A STALWART from the local foodbank has been hailed a hero for her unstinting voluntary work in the community.

Sandra Riggans, who volunteers at Inverclyde Foodbank, was invited to attend the opening ceremony of the Scottish Parliament after being nominated for the honour by MSP Stuart McMillan.

Since starting at the foodbank almost seven years ago, Sandra has helped countless people from some of Inverclyde's most vulnerable communities.

Mr McMillan says he put Sandra's name forward to thank her and her colleague for the work that they do.

He said: "Sandra's always a warm friendly face when anyone enters the foodbank.

"They do a huge amount of work for our community and I genuinely thought they should be recognised for their excellent work."

After accompanying Mr McMillan to the opening, Sandra and other local champions met with the Queen at a reception following the ceremony.

Modest Sandra said she was 'honoured' to be nominated and paid tribute to all the members of the public who made her work possible through their donations.

She said: "The real heroes are those individuals, businesses and organisations who continue to donate to our cause.

"I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of Inverclyde.

"They have done so even through these difficult times.

"I'd also like to mention workers from McLaren Packaging and engineers from the gas board who came out at the start of the pandemic, while furloughed, and helped us out in the warehouse and to make deliveries."

The pandemic has been a tough time for foodbank volunteers like Sandra due to social distancing rules restricting their interaction with the people they serve with the friendly faces and long chats over cups of tea sorely missed.

With rules now relaxing and more face-to-face interactions being permitted, Sandra and the rest of the team are looking forward to having more contact with the individuals and families being helped by the lifeline charity.