Posted 23/12/2020 : By: Trevor Gurney

Mayor’s Christmas Message.

I think I can safely say that 2020 will be a year that won’t be forgotten for decades to come, and has thrown us many challenges to overcome. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic in February and ultimate periods of lockdown and special measures is an unprecedented event in peace time. I had not expected to be writing to you this Christmas, but Government guidance which prevented us from holding an AGM advised us that the current Town Council administration could continue until May 2021. I am immensely proud to still be Mayor of this wonderful town, and whilst I have continued to chair council meetings and help with the decision-making process, I have been unable to attend very few functions in person; in fact, there have been hardly any functions to attend!

Most of our business has been conducted virtually via Zoom meetings, a media platform that not many of us, me included had even heard of at this time last year.

Everything has been so different this year. No civic receptions, no church services, no Wynterfest, no Vintage Day, no Remembrance Sunday parade, and no meeting with people in person, which is one part of my role I really enjoy and have missed so much. The few events I have been involved with have been so enjoyable such as presenting a bouquet of flowers to a lovely lady upon her 100th birthday and presenting a special civic award to a person I have know most of my life, Mr Peter Parke the Wymondham butcher who finally made the difficult decision to retire after serving the town for 72 years. What an amazing achievement for both of these people.

As always, I want to thank my fellow councillors and Town Council staff for their support throughout this very difficult year, I really appreciate all the help and guidance provided. I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to my lovely wife who has supported me throughout this difficult year.

I am sure we have all experienced a rollercoaster of emotions over this past year, perhaps some loneliness or the loss of a loved one, a sad event that befell our family in April as we lost my very dear father-in-law to Covid-19. But maybe lockdown also gave some of us a chance to experience some well needed family time and perhaps ‘reset the switch’ and connect with loved ones near and far both at home and by using some of the amazing technology we have at our disposal now.

Christmas is almost upon us again, a time when we reflect upon the last year, look forward to meeting friends and family and focus upon the year ahead. As we know reflection upon the last year is a gargantuan task that is exponentially difficult this time around. I don’t think many of us would know where to begin? At the moment we cannot look forward to mass family gatherings this Christmas, and it is entirely possible that it will be a meeting of only 6 at any one time, but we can still communicate and send our love and best wishes to each other as we look forward to 2021. I think we are all looking forward to 2021 with hope in our hearts, especially given the promising news that a vaccine against Covid-19 is on the horizon. Maybe normal will return and Christmas next year will see family gatherings again, and the return of going out with friends and family.

I must pay the utmost respect to all our NHS staff, for all they have given, and say a massive thank you to all the volunteers and charitable organisations that helped us navigate through the pandemic. We can all learn from these wonderful people and apply some of their kindness to our everyday lives. Let us keep an eye on our elderly neighbours, perhaps drop a Christmas card through their door with a short message and a phone number beneath the message to let them know they have someone to call on if they need help? If we have some bad weather maybe just helping to put their bin out or clear their path. By doing this we still social distance but we lend that extra helping hand; I am sure they will appreciate your efforts.

These acts of kindness can mean so much, especially at Christmas, but take up such a small amount of time. Let us put the bad news stories behind us for a few weeks and look forward to realising the true meaning of Christmas.

I will look forward to the remainder of my term of office, and hope that come the spring time we may be able to begin meeting a few people again.

Please take care of yourselves and look out for others. May I take this opportunity to wish every one of you a happy and peaceful Christmas, and a New Year truly filled with hope and optimism.