It may seem a little early to be writing a Christmas column, but due recent changes to the Observer’s column schedule this is my last appearance in these pages before the holiday season. But since the snow has finally fallen, I think we can all agree that the festive season has well and truly arrived!
Here in Solihull the snow has been much more troublesome – in fact, several events I was hugely looking forward to were postponed due to the weather. I hope that you will join me to enjoy some of the many local church services and carol concerts being laid on across the borough throughout advent.
I was especially pleased to catch the Shirley Band a couple of weeks ago at a sold-out concert in St James the Great church. This brass band is a community institution and has been entertaining Silhillians for an astonishing 98 years, and several of the current members have received national honurs.
They’re currently looking for a new place to rehearse so they can see in their centenary. It would be a great service to our town to help support such an important and long-standing local band, so if you know of somewhere suitable then please, get in touch with Brian Johnson on 07778 467129.
This year I decided to do something different with my Christmas card competition. I invited skilled snappers from across Solihull to submit their very best picture of our town in all its winter finery. It was very tough to choose a winner but David Venables’ fantastic winter scene was a worthy winner.
I’m looking forward to presenting him with his prize later this week, and am proud to be sending his picture to all my friends and colleagues here in Parliament and Her Majesty the Queen. Particular thanks are due to local employer UK Power Reserve, who have been kind enough to sponsor the contest.
Although it’s very easy to get swept away by all the things there are to do at Christmas time, I always try to make sure that I find time to step back. The festive season is a precious few weeks where I don’t need to divide my time between Solihull and Westminster, which means more quality time with our community and especially with my wife, Philippa.
Christmas is also a time of charity. Local volunteers do so much good work here in Solihull, and amidst all the festivities I hope we will all remember to check in on those who are elderly, vulnerable, or alone. Merry Christmas to you all.
Originally published in the Solihull Observer, 14/12/17.