A CHRISTMAS message from Pam Davey, Chairman of Worcestershire County Council.
THIS has been a very special year when we have remembered events which took place a hundred years ago and the people who were involved.
This in itself is not unusual, but what is unusual is the immense and passionate interest in the First World War by people across the country, this was demonstrated by the large crowds at the various services across the county.
During the intervening time, following the conflict, historians have filled hundreds of books with debate as to the rights and wrongs of the War, but is only now that a true picture has emerged with the discovery and publication of private messages, written by the ordinary people who actually endured the conflict. My own grandfather, who was involved in the First Sea Battle of the War, never spoke of it.
It was, therefore, with special pride that I was able to wear his medals at a number of commemorative events.
Worcestershire has remembered the heroism of The Battle of Gheluvelt, the compassion of people like ‘Woodbine Willie’, so called because of his work of ministering to men in the trenches and handing out ‘Woodbine cigarettes’ to ease their pain.
We also remembered the sacrifice of the people of the Worcestershire countryside who were forced to part with their horses for the War effort, causing much distress and hardship, as their pets, means of transport or work-horse went for almost certain slaughter on the battlefield.
At times of War or international crisis, ordinary people do extraordinary things.
At Christmas we also remember those who do so, on a daily basis week in and week out. We are bombarded with lurid headline stories of brutality, greed, envy and exploitation. It would be easy to forget the vast majority of people in our country are peaceful, decent and law abiding. Also that there is a vast army of people who, either professionally or voluntarily, dedicate themselves to promoting the health or wellbeing of others. Christmas is a time when we express our gratitude to all those who, in whatever capacity, are there to look after us throughout the year.
May I wish everyone a Happy Christmas season and a New Year which brings joy and blessings in abundance.