As Lord Mayor of Coventry, it is my great pleasure to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year.
It is a wonderful time of year that means so much and conjures up many memories and emotions.
It is a time to be with family and loved ones, for thinking of those less fortunate and giving a little extra help where we can.
As Lord Mayor, I have been so proud to see that here in Coventry we carry those inspiring messages close to our hearts throughout the year – not just at Christmas.
I have seen how the people of Coventry welcome those in need and how different faiths and cultures live side by side in friendship and I have seen how quick they are to help others.
I have had the privilege of visiting our twin city of Kiel and seeing how a bond of friendship formed 70 years ago in the aftermath of war is still helping people today and I was honoured to present awards to refugees and asylum seekers who have shown such bravery in starting new lives in our city.
The words ‘peace and goodwill to all’ are with us in Coventry every day and the friendliness, compassion and community spirit of our residents will stay with me forever.
Christmas is also a time for celebrating, a time for going out and enjoying ourselves – and another great source of pride is our winning bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.
We have shown the amazing diversity of our cultural life and that has given a fresh energy to the city and brought us all closer together.
So, as we celebrate, let us give thanks for all we have, but let us also remember those who are in need, who are suffering through ill health and hardship and who feel alone.
Whether it is a kindly word, a smile, or a generous donation, we can all make a difference and show we care – at Christmas time and throughout the year.
May you all have a merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2018.
Councillor Tony Skipper
Lord Mayor of the City of Coventry