Boston Mayor issues Christmas and New Year message
It is my very great privilege to write this Christmas message as your Mayor and I am honoured to be allowed to have a few moments of your time. As we approach the end of 2022, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the year and share some words of hope and encouragement with you all.
The majority of us who live as part of the community of Boston Borough, will have experienced some highs and some lows during the last year; and these could be issues to do with families, health, housing, employment or a myriad of other events that shape our daily lives. The highs are wonderful: they’re usually well-deserved and hard fought for. The lows mostly come at you hard and fast, leaving a whirlwind of despair in their wake.
This year, some of you will have become parents or grandparents for the first time and welcomed a much longed-for and much-loved child into the world. In my experience, there’s no greater ‘high’ than that. For others, however, they will have endured the depths of pain and despair in losing a child or grandchild – and there surely can be no deeper ‘low’ than that.
The same sentiment can be applied to all aspects of life: buying your first house and the thrill which that brings, versus the dread of not being able to pay the mortgage and the worry that that brings. Or being successful at interview and getting the job that you really wanted as opposed to facing the prospect of redundancy or your business not surviving the current recession.
In mentioning all these things, I am trying to highlight the fact that we are all subjected to the ebb and flow of life in general, but it’s worth remembering, especially when you’re having a difficult time, that the lowest ebb always brings the turn of the tide.
It’s also worth saying, that when you are on the up or feeling like top dog, that you never know what the next person is going through – so for that reason – it’s worth behaving with humility and treating everyone with kindness.
As Mayor I have the privilege of meeting with many local people who are working hard to keep our Borough healthy, safe and thriving. While many of us will spend the holidays with our friends and family, many of them are required to work on Christmas Day and throughout the festive period; so to our police, fire and ambulance services, nurses, doctors, hospital staff and social care staff, or those working in the hospitality and the retail sector: I would like to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all of you for this sacrifice – we are hugely indebted to you all.
On a separate note, our local traders have had another difficult year and many have endured challenging times in trying to stay afloat; so I would encourage you all to join me in shopping locally as much as you can. If we don’t use our local shops and entertainment venues then we stand to lose them – more quickly, perhaps, than we’ve considered before - so please use your local town centre at least once more than you intended to – whether it’s to go out for a meal or buy a gift – if we all did that, it would make a huge difference to our local businesses.
I’d now like to take a moment to shine a spotlight on the role of volunteers within our Borough. Both myself and my husband, David, volunteer for different, local organisations and we do this for a number of reasons which I’d like to share, in the hope that some of you might be encouraged to come forward.
Firstly, we both have a social conscience and believe that if you are able and have the time, that you should ‘give something back’ to the community that you live in. Volunteering gives you a real sense of purpose, which contributes to keeping your mind active. In addition to that, we’ve both made new friends out of it to and it keeps our dinner-time conversations fresh after being together for over twenty years. Overall, I’d say we both really enjoy our volunteering commitments, so if volunteering is something which you’d like to explore, then please get out of your armchair and give it a go! I know that there are lots of organisations out there who would really benefit from your skills and experience so I urge you to make 2023 the year that you start! Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service has an office in Boston and their phone number is 01205 510888, so give them a call and ask for guidance.
As you know, Christmas is a time for giving and it would be remiss of me not to mention the two charities that I am supporting during my term as Mayor – the first is Guide Dogs for the Blind and the second is Boston Foodbank.
To be born blind, or to lose one’s sight through accident or illness has always struck me as one of the most devastating disabilities to deal with, however, these very clever animals enable people to play an active role in our community and enjoy life to the full. The expense of breeding and training one guide dog is huge – approximately £30,500 - so it’s important that we do what we can to help raise money.
Boston Food Bank provides an essential service to families who are really struggling and experiencing a time of crisis; and I’d like to take a moment to dispel the myth that people use Food Banks instead of spending their own money at the supermarket, or that they somehow take advantage of other people’s generosity.
For the majority of users, going to the Food Bank is a last resort when all other coping strategies have been exhausted. It’s not something which is done lightly, in fact, it takes courage to ask for help when you can’t afford to eat or feed your children.
The Food Bank is there to help people at a time of emergency and their guidelines state that vouchers can only be used three times in a six month period. In addition to that, the service users, of whom many are actually in full-time employment, are only given enough food to last them for three days.
It’s not for me to say who’s to blame for the current situation but I can highlight where the credit deserves to go: and it lies with all of you - the residents of Boston Borough - who have so generously given what you can, to help those most in need.
When I first arrived here 40 years ago as a young, fresh-faced PE teacher, Bostonians welcomed me with warmth, kindness and friendship and I grew to love the town so much that I chose to stay here and raise a family. I became a Bostonian and a proud one at that.
Now recently, Boston’s had a lot of bad press and some of it is rightly deserved but I think that if we all work together, we can change that narrative. I’d like to make sure that 2023 becomes the year that collectively we endeavour to change the perception of our town: not just the perception of those who look in and judge us, but of local folk who are sick and tired of feeling that they’ve been let down or abandoned by their community leaders.
I’m determined that we all work together, as inclusively as possible, to reignite the essence of Boston that I found so appealing all those years ago. We must find way to do that because we all deserve to love the town that we live in. I’m not quite sure how we’ll achieve it but I do know that I am willing to lead the way. Let’s make sure that we make 2023 the year that we start our journey to happiness, contentment and a real kinship with our neighbours; and that we fall in love with Boston once again.
In closing, I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and hope that 2023 brings you all that you wish for yourselves. Stay safe and make sure that every now and then you just stop to really appreciate what you have, and to enjoy some special moments with your friends and family.