For many families Christmas can be a difficult time. While being a time of great joy for many, it can also be a time of great sadness and hardship for others, particularly those who are lonely or have recently lost family members or close friends.
It is difficult to know exactly what Christmas will be like this year even with the Government's decision to temporarily lift restrictions.
It is unlikely to be like any other and the virus still remains a threat. Hopefully the vaccines will be a turning point in the fight against the virus and we can look forward to a New Year of hope and a sense of normality.
We are now all too familiar with the effects of the pandemic on our lives and for some it has been a truly traumatic experience. The impact on mental wellbeing cannot be underestimated. However, it has also proved to us what a wonderful community spirit exists in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
During the pandemic, there have been many examples of kindness and a notable spirit of volunteering to help those having to isolate and to help the vulnerable and elderly.
I have been deeply moved by how people have come together to help one another and their local communities; showing great generosity and goodwill. It never fails to amaze me how resilient people are and how they can carry on even when life is made so difficult.
I would like to give praise to all frontline workers who have continued to work under very difficult circumstances and my thanks and gratitude to all our health professionals and care workers for looking after us in times of ill health and stress.
So, let us take on board the Christmas message of hope and work towards making our lives and our community a better place.
I hope everyone enjoys their Christmas as best they can and most importantly - stay safe and well.
With warmest wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
Councillor Pat Smith
Chairman of East Riding of Yorkshire Council