OVER the last seven months my Mum, who is my Mayoress, and I have had the great pleasure and privilege of meeting many of you as we have travelled around the borough.

Our visits have included schools, adult and youth groups, clubs, nursing and residential homes, businesses, churches and the many wonderful charitable organisations and voluntary groups we are so fortunate to have in Test Valley.

Wherever we have been, we have been truly humbled and privileged to meet the many amazing volunteers and carers, both young and old, that give up their time and energy to help support those less fortunate and in need of help. We would like to thank the many gifted musicians, singers, dancers and actors who not only entertain but also use their talents to raise money for charity.

As Christmas approaches and we think of our family and friends, and the giving and receiving of gifts, let’s not forget those that might be less fortunate and try and ensure no one in Test Valley is lonely this Christmastime.

Let us also remember those whose jobs might keep them away from their family and friends, for some or all of Christmas — our carers, emergency services, medical professionals, support workers and of course those in our Military.

May the year 2018 bring peace and harmony where we have conflict in the world, understanding and respect among all people and countries and a bright, safe and happy future for our children.

Mum and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

Councillor Carl Borg-Neal, Mayor of Test Valley