Christmas is a time to bring joy to all

Are you all ready for Christmas? I don't know about you but this Advent period has flown, writes Wetherby Mayor Coun Normal Harrington.

Wednesday, 21st December 2016, 11:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 2:13 pm
NAWN 1612111AM1 Wetherby Lions Dickensian Market. the Mayor of Wetherby Coun. Norma Harrington shares a joke with Stuart Newcombe, Mark Yelland and Rob Theweneti.(1612111AM1)

The celebrations in Wetherby kicked off with the Christmas Lights Switch On that was enjoyed by hundreds of local residents and visitors.

It was a great turn out, with lots of stalls and entertainment to get us all in the mood for gearing up to Christmas. Our thanks go to all those involved in arranging the evening, and a special thanks to our celebrity guests.

The preparations all around the town for the lights switch on, the Nativity scene at Bridgefoot, the Dickensian Fair, the Town Carol Service, Nativity plays and numerous church services take so much planning and organising by all the volunteers involved. I would like to say a great big thank you to everyone who has helped make Wetherby such a welcoming place to live and visit at this special time of the year.

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I was delighted to welcome everyone to the Dickensian Fair where we were entertained by two children’s choirs from Deighton Gates and St James Schools, as well as the Wetherby Silver Band, The Collingham Wind band and the Wetherby Musical Society singers.

Several local charities were represented, including LCD Wharfedale House, the Wetherby and District Foodbank, Martin House Hospice, WiSE, Children’s Society, St Gemma’s Hospice and Wetherby Lions themselves.

I have thoroughly enjoyed visits to St James Christmas School Lunch, the Carol services at HMP Wealstun and HMYOI Wetherby, as well as the Community Carol Service and Carol Concerts at St James Church.

Welcome to Wetherby’s Christmas Window decoration competition for businesses in the town had a record number of entries this year.

So many groups and associations have been holding their own Christmas parties and saying thank you to their staff. We are so lucky to live in a vibrant and thriving town.

However, it is easy to get “wrapped up” in all the preparation for Christmas and forget that this will be a difficult time for many people so, can we please spare a thought for those who will be on their own this Christmas, some without money to buy food and expensive presents, some without families to visit them, and those who are in hospital.

There are events going on over the Christmas period for people who need help and I would remind people of the Churches Together Christmas Day Lunch being served in St James Church Centre this year.

This lunch is primarily for those who would otherwise be on their own on Christmas Day, or who are unable to cook lunch for themselves due to illness or caring responsibilities. Tickets are available from the Parish Office. Please let your friends and neighbours know about this event.

WiSE are holding tea and cake Christmas themed afternoons in Wetherby Methodist Church on Wednesday December 28 and in Boston Spa Village Hall on Thursday December 29, please see their website for details.

The Foodbank will be open as usual throughout the Christmas period, on Tuesday and Friday mornings between 10am and noon at Barleyfields Community Centre on Barleyfields Road.

The Gift Appeal, organised by the Baptist Church and the Salvation Army, has been well supported by our generous Wetherby residents and the gifts will be wrapped and delivered in time for Christmas, once again by a dedicated team of volunteers.

Churches Together have delivered leaflets to all homes advertising the church events being held around the town and I hope you managed to get to some of the services and carol concerts that remind us what Christmas is really about.

I will end by saying a big thank you to all those who will be working over Christmas, especially the hospital staff, the police, ambulance and fire services, those working in prisons, social services and all the care homes and care service providers in the area.

Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year to everyone.