

The creation – a battered roll, chips, curry sauce, and cheese – was put together by staff at McMonagles after a special request from a customer.

I thought it was delicious, admittedly going back for a second at the weekend.

Clydebank Post: Something I’ve been struck by over the past two years is the incredible kindness of Bankies especially when I hear stories like that of Josh Hall and Lois Denham.

In March, the Drumry man told me he was “honoured” to be able to give his friend “the gift of life” after her kidney function declined to just three per cent.

At the time of our conversation, the duo were on the road to recovery after the transplant was carried out in January.

Josh said he couldn’t shake the feeling that he might have had the solution to Lois’s problems.

April saw a devastating blow for the town as we exclusively revealed that four hundred jobs were to be moved to the East End of Glasgow.

Workers at Ascensos, a call centre previously based in Clydebank Business Park, told me they had been left heartbroken with one employee saying they felt “blindsided” by the decision.

Clydebank Post: In the summer, a chef with a passion for finer dining opened up a new restaurant in the town.

Cara Roberts hoped to bring something different to Clydebank’s culinary scene with the opening of Romy’s on Alexander Street in June.

Clydebank Post: Venturing up the road I spent the first week of July at Alexander Street taxi rank speaking to drivers about a rise in stone-throwing incidents.

In June rail bosses said they would consider removing the red chipping stones from Clydebank train station following several incidents of vandalism amid an increase in anti-social behaviour in the town.

Charles Murray, chairman of Clydebank Taxi Operators and Drivers Trade (CTODT) told me he was “scunnered” after eight years of dealing with the issue.  

So, it was good news in August when ScotRail confirmed the stones would be removed from the platforms and replaced with soil and grass landscaping.

One of my favourite parts of the job is being able to meet so many inspirational people.

Clydebank Post: One of whom was little Kyro McLafferty who dazzled under the Glitterball at Strictly Kids UK in support of young people experiencing bereavement.

The kind-hearted six-year-old took part in the charity event to raise funds for The Miracle Foundation – and won.

And of course, it wouldn’t be October in Clydebank if I didn’t mention Oli Keenan.

Clydebank Post: The Linnvale horror fan transformed his family home – for the fifth year in a row – into his ‘biggest and best’ display yet – an Alice in Wonderland mad tea party.

The year ended on a good note with the heartwarming tale of Clydebank nursery youngsters who had made a special bond with residents at a local care home.

Happy New Year to all in the community. I can’t wait to see what 2024 has in store.