Although the days are short and nights are long at this time of year, it is a time when we can look forward to what the year has to bring.
This year we will celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth, marking seventy years since her accession to the throne. There will be a four-day Bank Holiday weekend -yes, an additional Bank Holiday - an extensive programme of events including the Queen's Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour), a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral, and a Platinum Party at Buckingham Palace.
Although we are in close proximity to London where many of these events will take place, I hope there will be an appetite for local celebratory events here in Brentwood and Ongar too.
Furthermore, in keeping with tradition, a Platinum Jubilee medal will be awarded to people who work in public service including representatives of the Armed Forces, the emergency services and the prison services. This tradition stretches back to the reign of Queen Victoria when an official medal was designed to mark her 50th anniversary on the throne.
By June, when all these events take place, I hope we will be in the waning period of the coronavirus disruption which has so badly affected all of us in the last two years. I can only thank all those who have done their utmost to take the strain off the NHS acute services by having their Covid vaccinations and booster. With the majority of those needing intensive care treatment for Covid being unvaccinated, it very clear that the vaccine programme has worked as planned, by protecting those who contract the virus so they are less badly impacted by its effects.
If you are still to have your vaccine or booster, please hesitate no longer and go and get jabbed.