Published: December 18, 2012
Christmas message issued by Burnham and Highbridge Mayor

Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge's Mayor, Ken Smout, has issued a Christmas message to residents of the two towns...

"2012 has seen a year when many communities came together and enjoyed celebrating various events in our two towns of Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge. I could not fail to be impressed by the amount of work, and dedication, unpaid volunteers perform for the benefit of others.

I decided that we should recognise these people who organise activities and events for others to enjoy. These stalwarts are the unsung heroes in society who are sometimes taken for granted and do not get the recognition and public thanks they richly deserve. I have visited numerous organisations who enjoyed taking on the challenge of doing something to try and make a difference to people’s lives.

Since May I have awarded 17 Mayors Awards to these groups and the certificate states that it is 'on behalf of the council and the residents of our towns, to say thank you.'

In June we celebrated the Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and I was pleased to be able to represent the towns at many events, including a wide range of community-led activities.

August saw the national spirit continue with the Olympic Games taking place in the UK and we had two local participants who represented our country - with Liam Phillips on his BMX cycle, and Anthony Stephens in the Paralympic swimming events. Although they both just missed out on the medals, they performed well and were a credit to their country.

My year so far has been busy and the Mayoress and I attended many different events including charity events, fetes, garden parties, schools, musical evenings, presentations and award ceremonies, nursing homes, care centres and many more. We met many people and enjoyed taking the time to speak to them where possible.

In October I was invited to BARB and Burnham Coastguard to see them in training on a Wednesday evening and was extremely impressed by the dedication and professionalism of the crews in their attitude preparing themselves for real-life emergencies. We should remember in particular that our sea rescue services and other emergency services will be on alert over the Christmas period whilst we enjoy the festive occasion with our families.

I should single out in particular the fantastic support given by BARB, the Coastguards and the RNLI as well as other emergency services following the tragic death of a small child on the beach in August, and the community spirit shown by some businesses who provided refreshments for the crews free of charge.

I was invited to attend several events to raise funds for charities that rely on the generosity of people to maintain their organisations activities including MacMillan, Parkinson’s, British Legion, and many more.

I have visited various residential and nursing homes where I witnessed a warm feeling of family life and togetherness as they shared their days with both privacy and community gatherings when desired.

The many carers and staff involved are a credit to our society for the help and support they provide and I look forward to visiting some of them at Christmas.

We have witnessed a good community spirit during the first eight months of the year and it has shown what can be achieved when we work together, and help each other, combining our skills and efforts.

I have tried to encourage a more positive attitude in which we all have a part to play to help those less fortunate.

We have developments planned for the future which could benefit our towns but, in this economic climate, funding for some projects will require us working with partners to make things happen.

I would like to thank everyone who was involved in organising all the events I have attended, together with the fund raisers, and sponsors and caterers. Also I want to thank my two Deputy Mayors for helping me with the engagements

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year."


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