LAST Thursday marked the official start of spring.

Difficult to believe I know considering Inverclyde had disappeared under several feet of snow along with a large chunk of the UK.

Conditions were appalling. For the first time the Met Office issued a red warning in some areas – the highest category of alerts – urging people to avoid travel.

Cars and lorries were abandoned; drivers stranded; trains and planes cancelled and of course schools were closed.

Mainstream and social media were flooded with pictures and stories of people struggling to cope or to find warmth and shelter.

And still the snow fell.

I cannot remember seeing snow quite like it in terms of the sheer volume falling in such a short space of time.

The disruption was quite unprecedented and although widely expected I think it took the majority of us by surprise.

But what I have been most impressed with over the past seven days is the strength of community spirit in Inverclyde and the dedication of the people whose job it is to keep things moving.

Inevitably we saw shortages of basic supplies — particularly bread and milk — in the shops, but there were plenty of examples of people distributing food to housebound neighbours or people stranded in their homes because the roads were blocked.

We have seen examples of communities coming together to clear paths and streets and particularly over the weekend when parents and carers turned out to ensure we could re-open the majority of our schools on Monday morning.

And of course there are the people who have been working 24 hours a day to ensure essential services were still delivered and our roads were as clear as they could be given the unprecedented weather conditions.

It is all too easy to take things for granted. We flick a switch and the light comes on. We walk into a shop and there is food on the shelf.

We open the front door and expect to be able to walk or drive down our street to where we want to go.

So when Mother Nature does her level best to disrupt our daily lives we should remember to consider and appreciate the people who selflessly and with little fuss work so hard.

I would like to offer my sincere thanks to everyone in Inverclyde for their valiant efforts and understanding.