In many ways 2018 has been a difficult year with the all-encompassing nature of the Brexit debate dominating the political sphere. Many people have remarked to me that, at times, it has felt like the film Groundhog Day; every day waking up and hearing the same people on Breakfast television saying the same thing.
However, as we move into 2019 there is much to look back on with a smile and sport has played a vitally important role in many of this year’s highlights. England’s wonderful netballers claimed a thrilling Commonwealth Gold medal, inspiring a new generation of young women to take up sport in the process, Maidstone’s own Lizzy Yarnold slid to the defence of her Olympic crown on the freezing mountain tops of Pyeongchang and our three lions united a nation in their pursuit of football World Cup glory in Russia. There was also a magnificent Royal Wedding, as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex tied the knot at Windsor Castle, which undoubtedly showed off Modern Britain at its proud, open and tolerant best.
Closer to home, in Maidstone and the Weald, there have also been some hugely positive developments in the past twelve months. Maidstone hospital will host a new state of the art stroke service, over £300,000 will be invested to end homelessness in Maidstone and Staplehurst Railway Station is benefitting from a much needed new car park with efforts to improve step free access to Marden and Maidstone West Stations also moving in the right direction. None of this would have been possible without the tireless hard work of community champions across Maidstone and the Weald. So to them, a huge and heartfelt thank you.
As we say goodbye to 2018 all that remains is for me to wish you and your family a very merry Christmas.