Christmas time is halfway through the Mayoral year and offers a period of reflection. 2022 has given me the opportunity to get out and see so many more of you than was possible in 2021 and l have enjoyed in greatly. It has been gratifying to see Welshpool restoring its vigour after the stresses and precautions that Covid brought to our community, and to see that so much of what we gained, in new friends and support networks has stayed in place.

2022 has been a memorable year in so many ways; the Russian invasion and subsequent war in Ukraine, Town and County Council elections, the excitement and fun of the World Women’s Cycling Tour,  Royal Jubilee celebrations, the sadness of learning of the death of our late Queen are just some of the events that have impacted on us. Welshpool has risen to the occasion, whether in recognition of national and international events, where together we have stood with and raised money for Ukraine, held our Jubilee Carnival – the first Annual Carnival in the town for some years, too! We offered our respect and sent messages in the Condolences Book to King Charles.

We know how important our neighbours, community and local businesses are, and how together we can achieve the healthy, happy vibrancy of a thriving town.  This autumn has been full of opportunities for us all to find ways to join in, give and get support and this has brought to the fore the community spirit that helped us through the pandemic. Whether you think of the Fireworks Display, Winter Festival, Fanzone, Warm Hub all provided by the Town Council; or events such as 1940s Weekend or Illuminated Tractor Run organised and run by local people who want to make a difference. The drive, generosity and commitment of all those who run sports clubs, community groups, youth groups, give care and support all year, day in day out is extraordinary and something for us to cherish and nurture. 

We are now in a cost of living crisis, when so many people need help, support and advice. It’s at times such as these that we need family and community, we remember time spent together and the role of communal celebrations. Of every faith and none, Christmas is an opportunity to take a breath, reflect and recharge with those closest to us, whilst appreciating that not everyone is so fortunate, and doing what we can to help. 2022 has been an eventful year, and rightly we learn from our past. In 2023 with love, kindness and support we go forward to build on our strengths. 

This is my final Christmas as Town Mayor of Welshpool before I retire at the end of May. It has been a great honour to serve our town. I end this Christmas message by wishing you all a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.