As I look back over 2016, I am struck by how privileged we all are to live in such a wonderful part of the world. I feel honoured to have been elected Norfolk County Council’s chairman in May of this year, particularly as the council has not had a chairman from the west of the county for over 20 years.
My aim has been to try to encourage residents across the county to realise that they are part of a larger community, not just their own village, town or district.
As part of my whole county approach, I have been privileged to be involved in matters as diverse as the opening of the new stretch of coastal path at Great Yarmouth and the holding of a council reception in the newly refurbished St Nicholas’ Chapel in Lynn.
The refurbishment of County Hall itself has been completed and, I believe, has not only created a better environment for those working there, but also given the county a headquarters of which it can be proud.
There have been many celebrations and commemorations this year.
The Queen’s 90th birthday saw street parties across the county – we even held one in County Hall itself!
RAF Marham celebrates 100 years since it was first established. As an ex-serviceman myself, and the county council’s forces champion for several years, I believe it is important to recognise the dedication and commitment of those in our armed forces. One of my themes for my civic year has been to help raise the profile of The Bridge for Heroes who do such sterling work to support our ex-servicemen, women and their families across our county.
My second civic theme has been to also raise awareness to mental health and welfare for young people in our county, so I am also thinking of them, their families and the people and services that support them at this time of year.
I am very aware of the hard work, compassion and effort made by those in the county’s emergency services, the NHS and those working in education and social services. Many of them will be working during Christmas and the New Year and we need to remember them in our prayers over this period too.
We should all bear in mind the true message of Christmas, as we find joy in one another’s company and look forward to the New Year and all the opportunities it will bring.
I wish you a Christmas full of joy and peace and a happy and fulfilling New Year.
God bless you all.
Chairman, Norfolk County Council