I trust that all readers have had a Merry Christmas, unlike the miserable festive season forced upon us in 2020 when due to Covid-19 and the isolation regulations many of us where denied the pleasure of having our loved ones around us at what should always be a joyful time.
This Christmas past has indeed been an opportunity to celebrate in a more traditional way. My thanks go out to everyone in the town and villages for the efforts made to bring Christmas cheer to all. I would particularly like to congratulate members of the Christmas Lights Committee for all their hard work in providing us with a marvellous display of lights, topped off by the excellent tree in the Buttercross.
A word of congratulations also to the committee who have planned all year to bring us our Christmas Extravaganza. I am sure you will agree that their labours were not in vain
We now look forward to 2022. Hopefully there will be further relaxations of the Covid-19 regulations now that the majority of the country are at least double vaccinated.
It is with great personal sadness that I report the departure from the Whittlesey Christian Church of Pastor Brian Smithyman and Assistant Pastor, Maria Lysak.
In my first term of office as mayor in 2014, I had the idea of founding a foodbank that didn’t merely allocate limited vouchers but would also provide help for the needy whenever it was necessary. So it was that Whittlesey Emergency Food Aid was born.
The first people who offered me support were Brian Smithyman and his son Andrew. They both helped me to develop my ideas and provided the all-important venue at the Christian Church in Broad Street. Later we were joined by Maria Lysak, Sue and Joe Jennings and other members of the Christian Church. Donations were regularly provided by various churches in the town. Later, we established links with Morrisons, Tesco, Aldi and local stores in Whittlesey. This provided a steady supply of food, clothing, furniture and other essential items for the disadvantaged in our town and villages. I know many have cause to be grateful to the foodbank over the past years.
Sadly, due to ill health of not only himself but also his wife, Eunice, and son, Andrew, Brian has been forced to retire from the Christian Church as Pastor. Maria has also left to take on new challenges elsewhere. My thoughts and prayers are with them all. I will be eternally grateful for everything they have achieved for the community.
Hoping for a future for the foodbank
The future of the foodbank is uncertain at the present time. However, I am working with both Fenland District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council to find a solution. So please offer any support that you may be able to give. Let’s make the continuation of the foodbank a number one New Year’s resolution for us all.
Words by Cllr David K M Mason, Mayor & Leader, Whittlesey Town Council