Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans welcomes news of the vaccine approval, he meets Prime Minister Boris Johnson and wishes his constituents a very happy and hopeful New Year
This time of year brings with it an enduring hope. The news of the vaccine being approved will have brought similar joy along with the hope that we can now look forward to 2021 being a fresh start, without the insane rules and regulations which have kept the vast majority safe but has brought enormous strain.
The dedication of our frontline services, and those who have gone the extra mile to help others have been key and the best thing about 2020 is that it has come to an end.
We will all await further news of the vaccine rollout and how it’s going to allow families and friends to mix again. It will be such a boost to the elderly and vulnerable, who have been shielding and all those who have not been able to give a hug and kiss to their nearest and dearest. It makes me deeply sad to think of those families who are mourning those departed. It has been a cruel time.
I don’t think I will ever again take the simple pleasures of mixing with mates and propping up the bar of my local for granted. I will decide who can come into my home and garden, and I will visit local pubs, hotels and restaurants which have been closed for so long.
I visited a new-start called Tom’s Table off Lowergate in Clitheroe. No sooner had they opened that we went into lockdown and then Tier 3. Fortunately, Tom like many other establishments, had created an excellent takeaway menu, which was a huge success and I’m looking forward to visiting and sitting down to experience the full monty!
Many businesses in the hospitality sector spent much of lockdown sprucing up premises. It was to this end that the Speaker of the House of Commons and I met with the Prime Minister before Christmas. We told him that Ribble Valley and Chorley had many great establishments and that they had spent enormous amounts of their reserves on making their places safe. The Prime Minister listened intently – I could see him reflecting deeply with a pained expression as we told him how our businesses were being affected. I could feel the weight of the world on his shoulders and I could tell he was taking it all in.
In the run up to the Christmas break on one of my walks into the Commons, I spotted the Speaker’s Christmas tree in New Palace Yard. It shone brightly from top to bottom reminding me once more of the power that light brings in brightening our days and being a source of hope and joy for the forthcoming year. Simple things that we don’t think too deeply about, have such amazing abilities to transform. One such thing is a smile which radiates a sense of pleasure beyond words.
So, on that note, may 2021 give you much to smile about and may the year ahead bring you and yours the joy, cheer and hope that has been so lacking. Let 2021 bring much happiness to you all – and thank you once again to all who have helped us to get through 2020. You truly are angels without wings – but angels nonetheless! A very happy 2021!