West Lothian’s council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick and Provost Tom Kerr have delivered their Christmas messages for 2019.
Mr Kerr told the Journal & Gazette: “It’s always lovely to see the changes within our streets, shops and town centres as Christmas gets closer – even if some say the festive season starts a little too early these days. For me, however, the festive season is a fantastic time of the year.
“Christmas means a lot of different things to different people, and I hope that whatever is most important to you this festive season plays a big part in your celebrations.
“Once Christmas has come and gone, the New Year allows us all the chance to look forward to the next 12 months. It’s very easy to forget and overlook the wonderful work that takes place throughout the year in every town and village. Whether it’s random acts of kindness, organised volunteering or amazing displays of generosity I believe it is important to remember the wonderful people that do so much within, and on behalf of, our communities.
“It has been a privilege to represent West Lothian as Provost for 12 years. During that time, it has been fantastic to meet so many of you and find out more about all the excellent work taking place across our communities.
“This year alone, I have attended many different events, and witnessed first-hand the amazing community spirit which exists across West Lothian. In this fast paced world, driven by instant news and social media, it can be all too easy to forget the people who, without looking for credit or accolades, go a little bit further for others. I’d like to use my Christmas message to pay tribute to the kind and generous people out there.
“I wish you and your family all the best for the festive period and 2019.”
Mr Fitzpatrick said: “I would like to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
“Whilst many of us are able to take some time off over the festive period, it can be a very busy time of year for others, whom we and others depend on. On Christmas Day many people have to work, many of them working to ensure that others are safe and well.
“Within the council, care home staff and roads teams are just some staff groups who will be working throughout the festive period. They do a wonderful job and play such a vital role within our communities, looking after and protecting others.
“I’d also like to pay tribute to those who volunteer their time over the festive season to help others. There are too many organisations to mention, but they know who they are and their selfless acts do not go unnoticed. Christmas is a time of giving but it’s also a time to remember those that struggle during the festive season.
“A visit to an elderly neighbour living on their own can make all the difference. It’s these small acts of kindness that make Christmas special.
“This Christmas I would encourage everyone to take a moment to think about those in our communities who may not find this time of year as relaxed as others, for whatever reason. Whether it be our Armed Forces community, emergency services personnel, patients in hospital or care facilities and many other groups. I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.