The Christmas period is now upon us, and this year it looks and feels very different to any Christmas we might ever have experienced. In November, we moved as a country into a new lock down. Having rediscovered some degree of the freedoms we had once unthinkingly enjoyed over summer, I understand when some of us might be feeling we are slowly being dragged back towards the deeply worrying days of March and April. Sadly, Covid-19 remains with us.
While the times in which we find ourselves living may indeed be trying, I hope many of you are able to enjoy this festive season. We have sought to keep positive and festive across the Parish throughout advent, and I hope you have been able to join in with some of the socially distanced activities that harken back to our finest hour as a community in May with VE Day celebrations. This includes a community Christmas Lights switch-on from our homes, community Christmas cards, and a festive sing-along. Hopefully this provides a sense of the generous Christmas and community spirit our village is well known for.
Christmas is always a special time of year, where we see family, crowd round dinner tables and enjoy time with friends. This year, while we are social distancing and unable to meet others outside of our own households yet again, we can still retain that special closeness. Many of us might look forward to special phone calls with loved ones or having our first ‘zoom’ family Christmas. We can still take a moment out of our days to see our neighbours, especially those living alone or shielding, and spread that cheer that is more important to us now than ever.
This message of festive cheer is all the more important for the current circumstances. With Covid-19 resurgent in communities right across the country, we must also restate the commitments so many of us made early on in this pandemic to watch over and support the most vulnerable members of our community. This means checking on neighbours, offering to do some shopping, collecting a prescription, or simply being friendly – these days a smile, even behind a mask, goes a long way.
Once more, Wombourne’s very own Community Assistance Group remain on hand to assist wherever this becomes necessary. We hope this remains unnecessary, but we will not drop our guard over what could be a long winter for some. This extensive group of dedicated and truly wonderful people who reside in every corner of our Parish display the very best of our community. Many of you will have retained the essential contact details we sent round in newsletters to every home earlier this year, and should any of you feel the need to reach out for support, they are there for you to use.
On a more upbeat note, it is lovely to see the variety of ways people are celebrating the season in such innovative ways, and I am very pleased to have been judging the Christmas Window competition again this year. While the times are difficult, it is so uplifting to see the range of businesses across the village helping to keep smiles on faces, especially children, by decorating windows despite the trying times.
Similarly, Remembrance Sunday is always a big day in our calendar, and I well remember gazing out over a packed congregation as I gave a reading at last year’s service. This year, like so much, it was simply impossible to mark this important occasion in the same way. Nonetheless, it was an honour to represent the village in laying a wreath at the war memorial, and I was very pleased this event could still be shared with our residents who feel so deeply about remembering our fallen heroes via social media. This is testament to our inventiveness and enthusiasm that this village, and our county, is renowned for. As I laid the wreath this year, I could not help but feel we are remembering a very many more modern and civilian heroes, as well as loved ones of all sorts we may have lost.
Please continue to look after one another, enjoy the company you can keep in the settings you can keep it in, and continue to follow the guidance set out by the Government. I very much hope for a 2021 that is brighter than 2020.
All that remains for me to say is stay safe, stay well and spread happiness wherever you can. Have a wonderful, fulfilling and very happy Christmas, followed by a happy and prosperous New Year.
Wombourne Parish Council