By Mayor of Kirklees Clr Cahal Burke

Christmas means and represents different things to every one of us.

However, one of the overriding messages is our hope for a brighter future and strength to overcome the difficulties we face, no matter what our individual circumstances, backgrounds, or beliefs.

It is the season to care for one another and to embrace the spirit of togetherness.

We have witnessed many challenges and changes both here in Kirklees, the UK and the world.

However, as Mayor, the warm greetings and kind hospitality from clubs, charities, schools and businesses has been amazing.

It has been an honour to represent our great borough and I have been immensely proud to see what takes place in our communities.

One of our outstanding values is that we will always come together and unite to support one another – and not just at Christmas.

Both the Mayoress and I have met many selfless and inspirational people who put the wellbeing of others ahead of their own and I want to give my sincere thanks to all of you.

Also, without our fantastic network of volunteers and voluntary organisations, we would not be able to attend so many amazing events, often organised by local clubs and community groups – many of which are at the heart of our towns and villages.

In our society of different faiths and backgrounds, there is always common ground which we all share. Peace and respect are just two of the values we share.

This festive period is an opportunity for our communities to unite and pray for peace in all conflicts that we are witnessing around the world.

By having respect for each other as individuals – regardless of age, gender, religion, background – we can join forces for the common good and help to promote a peaceful society.

Whilst we enjoy time with friends and family, it is vitally important to remember with gratitude the dedicated staff working over the Christmas period, and I would like to give special thanks to those of you who are.

I know times are difficult for many of us, but I want to encourage you if you are buying presents, food or decorations, to please support your local shops and businesses.

Acts of kindness within our communities never ceases to astound me and I am sure this Christmas will be no different with neighbours supporting the vulnerable, donations of food parcels and local businesses offering help to those who need it.

Thank you to every one of you who are making a difference and bringing the festive spirit to every corner of Kirklees.

I wish you all a peaceful, healthy and happy Christmas and New Year.