I MUST be the luckiest and most privileged person ever, to have been chosen to be the Mayor of Test Valley in 2012 – the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year – and then to have the Olympic and Paralympics Games following on!

It has been a wonderful six months for me.

Perhaps a little known fact is that if Hampshire had been a country instead of a county it would have been 25th in the medal table.

You may have gathered if you have heard me speak, that I am a northerner, in fact, I come from Yorkshire, and if Yorkshire had been a country, it would have been 12th!

There was much to be proud of, especially the work of the volunteers, who made the Games such a success.

As I have travelled around Test Valley I have met many people who took part in these wonderful events and I am extremely proud of their contributions, too.

However, volunteering does not have to stop there – we all have a role to play.

Throughout my mayoralty, I am putting an emphasis on the volunteers and their contribution to all of our lives.

Whether it is driving for a voluntary transport scheme, making tea at a club, being the person who delivers food, or just being there for your next door neighbour, it enriches their lives, as well as your own.

It is something everyone can do in some way or another and, more importantly, it keeps the community spirit going.

There are many opportunities where you can help.

Christmas is a time when we celebrate, and this year I want everyone to think of all the people that we should be celebrating for their contributions to our lives, the lives of our towns and villages, to our borough and to our country.

My wish is that they, and you, have a Happy Christmas and that 2013 proves to be a peaceful and prosperous new year.

Councillor Dorothy Baverstock, Mayor of Test Valley 2012/13