As we approach Christmas I know how many of you are having to make difficult decisions about spending time with loved ones who you have had so little contact with over the last year.
It has been such a difficult and challenging year and I am so proud of everyone in the Moorlands. We have seen how our fantastic frontline NHS staff have kept going despite the enormous pressures they are under as well as all our key workers and we have witnessed so many acts of kindness with our communities coming together to help those in need.
The Christmas trees and decorations are up but this Christmas will be very different. I would normally be at many Christmas events such as the switching on of Christmas Lights across the Moorlands, visiting the postmen and women at the sorting office, delivering mince pies to the Leek Moorlands Hospital on Christmas morning, church services and so many more but sadly none of this has been possible. On a positive note, we now have community testing available and the vaccine being rolled out so despite the terrible hardships that many people are facing, I do believe there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I know that you will join me in thanking all those working in the emergency services over Christmas – our doctors and nurses, NHS staff, the police, the fire service and ambulance crews and also everyone working away from home in our armed forces.
Finally, can I urge people to think carefully about who to see this Christmas. I hope everyone has seen that the rules for Christmas have changed and up to three households can meet but only on Christmas Day, not the five days as previously set out.
I wish everyone in Staffordshire Moorlands a very happy and peaceful Christmas.