This Christmas will be like few others most of us have known.
Celebrations, whether or not we are together with our loved ones, will be tinged with regret. For grieving families affected by Covid-19, this year will have been one that they will wish to see draw to a close. Young people have lost schooldays and missed friends. The pandemic has damaged physical and mental health. Many have lost their jobs. Finances have been stretched to the limit.
But while there is sadness and anxiety, there is also hope this festive season of limited family gatherings, traditions and events – even though some may be virtual and the need for caution is paramount.
Christmas is a time for looking back. We celebrate the amazing work of key workers in Kent, Medway and beyond throughout the year; scientists tirelessly searching for a vaccine; our charities, volunteers, friends and neighbours carrying out selfless tasks for others; our armed forces helping civilian services in so many ways; heroes like Captain Sir Tom Moore and Kent’s tenacious young fundraiser Tony Hudgell; young people helping the frail; and the inspiration of the natural world in our beautiful county.
My volunteer colleagues in the Kent Lieutenancy, a role dating back to Tudor times, have carried out many tasks throughout the year, most recently the laying of wreaths at ceremonies of Remembrance across Kent and Medway.
Charles Dickens, an author closely associated with Kent and Medway, summed up the past year in A Tale of Two Cities. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
As this is also a time for looking forward, we hope and pray that the worst of times are coming to an end, that the vaccination programme will offer protection to many, and that our wishes for a Happier New Year are fulfilled.
I wish you a blessed Christmas, and happiness and good health in 2021.
With Best Wishes,