THIS year has been another challenge which has tested the patience and fortitude of all of us in various ways.
It seems that just after we have done what is asked of us for the common good a new problem emerges to take away a hoped-for freedom.
But in the midst of all this uncertainty and suffering it would be easy to lose sight of the many good things that have happened this year.
People still fall in love and find contentment with a soul mate, they still have children, my personal highlight was the birth of my second grandchild and the first granddaughter.
She needed support in her early days and as a family we are so grateful to the NHS and that specialist health care is still readily available and free.
The community bonds formed in the early days of the pandemic seem to have deepened and become permanent.
When I talk to friends and relatives from elsewhere it seems that Stroud is something of an exception in this regard.
That is just another part of the make-up of Stroud that makes it such a wonderful place to live in. There are so many generous kind hearted and tolerant people here that I tend to be surprised that the divisions and intolerance displayed elsewhere are the norm.
As mayor, I am immensely proud that there are so many people in Stroud who do not subscribe to that narrow-minded selfish world view of how to treat others.
These people embody the timeless British values of decency, tolerance and care for the less fortunate.
They live out the Christmas message of peace and goodwill in their daily lives throughout the year. Long may it continue.
I wish everyone a happy and joyful Christmas and fulfilling new year.