Christmas greetings from the Lord Mayor

As Lord Mayor, may I wish you a very happy Christmas.

The Christmas festival is meant to be a time for rejoicing. It's a time to step outside the everyday routine and for a few days get back to what really matters in life. For many of us, Christmas joy may seem a long way away, in the midst of worries about money, unemployment, security and the future.

Yet that is why Christmas matters so much. As we have had other religious festivals recently to remember the power of light in the midst of darkness, such as Diwali and Eid, so the real meaning of Christmas can give us hope and reassurance when it’s hard to find. The Christmas story is about the birth of Jesus. That also took place in difficult times, when war and economic collapse were part of everyday life. Mary and Joseph didn't have a safe space to put the newborn child and his life was under threat from others. But people helped them with the things they needed; and the child born then became someone who gave his life to helping others in the name of God.

There’s a lot of pressure to buy things and to be things at Christmas: but that’s not part of the original story. Whether you’re with a family or living alone, whether you’re young or old, whether you’re a Christian or a Muslim or a person with faith or not sure about what the world is for — what matters are the basic virtues of love and compassion, caring and community, giving to others and looking out for them. What matters is not buying gifts which cost a lot of money but the gift of ourselves, our time and attention, to others.

The spirit of Christmas is about loving and sharing and accepting what we are given with joy in the simple things: the gifts of life, love and laughter. May God’s peace and blessing be with you all this Christmas time.

Councillor Naveeda Ikram

Post Office is heart of a village

I would like to take this opportunity to thank and praise Mr and Mrs Helliwell, who run the little Post Office, at the top of Main Street, in Haworth.

Since the branch on Mill Hey closed, due to the owner’s retirement, this little PO has been struggling with the weight of the extra, relocated custom to meet the needs of the local populace. There are a lot of small businesses in Haworth who need the services of a local PO. The village residents rely on the service and some would find great difficulty having to add travel costs to get to another branch.

I use this PO and have witnessed the frustration caused by queues and the minute size of the shop.

What can we do as a nation to reverse this situation? Up and down the country rural POs are closing as no one is willing to take the chance of buying into this business knowing that it could be closed down because the industry nationally isn’t profitable.

Are we going to suffer from the lack of alternatives to the local PO as we suffered from the lack of alternative to banks during the recent financial troubles? The local PO is the heart of a village, as necessary as a doctor, the church and the pub. All of these are vibrant hubs for a healthy, sustainable community.

Mrs Gillian Hill


Crowds braved storms to visit Santa's grotto

Santa made a big splash (literally) in Lund Park, Keighley, on the weekend of December 4.

Despite heavy rain and cold weather the crowds were drawn to Lund Park and visited Santa’s grotto.

More than 100 excited children and parents smiled and braved the storms to experience Lund Park’s new all-weather, luxury marquee (thanks to Joan and Fred, from Poole, Dorset).

The marquee (available for hire) was beautifully decorated with hay and lights, festive music could be heard and some people thought they were stepping into a certain stable in Bethlehem but with no wise men to be seen. Lund Park’s Bowling Club chairman, Mick, opened the doors enabling access to their facilities for refreshments, mulled wine, which even warmed the cockles of the coldest members of the community. A huge thank you for donations goes out to The Community Chest, Low Fold Family Centre, Jo Jo’s Animal Feed, Broomhill Co-op and Hughes Bakery, in Saltaire.

Also thanks to Sam, Jess and Jack, Mary, Jo and Derek, Leonie, Chrissie, Ruth and all I have forgotten.

Lund Park Community Group promised to invite Santa to Lund Park regardless of the atrocious weather. We thought no-one would brave such extreme elements, however, we witnessed a heart-warming spectacle with an amazing response from across all the community. Thank you all for your overwhelming support.

Roy Williams

Chairman, Lund Park Community Group

Act now to stop boundary changes

Our MP has pledged his support for the Keighley area splitting from Bradford Council.

This is the time for those of you who want this to happen to use their voices, phones, computers, in a last-ditch attempt to save the area we regard as “Keighley”, before it disappears forever in the Boundary Review.

If this happens, any split campaign is bound to fail because the people within the new Keighley constituency will not have the historic links or feeling of “place” that they currently do.

The proposed new “Keighley” will not include Cross Roads, Lees, Mytholmes, Stanbury, Haworth, Oxenhope, Oakworth and Newsholme — they (along with the Keighley Crematorium) will be in the Calder Valley and Bingley will be lumped in with Keighley.

There will be time later to go into the details of the precise area of a new council and what powers it should have, but the first thing those who have wanted a split have to do is make sure that the areas that may make up a new council stay within the same constituency, as council areas generally fit in with constituency boundaries. If you don’t do this now a separate council will never happen.

The public consultation on these changes is now closed, so the only way you can now influence this is to get in touch with your MP and give them the ammunition to take to the Boundary Commission and others, tell them the places that should stay together and why, give them ideas on how to increase the current constituency by about 10,000 electors. I know we are all busy just before Christmas but during the holidays find five minutes to contact your MP. You can do this easily via the website

If you do not take this chance to make sure that they re-draw the map for the good of the area, we can only look forward to another disastrous, nationally-imposed structure and a repeat of the last 40 years, or worse, and if you do nothing you will have no right to complain or whinge at the result. Act now before it is too late.

Joyce Newton

Valley View Close, Oakworth