Christmas festivities bring cheer

I hope you are all nearly ready for Christmas, there certainly has been lots going on to get us into the swing of it, writes Wetherby Mayor Coun Norma Harrington.

Friday, 22nd December 2017, 7:00 am
NAWN 1712101AM Wetherby Dickensian Market. Stuart Newcombe, Calendar's Christine Talbot, Preident of The Wetherby Lions John Boulton and The Mayor of Wetherby Coun. Norman Harrington. (1712101AM)

The Christmas Light Switch On this year was the perfect start to the preparations, with hundreds of people enjoying the atmosphere of the Christmas Market, and the legendary Tommy Cannon got the crowd going, with little kids who had no idea who he was enjoying the comedic banter with him!

It was a thrill to see the town lit up, with stalls and entertainers and townspeople and visitors of all ages having a good time together. Our thanks go as always to the Elves of the Christmas Lights team and the Business Association for organising the event.

There have been Christmas Fairs every weekend in one venue or another, the junior schools have all raised funds, the Manor Care Home hosted a magical fair for residents and visitors, all of the Churches have had theirs, with Santa’s grottos and even a Walking Christmas Tree to show the way!

The Toy Appeal launched and had a steady flow of gifts, with donations of wrapping paper and sellotape too, I don’t envy the volunteers from the Salvation Army who have to wrap them all now.

The annual Christmas Window dressing competition took place, with 22 entrants, the highest number ever, organised by the Welcome To Wetherby Team and the Charity Shop Window competition for the Soroptomists International ran alongside, making the shops in the town even more inviting than usual.

Thank you to all those who took part and congratulations to the winners in the various sections, Furnish and Fettle, Peter Jones, Nicola’s Florists and Oxfam.

There have been Christmas Carol concerts, and nativity plays and I have attended several of them including at St James Church, Wealstun Prison and Wetherby YOI Secure College of Learning. These two prison facilities in our local community remind us of those who will be away from their own families at this joyous time of year, not only the prisoners but the prison officers and nursing staff who will be working throughout the holidays as normal.

Spare a thought too for the police officers, firemen and ambulance service workers who will all be on shift as usual to provide vital services to the rest of us who are able to enjoy the time with our family and friends.

I went along on the West Yorkshire Ride along scheme and saw at first hand how our police and Special Constables work to keep us safe.

The shift started at 7pm and ended for the visitors at 1am and included several fast dashes with blues and twos going, to assist in a suspected drugs stop on a car, youths causing problems in a block of flats, a call for help from a colleague, a patrol of the safe zone for working girls, and finally a call to a fight between a taxi driver and two customers who trashed his car and robbed him.

We ended up with the detainee in the back of the police vehicle and saw at first hand the patience and professionalism of the officers who were trying to calm him down and keep him safe on his way to the Police station. An eventful night showing the reality of what life is like in our City, just a few miles down the road from our lovely Market town. We really don’t know how fortunate we are!

The Wetherby Brew Company had its official opening this month, quite a different brewing operation from the breweries of yesteryear in Wetherby! It is encouraging to see the return of this skilled craft to the town and I wish them every success.

I attended the Dickensian Fayre organised by the Lions and the Santa visits around the town, all done by volunteers to add to the magic of Christmas. The reindeer were lovely, all the cake stalls sold out, the Flower Club sold all their arrangements, the Tombola’s all found winners and we were royally entertained all day by choirs, bands and singing groups of all ages. Thank you to everyone who took part! I hope to see many of you at the Town Carol Concert.

There are still a few tickets available for the Churches Together Christmas Day Lunch for those people who otherwise would be alone on this special day. Call John on 01937 584657 to attend the lunch at the Methodist Church on Christmas Day. Please don’t sit at home alone.

I will end by wishing everyone a safe, peaceful and happy Christmas and a healthy, prosperous and happy 2018.