Someone reminded me the other day that if you are lucky, you get about 80 goes at this Christmas thing so don’t waste too many. If you are reading this you have probably used up well in excess of 20 already so do your best to make this one special for yourself and the people that you care most about.
You have been amazing this year and have made an enormous difference to the lives of the people and communities of Monmouthshire. Now we know that your efforts often go unrecognised, but not by me. Thanks for everything you have done and the selfless way that you have conducted yourself.
All I can promise for next year is more challenges, more highs and a few lows. We continue to learn from elite visitors such as Sam Warburton, Simon Gibson and Non Evans that elite performance is impossible without outstanding preparation. We are reminded that everyone wants to be the best but the very few that get there are the ones that have been prepared to do the hard unseen and unappreciated work. Those hard yards are the ones that lead to celebration – I’ve seen so many of you taking this honest path – and that’s why I love this place and choose to stay here.
Good preparation involves rest and for many of us the next week or so offers a chance for this, so take it and enjoy it. Press the snooze button, have the second cup of tea, you deserve it. At the same time spare a small thought for your colleagues who will still be doing their thing. We are a 24/7, 365 day organisation.
To those of you on duty rotas, down in Severn View, at Budden Crescent, providing homecare services, keeping the highway network running, dealing with flood call outs, picking up the rubbish (hopefully mostly recyclates), helping families in crisis, we remain ever grateful to you, even when we forget to tell you.
Next year we need to get even closer together as an organisation. All we have is each other and we are going to need our collective strength. I’m going to be giving much thought to how we can achieve this. This is your organisation, you need to enjoy it and be proud of it and I need, as far as I can, to create the conditions that make this possible for you.
So, whether it’s the Holy Spirit, distilled spirit or some combination of the two that works for you, kick back, have fun and charge those batteries well.
I wish you the very best for the Christmas period and I am grateful to each and every one of you for your contribution.