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Chairman's Christmas Message 2022

At this time of year we take an opportunity to look back and reflect on the year as it draws to a close. There have been many shared highlights I am sure but also some shared sad times too.
The invasion of Ukraine in February brought people in all communities together in condemnation of the violation of a sovereign nation by the Russian state. Many people have given generously to the humanitarian effort and supported displaced families now settling in the area. In March the Council signed the Council of European Municipalities and Regions statement of solidarity with the people of Ukraine. This statement was signed by thousands of councils/municipalities all over Europe sending a united message of support to the local governments of Ukraine. A donation was also made to the DEC Ukraine Appeal from both the Council and through donations at the Civic Service.
The Civic Service this year was themed around the service of the Council to the community since its formation in 1894. It was good to see representation of all ages and from a variety of community organisations join together for this occasion.
The highlight of the year around the UK, and certainly within Willaston must surely be The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The Council organised 3 days of celebrations which included the Celebration Launch on Mike Heywood Green and an 8 hour Jubilee Garden Party on Lettie Spencer Playing Field. Every household received a 22-page souvenir programme which included front and back cover designs by two local residents. The celebrations will live long in our memories for many years to come.
In September we united once again, in sadder times as a community as we marked the passing of Her Majesty The Queen. The Council opened a book of condolence and a local proclamation ceremony took place on Mike Heywood Green. A sense of common grief but also a profound debt of gratitude was felt by many people, as young and old left their heartfelt tributes which are now kept for perpetuity. At the Jubilee Flagpole people left floral tributes and children from Willaston Pre-School and Wistatston Nursery left their own creative tributes. I am pleased to say that on 6th February a memorial tree to The Queen will be planted on Lettie Spencer Playing Field, I hope many of you will join us for this occasion.
You may recall the Community Facility Improvement survey from March which asked residents for their feedback on how a grant of £10,000 should be used. Following the results of the survey, the Council was pleased to award part of the grant to improve facilities at Willaston Pre-School, details of which will be shared on the Council website and Facebook in the coming weeks. Further decisions on how the remaining monies will be spent will be considered at Council meetings in 2023. Investing in children is something we have seen throughout the history of our community, most notably our precious Playing Field.
Recently children came together for Carols on The Green for our annual carol singing - led as ever by Mrs Elaine West and Mr Mark Sykes (of Willaston Primary Academy). The following day it was warming to see and hear the Primary Academy’s performance to residents of Richmond Villages Willaston. This is what makes our community what it is – we encourage, support and celebrate as one.
As we now look to the New Year, the Council is pleased to be able to organise more events for the community through its recently established Events Committee. Exciting plans are already underway for a coronation event in May and a garden party in July.
I hope you are able to enjoy the festive season and on behalf of Willaston Parish Council I wish you a very Happy Christmas.
Cllr Craig Bailey
Chairman of the Council

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