I have delivered a considerable number of these messages over the years and always ended them by wishing everyone a merry Christmas. However I want to start this message by wishing you all a merry Christmas, because, unlike in previous years, it can’t be assumed that most of you will be able to celebrate this special time of year as you would want to.

I won’t go over the reasons for this, we hear them every day on the news. But I would like to remind you that one of the reasons we mark Christ’s birth at this time of year is because, for hundreds of years, people have needed a special occasion to help them through the dark midwinter and bring the promise of the spring to come.

So this year, please have the happiest Christmas you can and I hope that the festive spirit helps you through to better times.

Cllr Alan Bradford

Town Mayor of North Petherton