2023 has been my first full 12 months as a councillor, and as it draws to a close, it is a fitting time to reflect on and recognise the contributions of our many community groups and volunteers within the ward who have been supporting their local communities faithfully all year.

My work as a councillor has certainly opened my eyes to the vast range of activities and events that take place within the various villages that simply wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for their collective efforts and endless enthusiasm. Much of what we achieve within our communities would be impossible without their support.

These activities and events are wide ranging and without mentioning any specifically, include lunch clubs, food larders, music festivals, fairs, gala days, Christmas events, and litter picking to name but a few. The catalogue is endless, and there are far too many to list in this short column.

So, as we say farewell to 2023, I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my personal thanks and gratitude to everyone who has taken the time to get involved in supporting your community. Thank you very much for all your time and effort: you know who you are, so take a moment to pat yourself on the back and celebrate what you've achieved in 2023.

I trust that many of you are looking forward to some down time over the festive period to recharge your batteries!

I’m pleased to say that, along the way, I’ve helped some of these groups and individuals to achieve their aims and objectives this year, but there are still challenges ahead and I look forward to working in partnership to deliver continued benefit to our communities throughout 2024 and beyond.

I wish a happy and healthy New Year to you all.