My sincerest thanks to all

Christmas is almost upon us and I hope that all residents have a very merry and peaceful holiday.

Of course, while most of us are relaxing and enjoying our Christmas Day, hopefully with family and friends, there will be a small but dedicated group of people who are working to ensure others are able to appreciate this special time of year.

In our own Council there will be staff working and on call.  Often these officers work with some of our most vulnerable residents – be they children in the care of the Council or elderly residents either in their own homes or care homes in the borough.

In an attempt to make one group of officers stand for all their colleagues, I’d like to let you know how some of our members of staff, who work in our two residential children’s homes, will be spending their Christmas.

Clearly, for some children, spending Christmas with their family is, unfortunately, not an option.  However, our staff will be doing everything they can to make Christmas Day as special as they can for the youngsters in our care. So, from giving presents to cooking a full Christmas dinner, these dedicated people will be spending time away from their own families to ensure the children we look after have as festive a day as possible, and I thank them for it, as I thank all other staff across the Council who are on duty.

They join many others in councils across the country and of course the marvellous people who work in our emergency services, NHS and other vital services. So, while we’re catching up with TV box sets, watching a blockbuster film or entertaining the children, they are all making sure that things continue to run smoothly, or if something goes wrong, they are available to try to help put it right.

And of course, these paid staff are joined by a veritable army of volunteers who embrace the true spirit of Christmas by giving up their time to help those in need. They will be working in shelters for the homeless or on the other end of a phone to be a good Samaritan for those who find themselves in despair at what is for most of us a time of celebration. And I’d like to give a special mention to all our foster carers who do so much to provide young people with a stable family home.

So, my sincerest thanks to all who forego their Christmas pleasures so that we can celebrate in our various churches, pull crackers, tell terrible jokes, watch the Queen’s speech, follow the yellow brick road or enjoy The Great Escape.