Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Christmas

There is nothing like Christmas to bring our communities together and demonstrate the strength and resilience of our society. In recent weeks I have seen many local examples of the Christmas spirit in action.

Firstly, this year I ran another competition for primary schools to design my Christmas card and they really rose to the challenge with eleven schools taking part and many excellent entries. This year's winner was Charlie Roberts from Bodriggy Academy with a very creative picture of a snow man.

The various Christmas lights ceremonies have also been well supported this year. The Children’s Procession at Redruth was one of the first where students from Redruth School led the pupils from local primary schools through the town. There were some amazingly well decorated umbrellas with fairy lights and all, but thankfully there was no rain this year and the town’s residents were out in force to support this annual event. Turnout was also higher than expected at Hayle and it was standing room only as people packed in to hear some great performances by the choir from Bodriggy Academy and Heyl Town band who even dragged me in to help with the bells on one of their Christmas numbers.

Then there are the many carol services. I attended one at St Elwyn’s church where there were performances from local schools including Penpol, St Piran’s and Bodriggy and another Christmas themed event at Camborne School run by the Holman’s Climax Choir. The fact that this choir continues many years after Holman Bros disappeared shows real resilience.

Meanwhile, last week, Murdoch House in Redruth organised their annual Merrit Carol Concert. It was a cold morning but St Day and Carharrack band and the local Cantabile Singers were undeterred and put in excellent performances. It is also the party season and last Friday I attended the Christmas celebration organised by Redruth Community Radio which has established a roster of 23 DJ’s and local presenters in just nine months.

But the most striking thing about the Christmas spirit is the generosity of local people. Last weekend, I visited the Food Bank project run by the irrepressible Don Gardner with the help of dozens of other volunteers from churches across Camborne. The idea is simple: people who are in desperate need of food are issued vouchers by agencies like social services and the Citizens Advice Bureau and referred to the food bank to see them through difficult times.

This year volunteers have already put together 163 Christmas hampers for families in acute need and the charity has received many generous donations of food from both residents and local businesses to meet the demand. The success of projects like this makes me optimistic about the future of our society because at times of difficulty, we can still pull together.

George Eustice can be contacted at george.eustice.mp@parliament.uk or 1 Trevenson Street, Camborne, Cornwall TR14 8JD or by telephone on 020 72197032.