In her final column of 2020, Tameside Council leader Cllr Brenda Warrington reflects on a difficult year for everyone and has a message for the borough's residents over the festive period.
On behalf of Tameside Council I would like to wish you all, as much as possible in the current circumstances, a Happy Christmas and a Joyful New Year.
It’s fair to say that 2020 has been as far from run-of-the-mill as you could get.
There are reasons to be optimistic that the coronavirus vaccine, when fully rolled out, may help us take the steps to safely move into a post-pandemic world.
However the news of the emergence of a more contagious form of the virus shows that we’re not out of the woods yet.
So please, whatever you choose to do (or not do) over the Christmas period, make sure that you protect yourself and those around you at this critical time for our country.
Despite the uncertainties and difficulties we all faced this year, one constant light in the darkness has been the way our communities have rallied together.
It shone through as residents from every background and profession gave up their own time to organise and deliver emergency food, medicine and other supplies to those most in need.
It shone through as our key workers in the NHS not only left no stone unturned to provide medical help to people with severe coronavirus symptoms, but as I write this are now going above and beyond to roll out the new vaccine as quickly and effectively as possible.
It shone through in the council officers who have gone to work every day to do the unglamorous, but vital, jobs like collecting bins and helping the elderly and vulnerable live in dignity and comfort in their own homes.
If there is one good thing to have come from this pandemic, it is that we now know the true power of our communities in the face of adversity.
Whatever the next year brings, we know that we will never stop fighting for the place that we all call home.
My thanks go out to everybody who has rallied around this year to support Tameside in its time of need.
Please do what you can to enjoy yourself and stay safe over the Christmas holidays, and when we return I hope it will not be too long before we can finally be reunited with our friends, families and colleagues.
After a year of crisis and uncertainty in 2020, let’s make 2021 a year of renewal as we begin to build back better.