Christmas message from Helen Moonie, South Ayrshire Provost

 21 December 2020  |  

Looking forward, after a challenging year

Looking forward, after a challenging year

The festive period is a time for reflection, but it's also a time when we look to the future. This has been a challenging year and although the pandemic is still affecting all our lives, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Over the past 9 months, people in all our communities have gone above and beyond to help the vulnerable and make South Ayrshire a better place to live. Whether that's been delivering food parcels, donating groceries or collecting prescriptions, it's been a monumental effort. Council staff have been out and about too, doing everything possible to make sure that those that need support, get it.

We have relied on the kindness of people both in this country and beyond. During the first weeks of the lockdown, we received additional PPE from China, which made a huge difference at a time when we were struggling to source supplies.

Key workers continue to play an important role and I would like to thank them for all their efforts. If there is anything positive to come out of this, it's that we have all pulled together in the face of adversity.

In a normal year, I meet so many people which is something I really value. With face to face contact dramatically reduced this year, like so many others, I have been relying on phone and video calls, emails and messaging.

We have all had to adapt, so I have been sending video messages to residents to celebrate those extra special occasions. There have been twelve diamond weddings this year and two residents celebrated century birthdays.

I have also been taking part in webinars, a really interesting one celebrated South Ayrshire's links with India. Many of our forebears had links to the country through the East India Company which was founded in 1600.

Earlier this year, a book was launched which featured the poetry of Robert Burns, nothing surprising about that you may think, but this book has translated his poems into Hindi, which is a world first! This is really exciting and opens up the work of our most famous bard to millions more readers.

There were virtual events for Polish National Day and the Taiwan109 anniversary, this year, hopefully next year these events can take place as normal.

Thankfully some events still went ahead, most notably the AIG Women's British Open at Royal Troon. In 2024, The Open will be back at Royal Troon, which is great news for golf fans, local businesses and tourism, which will hopefully benefit from the influx of spectators.

Keeping with golf, we welcomed some of the best amateur golfers around to the Girvan Golf Classic, our first golf tournament of the year. Congratulations to everyone who took part.

We could not have the usual events for Remembrance Day this year, but I was delighted with the amount of support this important day still received. There were also many virtual events to mark VE and VJ Day. We also remembered the thousands of men and women who risk their lives on a daily basis, as part of the Merchant Navy.

We have all been busy in different ways this year and with the holidays close at hand, I hope we all find time to relax and recharge the batteries.

Christmas in 2020 will be different for many of us. If you are meeting up with family, please protect each other as much as you can, and follow the guidance. Celebrating Christmas is important, but your health and the wellbeing of those you love is even more important.

I'd like to wish you all the best for the festive season; stay safe and I hope next year is better for everyone.