New Year Messages
I HOPE all your readers had a wonderful Christmas and had the opportunity to stop, however briefly, and enjoy this special time.
Firstly, I would like to pay tribute to all those in our emergency services who have worked tirelessly throughout the year, for their dedication and commitment, but especially for their work at this particularly busy period.
For me, the beginning of each new year is a good time to reflect on the previous twelve months. 2014 in Warwick and Leamington was certainly one to remember. A year of important local and national milestones, including Warwick’s 1100th anniversary, and an opportunity to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War; the role our community played and the sacrifices it made.
Once again, our strong, dynamic community spirit was demonstrated to the full, and I would like to thank all the volunteers and organisations that made these events possible.
This year will be as busy as the last, with charities, businesses and countless other agencies working together to support our towns and villages with their plans, aspirations, and challenges. I look forward to meeting with the huge array of organisations which make up the fabric of our community, sharing ideas and supporting where I can.
Locally, we have a great deal to be proud of. From our hospitals to our schools and colleges, our health workers and our teachers – I am always impressed by the number of people who come together to help Warwick and Leamington continue to be such a unique place to live and work. And a special thanks to the hundreds of ‘unsung’ heroes, who give up so much of their own time supporting, with so much passion, many wonderful causes: work that I hope they will continue in this as in every year.
May I wish all readers a Happy New Year!
WHEN I look back at 2014, I recall in particular the moments when we looked back much further. This was the year we remembered significant anniversaries of the start of World War I and the D-Day Landings during World War II. We remembered individual acts of heroism and sacrifice and episodes of huge collective loss. The 11th November had added significance last year and I was privileged to attend a profoundly moving service on Armistice Day itself at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey. No less moving though were the local commemorations where many people, of all ages, came together to contemplate what these anniversaries mean to each of us. I found it impossible to escape the symbolism of the two anniversaries so close together – sobering proof that the cry of ‘never again’ raised at the end of the First World War went unheeded, but there is a much more positive message too. The many who died did not die in vain. They died to protect a way of life we still enjoy, a democracy and rule of law which continue to guarantee our freedoms.
This year sees more significant milestones which reinforce this point. 2015 is the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, the foundation of much of our constitutional settlement. The two World Wars we remembered last year represent only part of the high cost of defending the principles of that settlement. 2015 is also the 750th Anniversary of the first English Parliament, instigated by Simon de Mortfort in a field not far from the centre of Kenilworth. 750 years on, 2015 will also see a General Election for its latest successor and, whatever the complexion of that Parliament, we should all take pride in the continuation of free and fair elections to decide its composition. We should also continue to be grateful for the many sacrifices made to ensure we can vote in them.