Stay safe and enjoy a happy Christmas

This has been an incredibly challenging year for us all.

When we entered lockdown for the first time in March I never thought that we would still be under similar restrictions for Christmas.

I know it will be a very different Christmas for most of us this year but it is crucial that we continue to act to prevent our NHS from being overwhelmed. If we all play our part we can help to protect the health service, keep the most vulnerable in our society safe and save lives in our communities.

Fortunately we have some light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the vaccine and I hope that in the coming months life will start to return to normal.

In the meantime please be responsible, follow the guidelines, practise social distancing, stay at home as much as you can, and listen to the advice from trusted sources such as the Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, health boards and local councils.

Despite the challenges of the last year it is important to remember that Gwent remains one of the safest places to live, work and visit in the UK.

This is due in no small part to Gwent’s dedicated police officers and staff that care deeply about the communities they serve. They have gone above and beyond the expectations of their roles to protect and serve our communities this year, often facing real danger on the front line, and for this I say thank you on behalf of the people of Gwent.

I must also recognise and say thank you to our partners in health, fire, local councils, support services and charities who have shared the challenges of the last year, and who too have been tested like never before.

Finally I would like to thank you, the people of Gwent, for your own efforts. There have been some truly inspiring stories from across Gwent of communities pulling together to support each other and look after those who are vulnerable and we must be very proud of this.

So thank you again, and I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.