Ilkley Town Mayor, Councillor Mark Stidworthy, has shared his Christmas message:
“Changes to Covid-19 restrictions across the United Kingdom have disrupted already limited opportunities to see friends and family this Christmas. We will feel disappointment, anger, anxiety and other strong emotions intensified at this poignant time of the year. We may be dismayed but I am sure we will not be defeated, nor lightly set aside the high levels of personal responsibility that Ilkley residents have shown throughout this crisis. The virus spreads rapidly if we lower our guard.
"Over the last nine months we showed ourselves to be a resilient, forward-looking, positive community, ready to help our neighbours. We took difficult steps to protect each other and the NHS, and did so with pride, knowing that many in our town and district were working tirelessly to keep us safe. We supported our amazing local businesses through this most difficult of economic times, further clouded by ever-present Brexit uncertainty. We recruited hundreds of volunteers to help with every aspect of the community response, including befriending, visiting, delivering, sewing and helping those who are struggling to feed their families, alongside incredible commitment from local voluntary organisations and Bradford Council. A helpline (01274 431000) remains available for appropriate and confidential help through local networks here in Ilkley.
"Dark days still lie ahead, but local GPs have started vaccinating our most vulnerable residents. Doctors and hospitals have already sacrificed much to respond to the pandemic and maintain the routine services we all need. The first vaccine’s limitations mean it must be given from a central point for the whole of Wharfedale, in Ilkley’s case Skipton Hospital. This creates challenges for doctors and patients, but local medical staff and volunteers are again making big sacrifices to get vaccines swiftly to those that need them this Christmas, so we can all move towards safety and normality. Let’s show our support by getting behind the vaccination campaign and being sensitive to the difficulties it faces.
"Ilkley’s Coronavirus Response Group and Community Action Bradford and District, with local partners such as Ilkley Good Neighbours, Ilkley Foodbank, Ilkley’s Great Get Together, Ilkley Youth and Community Association, our incredible school teachers and many others, have worked throughout with Bradford Council in Ilkley’s Covid response. Thank you to the Round Table for enabling Santa to do his rounds of Ilkley’s streets this year, and to many local musicians and young people who are taking music and joy to Ilkley’s care homes. Relationships and friendships are strong through the neighbours, businesses, schools, churches and other organisations we cherish in our town. This Christmas I am confident that everybody will be taking care to check that everybody in their street or apartment gets a friendly wave, a helping hand, a special treat or just some socially-distanced conversation. Let’s fight loneliness and spread happiness together.
"I wish everybody in Ilkley a healthy and peaceful Christmas. Thank you for everything you have done for each other this year. I trust that the sacrifices we have made will enable 2021 to be a year in which our town will be healthy and happy again.”