'I extend my warmest wishes' - Christmas message from Mayor of Redditch - The Redditch Standard

'I extend my warmest wishes' - Christmas message from Mayor of Redditch

Redditch Editorial 24th Dec, 2023   0

AS we gather with family and friends during this festive season, I extend my warmest wishes to each and every one of you.

This time of year holds a special place in our hearts, a moment for reflection on the year gone by, and hopes for the future ahead.

This festive season has been particularly significant for me and I have taken immense pleasure in being part of our town’s pre-Christmas celebrations.

The Redditch lights switch-on saw huge numbers of people enjoy themselves – a remarkable contrast to not so many Christmases ago when Covid prohibited large gatherings.

I trust all our residents have enjoyed the run-up to the festive period as much as I have.

From local craft fairs to the Santa Fun Run, Yule by the Pool, and Arrow Valley Country Park Light Trail, the community spirit has been nothing short of fantastic.

As we revel in the joy, let us also recognise Christmas and new year are not always happy times for everyone.

Some find the season difficult, lonely, stressful, and financially challenging so please remember to ask for help if you need it, help those around you and to always be kind, during the festive season and beyond.

I believe we are all citizens of the world, so if I could ask for anything during this season, it would be to help people caught up in conflict and for whom this time of year will not, sadly, be filled with peace and joy.

We must stand strong as a community in showing our support as these issues are much closer to home than we think and affect those around us.

Last month, I had a poignant meeting with a Redditch resident who tragically lost 23 members of his immediate family – including 12 children – in a single Israeli air strike in Palestine.

It’s a heart-wrenching story but makes you appreciate the safety and security of where we live, especially during this season.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families and people affected by conflict.

Safety is of course a fundamental need in our community, which is why my chosen Mayoral charity is Drop The Knife (Redditch Self Defence and Youth Engagement).

Peter Martin works tirelessly to steer local young people away from anti-social behaviour and knife crime.

I am sure this, alongside several SmartWater events over the past year, will go some way in making our communities feel safer and more secure heading into 2024.

Serving as your Mayor for the past few months has been a privilege, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many interesting people, from all walks of life, along the way.

In keeping with the season, my heartfelt thanks go to the many good people of our community who give their time and resources to others in need, often without fuss or fanfare.

The community spirit and kindness that exist in our borough are truly remarkable, and I am very proud to represent you as Mayor.

We have a fantastic, diverse town that we can all be very proud of.

May this festive season bring you joy, peace, and the company of those you hold dear.

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Coun Salman Akbar

Mayor of Redditch


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