Since becoming Mayor of the Royal Borough in May of this year I have had the opportunity to meet many amazing residents doing truly remarkable work in our community.
I am reminded of the expression used to describe the Olympic Torchbearers in 2012. They were called the ‘extraordinary ordinary’ people – those who put others before themselves every day, who triumphed over personal adversity and who fought against the odds to achieve their goals. That spirit not only carries on in our borough but is flourishing.
We see it in residents who care for a poorly or vulnerable member of their family, in those who volunteer so that others benefit from their time, skills and experience and in those who campaign and raise funds to help achieve what to others may seem an impossible dream.
Julia, the Mayoress, and I are privileged to meet these ‘extraordinary ordinary’ people as we travel around during our year of office and, thanks to all their efforts, our community is a better place for everyone.
I am very conscious that, despite recent reports of economic recovery, some of our residents are still experiencing challenging times when money is tight and the demands of daily living are high.
There is no better time than Christmas to remember those who are having it tough and to share goodwill in very tangible ways – through charities that distribute food or financial aid or those that provide warmth and a comfortable bed when there is no-one else to offer shelter.
This is the true essence of Christmas – inspiring people to do good things for others without the need of reward or public thanks.
I know that, like me, your thoughts and prayers are with our Armed Forces, especially those who are away from their families at this special time.
I also send my heartfelt thanks to everyone who will be working over the holidays, especially the emergency services, doctors, nurses and those who will continue to deliver essential services to residents who are vulnerable or in danger.
Julia and I wish all of you a happy, peaceful and spiritually enriching Christmas and a New Year that brings hope and fulfilment in whatever you do.
In many ways we are fortunate that across the Windsor constituency unemployment levels are low and businesses are continuing to thrive. It has certainly been another tough year with continued pressures on household budgets, but I’m delighted that the economic road ahead is looking a little more positive. I continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity and energy of our hard-working councillors and active residents who are always keen to get involved with projects and support our local economy.
Personally, I have had a very busy 12 months as MP for Windsor. In Parliament, I have continued the fight against the expansion of Heathrow Airport, and I worked as hard as possible to give the British people an EU Referendum vote in 2014. I have also continued to push for more local control over our local environment, especially when it comes to local development, and I am determined to stand side by side with residents and councillors to fight for our local NHS services in the year ahead.
So I want to thank the active constituents of Windsor for their continued correspondence and support. You have kept me up to date on key issues and invited me to some incredible events. I am gearing up for another busy year ahead in Parliament, and you have my commitment as your MP that I will always fight tooth and nail in the best interest of local residents.
Overall it has been a hard but rewarding few months and, despite these uncertain times, I wish you all a merry Christmas and happy new year.
Christmas is celebrated by almost everyone, whatever their faith, but among the glitter, gifts and tinsel it can be easy to forget the stable birth which it marks.
Think how anxious Joseph must have been with nowhere to take his pregnant wife.
And this year more of my constituents have faced homelessness than at any time since I was first elected MP for Slough.
So even though times are tough let's remember the people who have the toughest time at Christmas.
I pledge to do all I can to help the people I have the privilege to represent to cope well with the challenges of life.
But as well as tackling problems I hope to help local people build a better future for themselves and their children.
I wish all my constituents the very best for Christmas and the New Year.
I am pleased to have this opportunity to be able to reflect on the last year as one of positive progress and continued success for our town.
In a packed year we had the great honour of the Queen’s visit to open our new centre in Britwell, we have continued the fight against the Government cuts, and we continue to deliver much-needed new community centres, school places and housing.
And now work is about to begin on building the iconic new Curve development at the heart of our town, it is clear to all that we are not only working to make the year ahead the best possible but are as positive and ambitious about our town’s future as we ever were.
I hope that we can all enjoy the festive season and use this time to come together as families and as a community to celebrate the positives of the last year and reaffirm our collective hopes and ambitions for the future. At the same time, our thoughts will go out to those within our Slough family who may be suffering difficulties or hardship.
I wish everyone a happy, peaceful and prosperous Christmas and all the very best for the year ahead.
As 2013 draws to a close, it gives me great pleasure to send Christmas wishes to the residents of Slough.
It has been a great privilege to meet so many people while undertaking my official duties this year and I have been touched by the great warmth and generosity of spirit in the town.
I have been particularly impressed by the outstanding work carried out within the community and voluntary sectors and by the statutory bodies.
I would like to thank the many individuals and groups who work tirelessly to contribute to Slough’s success.
As we join together to celebrate this special season of goodwill, let our thoughts reach out to those who may be facing difficult times, either in their personal lives or through international troubles, and let us hope for peace and harmony at the close of this year and for 2014 and beyond.
The mayoress joins with me to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.
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The Met Office has issued a yellow alert for Windsor and Maidenhead, Slough and Wokingham, warning that rain moving eastwards across the south of the country may turn to snow in some places.