Tuesday, 14 December 2010
South Ayrshire Provost Winifred Sloan’s Christmas Message 2010
As we approach Christmas, it’s time to reflect on the past year, especially the way in which our communities have coped and responded to the inclement weather conditions. We started January 2010 with severe winter conditions and we’ve ended the year in similar fashion.
There’s much discussion about resourcefulness and the resilience within our local communities as individuals and families struggle to get back to normal after enduring some of the most severe weather conditions within living memory. However, resourcefulness and resilience appears in many forms across South Ayrshire. I witness these qualities in abundance throughout the year while carrying out my civic duties.
During 2010, I have been especially touched by the many people who have given their free time and willingly volunteer to help improve the quality of life of others. South Ayrshire is indeed fortunate to have many such volunteers who support people in so many different ways.
Several local organisations have celebrated significant landmarks in 2010 including Troon Golf Club, the Lowland Reserve Army Cadet Force, Opportunities in Retirement, Prestwick Prom, Prestwick Golf Club, Crossroads Carers, the Grand Priory of Ayrshire and Ayr Flower Show, to name but a few. Today, these organisations are all going strong thanks to the volunteers who work, often unsung, in the background.
My admiration for the work undertaken by several unsung heroes has led to the awarding of two Provost’s medals during 2010. This is only the second occasion the medals have been awarded during my time in office. The worthy recipients are Michael Hitchon and Thea Petticrew. These are two individuals who every day goes the “extra mile” to make a difference for the benefit of others.
These local residents are just two shining examples within our communities across South Ayrshire. Ordinary people who will go out to ensure others have a caring and comforting Christmas.
As the Council’s Veterans’ Champion; and following our recent Freedom Parade in Ayr, an event that marked the homecoming of 1st Battalion Scots Guards to South Ayrshire, it’s vital we remember those who cannot be with their loved ones at Christmas, as these troops are based abroad, fighting to secure our homeland security.
We must also pay tribute to those who gave their lives for our country and consider their bereaved families as the festive holiday period draws closer. Their service and self-sacrifice is both humbling and inspirational.
The warmth and appreciation our servicemen and women experienced from the people of South Ayrshire, who turned out in huge numbers to welcome the troops back home, is nothing short of inspirational. As Provost, I’d like to thank everyone who demonstrated their support to our service personnel.
So many people, especially tourists and visitors, comment South Ayrshire is a beautiful area, a great place to live, to work and enjoy life. Many of our local residents and business people are outstanding ambassadors for the county; encouraging enterprise and investment; embracing innovation as well as promoting the best South Ayrshire has to offer. These ambassadors have a clear eye on the future in terms of jobs, economic prosperity, growth and the long term future of the county.
We are due to close 2010 on a festive high with the Christmas Winter Wonderland in full swing at Wellington Square. I’ve been marveling at the footwork on display at the ice rink and have been very impressed with the number of people supporting these activities and other events organised over the forthcoming festive period.
Moving forward to 2011, we will continue to work tirelessly in order to improve the health opportunities and quality of life of all our residents. We also look forward to welcoming even greater numbers of tourists to the area and allow visitors to experience our unique, warm and friendly way of life.
Over the festive break, I hope everyone will have a chance to take time out from their daily routines and share some quality time with family and friends. Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year!
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