The Wokingham Paper

Christmas greetings from Wokingham’s leaders

Christmas greetings
A Christmas greeting from Wokingham Paper contributor J W Blaney

We invited Wokingham borough’s MPs, mayors and council leaders to share with your their Christmas thoughts and wishes.

Here we present them for you to enjoy this Christmastime.

Don’t forget we are not publishing between Christmas and New Year – our next issue is on sale January 4. You don’t want to miss our special double issue though: it’s got a brilliant school Nativity picture special inside!

Theresa May, MP for Maidenhead

2017 has been a year of challenges and I remain very grateful for all the support I have received from my constituents throughout the year and in particular for my re-election in June.

At this time of year, I particularly want to express my thanks to all those in our public services, charities and elsewhere who give up their Christmas to work so that we can enjoy the festive season.

I warmly wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Cllr Rob Stanton, Mayor of Wokingham Borough

To be the Mayor of the Wokingham Borough is an honour and made all the more special at Christmas.

As I write this message, Maureen and I are fully engaged in supporting Christmas events and meeting many residents.

To have seen the delight on the faces of many children as we switch on various Christmas lights around the Borough is lovely to witness and fun counting backwards as we do so.

One of the key events this year has been the Mayor’s Christmas card competition which invited every primary school pupil in the Borough to design a Christmas card, the theme being people who have to work at Christmas time.

Hundreds of our young people took to the challenge and as part of the competition, awards were granted to the winning schools by Mr and Mrs Alun Hicks who wish to commemorate the life of their son Captain David Hicks MC.

The excellent work that our charities in Wokingham do for those that need help, support and at times someone to talk to is impressive and heart-warming. We are thankful to them all.

Make sure this year if you know of a lonely neighbour, visit them and send them a Christmas card to remind them they are not forgotten.

May you all enjoy the peace and happiness of Christmas.

Cllr Peter Lucey, Wokingham town mayor

Christmas returns, and the last 12 months seem to have flown by! Yet I always feel uplifted with the approach of Christmas. Its traditions of peace, hospitality and goodwill do so much to inspire our feelings of charity and fellowship.

We have so much going on in Wokingham at this time, from the Winter Carnival to the Living Advent Calendar. These events also raise funds for our various local charities; such charities – and the Living Advent Calendar itself – could not survive without the efforts of all the volunteers, and the generosity of our local businesses.

My thanks to them all.

While enjoying time with friends and family at Christmas, we must remember those in hospitals or care, or otherwise alone at this time, and I am always impressed by the work of our local volunteers and nurses to assist those affected.

On Christmas morning, I will visit a number of Wokingham care homes and establishments and support the Link Visiting scheme’s Christmas lunch.

I thank the many people in our town who spend their Christmas Day caring for others, and of course those who, at this holiday time, serve protecting our town and country.

As you will have noticed, we are in the middle of a truly exciting renewal of the Wokingham town centre. I look forward to the beautiful new Market Place in Spring 2018, and the new shops in Peach Place, but at the moment I know things can be a struggle.

There are special pressures on our retailers during these improvements and I will concentrate all my Christmas purchases in Wokingham Town, and I would urge you to shop local this Christmas too.

And finally, on behalf of Wokingham Town Council, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas, a peaceful new year and great prosperity in 2018.

Cllr Jenny Cheng, Mayor of Woodley

I would like to wish all residents of Woodley a very Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.

John Redwood, MP for Wokingham

Christmas is a time when our great traditions are flexed by modern realities. What endures is the spirit of Christmas.

We look forward to a time of giving, when we think more of those in need and those members of our family and those in the circle of our friends that need some extra mid-winter care. It is good to think less of the daily work worries, and more of what we can do to brighten the lives of others.

The Wokingham community has many generous and caring people who do work a little magic for the rest.

I have heard great singing from the choral societies, seen the plans for a lively living advent calendar, and know of charitable help being planned for those in need. I would like to thank all involved.

I would also like to thank all who serve the public throughout the year in different ways. There are many who ensure we are kept safe, can be treated when ill, can buy our daily bread and ensure our water and energy comes on at home when we need it.

Dr Phillip Lee, MP for Bracknell

Possibly due to its pre-Christian roots, Christmas somehow transcends religion. Being for all a celebration of the turning point where the ever-darkening days came to an end and people look forward to the new seasons to come.

That said, the Christian story, of a baby born to bring peace to the world, is perhaps the most powerful narrative ever created. It surely gains its power from the fact that, as every parent knows, it is the truth.

Last June my wife gave me a wonderful baby daughter. The reaction she brings from people, those known to us and strangers, is both heart-warming and remarkable. Political opponents, with whom I may hardly ever have spoken, will stop to see her, and talk – some reminiscing over the times when their own children were her age.

That is the power of a baby. It is also why Christmas really is for children. They share none of our prejudices, but they bring us together in a shared hope for a better future.

So, to every resident of Wokingham, whether young or old, of whatever faith or none, I wish a happy, restful and, most of all, peaceful Christmas.

Matt Rodda, MP for Reading East

I am honoured to have been elected to represent Woodley and Earley in Parliament and it has been a privilege to serve the local community during my first six months as an MP.

We have a strong local community and I have been proud to attend Woodley Carnival, Woodley’s Remembrance Sunday wreath laying, to hold surgeries in the Oakwood and St James’s Church Hall and to work on campaigns to protect local services and to protect schools from funding cuts.

I would like to wish everyone in Woodley and Earley a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Cllr Charlotte Haitham Taylor, Leader of Wokingham Borough Council

Seven months ago, I had the enormous privilege of being elected Leader of Wokingham Borough Council.

It was my good fortune to take the helm amidst what the ancient Chinese curse called “interesting times”, locally and globally, internally and externally. This is not the occasion for a Brexit review, other than to note that our area is home to considerable inward investment and many leading technology and services businesses, with which our Council is engaging to ensure our area’s continued prosperity, as Britain prepares to leave the Single Market, the Customs Union and the other economic institutions of the European Union.

Locally we have had much to do around the Council, starting with changing the way we work, in order to deliver better services with even greater productivity.

Externally we have been forging ahead with the regeneration of Wokingham town centre, approved major renovations to our leisure centres, and fought to obtain more money for our area, particularly for this borough’s excellent schools.

We’re all looking forward to another busy year in 2018.

In the last several months as Leader I have tried to get out and about as much as possible, talking with as many local people as I can.

The Council cannot and will not always get everything right.

When things don’t go so well, we want to have a dialogue with you – explaining what’s going on and what we’re doing to improve matters; listening to you about your priorities and how you think we could do things differently.s Christmas approaches, I would like to mention the numerous volunteers in our community who will be taking time away from their families over this festive period.

They work tirelessly in our community, particularly with some of our most vulnerable people.

This borough has always stood on the shoulders of these giants – they are true foundation stones.

On behalf of all councillors and council officers, I want to sincerely thank all of our incredible volunteers for everything they do to make Wokingham Borough a great place to live and work – as evidenced again last week in the Halifax Quality of Life survey.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Cllr Michael Firmager, Mayor of Earley

At this special time I would like to wish everyone who lives and works in Earley a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

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