Art, sport, covid, the King, the Queen, Ukraine and more all feature in the Bailiff's Christmas message to the Bailiwick this year.
Richard McMahon shared an open letter with Express, wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year:
Every Christmas we look forward to being able to celebrate in a way that best suits each of us. What we choose to do differs. It may involve going to carol services, to pantomimes, eating out or staying in with those who mean the most to us, whether family or friends. This Christmas should offer the opportunity for each and every person in the Bailiwick to do what they most enjoy doing and we should be extremely thankful that we have the freedom to do just that.
We should, however, be mindful of others. Although we have been fortunate to enjoy a year without any lockdowns, and hope that the restrictions that we endured largely with such goodwill may be a thing of the past, it is clear that we cannot ignore that coronavirus cases still impact on a good number of people. None of us should be selfish in how we go about our lives and where it is better to stay away from events, each of us should have the sense and courage to respect the rights of others to stay safe and secure by keeping away. The strong community spirit that has helped us respond so positively to the pandemic should be at the forefront of our minds. That aspect of the Christmas message – that we are better people when we demonstrate how we care for one another – is best when we display it every day and not only during the festive season.
Pictured: Queen Elizabeth II and (inset) the Bailiff.
2022 has been a year of significant change. We have welcomed a new Lieutenant-Governor, who has quickly become an integral part of our community. We have, of course, had a change of Sovereign. Having fittingly marked the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, we were saddened at her passing just a few months ago. Many of us have known no other Monarch and so we are adjusting to the loyalty we properly owe to His Majesty King Charles III. Consequently, modifications have been made to certain officers’ titles and we are getting more familiar with the different words of the National Anthem.
The arts and sport continue to be important to many of us. Often these activities involve teamwork, which brings out the best in those involved. It was a great pleasure for me to attend the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Our athletes represented the Bailiwick really well and were a credit to us Another change for 2022 was winning a couple of medals! It was a real privilege to be present for both of them.
We can now look forward to hosting the Island Games in July, where the countdown has dropped below 200 days. I encourage everyone to extend a massively warm welcome to Guernsey to all those who will here, whether to compete, to spectate or as part of the teams’ structures. It is our opportunity to showcase the Island we are proud to call home.
It strikes me that some of the major events this past year reflect the highs and lows we so often experience in our own lives. Even whilst we celebrate Christmas, we should remember that for some it is a difficult time. The events earlier this month in Jersey show just how wide an impact tragedies can have for small communities. We stand united with all those who have been affected by what has rocked our neighbours and pray that the peace and joy associated with Christmas will help them through.
Pictured: The Bailiff launched a fund to support people fleeing Ukraine earlier this year.
The situation in Ukraine is a further example of events happening closer to our own shores and the uncertainties that arise. There is an element of cause and effect here that has a bearing on what happens in the Bailiwick, whether that relates to supply of goods and services or the costs attaching to them. We are not insulated from those consequences and we should do what we can to encourage the early end of hostilities.
I have been delighted by the generous response to the Bailiff’s Disaster Relief Fund. It is my firm belief that the amount that has already been donated to it will have assisted those in desperate humanitarian need. Because of the ongoing nature of what is happening, I have kept the Fund open, thereby enabling further donations to be made. I am confident that whatever as a community we can continue to provide will be greatly appreciated by those who ultimately benefit.
We now look forward to 2023 in the hope that there will be greater stability and that we can grow collectively, supporting one another as we enjoy living in our fantastic Bailiwick. In that spirit, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
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