Important to be together this year | Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham column

Christmas last year was so difficult for many of us, and I know that families across Burnley and Padiham have been looking forward to spending time together this Christmas.

Because since the Covid-19 pandemic began we have all had to make enormous sacrifices.

That was amplified last year when, in December 2020, the Prime Minister announced that Christmas would have to be curtailed not just to protect ourselves, but to protect those we care for too.

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But that limitation last year is why it was so important that this year we were able to be together.

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham

That’s what Christmas is all about and is why the PM announced earlier this week that there would not be any changes.

It has removed the uncertainty that many were feeling and allowed us all to plan for that special day, whether that is eating Christmas dinner at one of our brilliant local restaurants – supporting our hospitality businesses – or cooking at home for friends and family.

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It has also been lovely to attend some of our local events this year, from carol services to school assemblies.

On Wednesday I visited the Jabs Army team at the St Peter’s Centre, to thank them for everything they are doing to provide vaccines and boosters to residents, and to give a little bit of festive cheer in the form of some mince pies.

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Their efforts, and the efforts of all volunteers at vaccine centres in Charter Walk and the Daneshouse Community Centre, are monumental.

I know all our thanks goes not just to them, but to all those who continue to work on Christmas day.

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From the Police and Fire Service, to NHS and ambulance workers. They give up time with their own families so we can be with ours, knowing our blue light services are always there when we need them.

There will be some who sadly won’t see friends and family at Christmas. Those who have suffered loss, those who are isolating, and those who are working away.

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There is a wealth of services available to those struggling at Christmas and I have included some of the telephone numbers for these below.

Age UK Silver Line: 0800 4 70 80 90

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SSAFA (armed forces): 0800 260 6767

Samaritans: 116 123

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I’d like to wish everyone across Burnley, Padiham and all our wonderful villages, a very merry Christmas.