Budleigh mayor Michael Hilliar writes for the Journal

Exmouth Journal: Budleigh mayor Michael HilliarBudleigh mayor Michael Hilliar (Image: Budleigh Library)

2020 has been an extremely difficult year for a lot of us, some of us have lost loved ones, had to stop seeing family we would normally see every week or every day. Some of us have had to change the way we work, and some have fallen on hard times with losing their jobs.

However what 2020 has shown me is how caring and supportive we as a community can be to one and another.

From the simplest thing of picking up the phone and speaking to someone who is on their own or without family or friends to collecting food parcels for people who have no money or hope.

I am so proud of this community that we live in, we really have rallied around each other.

I would like to say a special thank you to the Budleigh Hub, Budleigh In Need, the Medical Centre and St Peter’s School, Budleigh Salterton for coming together and creating the Budleigh Covid Support Group.

This group has done some amazing work over the past nine months and without them many people would have been lost and alone with no help or support.

And of course this group wouldn’t have been able to do the things they have done without the help of the groups of volunteers and staff at the school, Budleigh Hub and the Medical Centre and the donations they have received from varies charitable organisations and local authorities including Budleigh Salterton Town Council.

I would also like to say a massive thank you to all those businesses that have gone the extra mile to support the community whether it is with extended opening hours, providing free home delivery or just picking up the phone and saying hello to someone, you have all well and truly gone above the call of duty.

This year I sent every business a Christmas Card from the Mayor, in it were these words:

"Thank you for your compassion, collaboration, commitment, and courage.

"Thank you for providing exceptional care and dedication, perhaps, most importantly, thank you for giving hope and bringing light to those in need during these times of uncertainty.

"With the warmest wishes for Christmas and the New Year."

To this day I stand by this word and I hope that every business in our beautiful town will have a feeling of hope for 2021 and that we as town will show our support for our local businesses that have supported us.

My hopes for 2021 are that we finally see a light at the end of this dark tunnel and that many of us will be able to see our loved ones once again and be able to get back to some form of normality and with the hope of further vaccines being made available we will be able to achieve this sooner rather then later.

I also hope that 2021 will be the year that many businesses in our town are supported and are able to not only recovery the losses of this year but be able to grow and be here for the long-term future.

I am sure that we as residents and the many visitors we normally see will be able to help every small business in this town grow and prosper as the years go on.

We have a bright future ahead of us as a town and as a nation and only together can we achieve greatness. .

I wish you all a bright and happy New Year.