Some say, 'a week is a long time in politics', so looking back over the last 12 months seems like an age has passed.
There have been major highs, such as last Christmas when the Government awarded Paignton Town Centre £13.36m from its Future High Streets Fund, the summer season which saw our Bay packed with visitors - many making their first trip here - and the amazing work done by our local NHS and a dedicated team of volunteers at the English Riviera International Conference Centre to ensure the Covid vaccination programme was a success.
It is incredible to think just 12 months ago less than 2,000 of the most vulnerable in our Bay had received their first jab - now almost 80 per cent of Torbay’s population aged 12 or over has had two.
A remarkable feat, especially alongside delivering the flu vaccination programme as well.
There have also been the lows, such as finding ourselves back in lockdown on December 30, 2020, with it being July before all legal restrictions could be lifted, and the impact of the peak in the first part of this year, both in terms of those who became ill in our Bay, but also those whose treatments have been delayed as a result.
Even as we approach the end of the year, 2021 still had one unwelcome surprise as the Omicron variant started to spread, prompting more difficult times for our hospitality businesses.
Yet throughout the last year one thing which shone through was how this generation has followed in the footsteps of our grandparents and great-grandparents to step forward to serve when the call went out.
Not just those on the frontline of the fight in our NHS and social care system, but the many thousands who enlisted in the volunteer army to support them and our community.
2021 may not have brought the end of our fight against Covid-19 but thanks to the efforts of so many across our Bay, it has brought the end of the beginning of it.
This Christmas, many will be looking forward to spending time with their loved ones after last year meant only the most limited of gatherings could take place.
It will seem extra special to be able to enjoy a meal together or take a young grandchild to show a proud grandparent their new toy.
While Christmas can often seem dominated by the commercial pressure to buy presents or ever more elaborate decorations, these are often not what we remember when the celebrations end.
The memories which last a lifetime are of those we shared our Christmas with.
My next surgeries are on Saturday, January 8, 2022, 11am to 1pm at 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD and Friday, January 14, 3pm to 5pm at The Windmill Centre, Pendennis Road, Torquay TQ2 7QR.
Sadly, my surgeries must remain appointment only at this stage given the prevailing public health guidance.
For an appointment, you can either email me at email@example.com or leave a message on 01803 214989 - the answer machine and email will be monitored throughout the festive period.
The regular drop-in sessions at my East Street office from 10am to 1pm, will return on Monday, January 3. Please note you may have to wait outside if others attend at the same time.
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