In this unprecedented year, I pay a special tribute to the emergency services, the health and care workers, the NHS, the armed forces and everyone else who has to work over the festive period. In addition, I salute all the people who have gone above and beyond their usual responsibilities to deal with this national time of crisis to protect us and our way of life.
We are all heartened by the news of a vaccine but it is clear that we still have a tough winter ahead and I am sure readers will join me in thanking the doctors and nurses, the local authority teams and every volunteer who has tirelessly worked to help us all.
I’m also keen to speak up for our local businesses who have had their trade restricted during some of the year – it could not be more important than, when conditions allow, we go out and support local shops, local pubs, local restaurants and every business which has tried hard to survive through this most difficult of years.
My thoughts are with the people in and working in care homes and I hope conditions allow proper visits soon.
And as families gather, briefly at Christmas, we must take care and continue to follow precautions to prevent a spike early next year. But please spare a thought for all of those in your community, young and old, who may be suffering from loneliness or isolation. A safe phone call, a virtual visit over zoom or a socially distant walk can be a huge help to someone who has been left isolated by the virus.
I hope that next year is a story of good health, economic recovery and a return to normality for as many of you as possible.