AS January was drawing to a close, typing coronavirus for the first time, I had no idea just how the world was about to change when we reported “a patient was tested in a Glasgow hospital for the deadly coronavirus, which has killed 18 people so far in China”.

I would go on to spend most of the year listening to Nicola Sturgeon every day giving updates on coronavirus and then reporting the latest for our readers. But there was other news as well.

Community groups would play an increasingly important role in 2020 – though the year began with many in Glasgow facing an uncertain future. They were told they would have a second chance to apply for a new council fund after one in four were refused because the council said they hadn’t filled a form out properly. Many ultimately missed out on vital funds.

In February, two drug death summits were held in Glasgow after a campaign by the Glasgow Times. Sadly though, the Scottish and UK governments held separate events and didn’t engage with one another in any meaningful way that could result in real change. It has to be filed under “missed opportunity”.

The City Chambers and council leadership would feature heavily in reporting this year.

After allegations of footballing bias on social media by political opponents, Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken (below-left) revealed she had been cleared by the Standards Commissioner of intervening in a decision to refuse Rangers FC a fan zone on Glasgow Life pitches at Ibrox.

One of the privileges of working for the Glasgow Times is when people share their stories with you. This happened on many occasions and some stand out.

Myriam Giesen, from Riddrie, wanted her dad Carlos Giesen Martinez to be allowed to stay in Scotland so she could look after him. Bizarrely, the Home Office told him he should prepare to return to Nigeria, where he had never been and had no link to.

Later in the year Ann Booth, from Germiston, shared her shocking and heartbreaking story of how she was not informed her husband John had died at the Royal Infirmary. Ann had been fighting for answers for three years and the Public Services Ombudsman refused to investigate.

We were also privileged to be present in November, when prison officer Rab Kerr walked out of Barlinnie into retirement and was met by a welcome party of former prisoners to thank him for helping them turn their lives around. Not an everyday sight, you would agree.

In March, back at the City Chambers, there was a good old-fashioned town hall rumble going on as council leader Ms Aitken faced a leadership challenge as head of the SNP group. It ended with her narrowly defeating Allan Gow, who was later sacked as City Treasurer.

In April we reported on the early retirement of a Glasgow council boss who had been facing a possible disciplinary hearing over expenses for the past year. The Glasgow Times had revealed in December 2018 that Richard Brown, former executive director for Development and Regeneration Services, was investigated for an alleged breach of expenses rules.

Sometimes news seems so surreal you question if it is really happening. In June, I was in George Square as groups of men ignored lockdown to gather, answering a call to protect statues following vandalism after Black Lives Matter protests.

There was a sinister undercurrent and the presence of the media was not exactly welcomed by everyone there. Strange days indeed, most peculiar.

The same month I was in West George Street after Badreddin Abdalla Adam was shot dead at the Park Inn after he stabbed six people.

After the summer easing of lockdown, in September Nicola Sturgeon announced Glasgow would go into tougher restrictions for two weeks. We have been under harsh measures ever since.

A highlight was speaking, via Zoom, with Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart in New York about his life and his book, Shuggie Bain. The idea a boy from Sighthill would win such a prize was inspiring and wonderful.

The year drew to a close with the shocking drug death statistics. Another 1264 lives lost, 279 in Glasgow. A huge shame and a total disgrace.