THIS time last year we had just been through the General Election and were all looking forward to a Christmas with our families and I wished everyone a happy and prosperous new year ahead.

We hadn’t heard of coronavirus or social distancing, and we would all have scoffed at the prospect of locking down the country, closing businesses and schools and self-isolating. Masks were for super heroes and for medics. There’s an irony. We are now all too familiar with the effects of the pandemic on our lives and for some it has been a truly traumatic experience. The impact on mental wellbeing cannot be underestimated. However it has also proved to us what a wonderful community spirit exists in Kirkbymoorside.

There have been many examples of kindness, of businesses stepping up to provide groceries and take away meals and closing their doors to keep us all safe. There has been a notable spirit of volunteering to help those having to isolate and to help the vulnerable and elderly. Thank you to all those who have stepped up to the plate in our hour of need. You have made us all feel tremendously proud of our town. As I write it is difficult to know exactly what Christmas will be like this year even with the government’s decision to temporarily lift restrictions. It is unlikely to be like any other and the virus still remains a threat. Hopefully the recent good news of effective vaccines will be a turning point in the fight against the virus and we can look forward to a new year of hope and a sense of normality.

I hope everyone enjoys their Christmas as best they can and most importantly stay safe and well.

Nick Holroyd, Kirkbymoorside mayor

Community spirit

I CANNOT say that I am sad to see the back of 2020, this year has seen some unprecedented challenges.

We must take pride in the overriding community spirit within the parish. Everyone has done what they can to help others. I have been privileged to witness some of the amazing work that volunteers have done this year giving up their time to help with hot meals, shopping, food, prescriptions, weekly phone calls and many more needs, whilst potentially putting themselves at risk.

This time of year, for some people can be incredibly difficult for many reasons. If you are in need or struggling and need help or are interested in volunteering please call the Pickering Volunteer Network on 07855 761039 or 07533 967277.

For information on voluntary groups in Pickering, phone the town clerk on 01751 476503 or email I would like to wish all of Pickering the compliments of the season and best wishes for a prosperous New Year.

Helen McAnulty-Rickard, Pickering mayor

Stay positive

THE past year has been one that many of us will hope never to be experienced again.

My thoughts go out to everyone in our community who has suffered the loss of a loved one, been ill themselves or worried about the health of someone dear to them, or whose livelihood has been impacted.

However, human spirit and endeavour has shone through as once again individuals, groups and businesses have innovated and given up their time and energy to serve, offer opportunities and support others in society in very trying circumstances. So on that note I ask everyone to stay positive. There is some light at the end of the tunnel as we see the rollout of the vaccination in our community. I wish everyone a healthy and rewarding 2021.

Antony Croser, Norton mayor

Light at tunnel end

DURING Advent we are waiting for the light, it is time of preparation for the birth of the Christ Child, who is the Light of the World. It is a time of joyful expectancy, of hope and encouragement.

The approval of vaccines by regulators and the beginning of its administration allows us to perceive the light at the end of the long Covid-19 tunnel. Advent and the coming of vaccination surely give us hope during a truly terrible year. Let us a Christian people hold our heads high and go about the world with thanksgiving and optimism. Let us be patient for a little while and yet celebrate Christmas knowing the peace of Christ in our hearts.

Best wishes and a happy Christmas.

Rev Tim Robinson, Helmsley All Saint’s Church

Glimmers within

FOR many of us this year has been the strangest in living memory. Twelve months ago the global events of 2020 were completely unexpected. However, God works with the unexpected; who would have expected God incarnate to be born in a borrowed stable? Yet in this small, cramped space lay the hope of the whole world.

Here, away from everything that was normal and comfortable was born the saviour of the world. There are many aspects of Christmas that a vicar could focus on, this year I think the main message should be hope. When Jesus was born the world began to change for the better. It was small steps, and the world is still far from perfect but the tide was turned. Light came into the world, light which the darkness could not overcome.

This year has shown us how that light, so small in that stable, could not be overcome. We have seen a great outpouring of love, charity and concern for one another while the country has been in the grip of lockdowns and restrictions. Surely such actions show that light, however small, glimmers within each of us. However you are spending this Christmas, may you be aware of that light within you.

Rev Gareth Atha, Vicar of Pickering with the Marishes, Lockton and Levisham