Guest column: Looking back on a great year and forward to good times ahead

Coun John Handley, Nottinghamshire County Council chairman
Coun John Handley, Nottinghamshire County Council chairman

A new year is a time when we aspire to put right some of the things from the past, or perhaps to make resolutions.

Like many people I have started 2018 with the best of intentions and this year I aim to continue to do my job to the best of my ability and promote the county as best I can.

A new year is also a good time to reflect on the past and I look back with fondness to 2017 and will cherish the memories of events I attended and the people I have met.

People have asked me what were my favourite events of last year but it is hard to choose.

I have enjoyed the citizenship events which have taken place in the county.

And it was also exciting to be part of the Tour of Britain and to meet Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Nottingham days after they announced their engagement.

But in truth, each event I have attended has been unique in its own way and it is a privilege to be in this role as chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council.

Looking ahead this year and there will be more fundraising events for my chosen charity – Nottinghamshire Hospice.

A number of events including some at Christmas time have already raised a lot of money for the hospice.

These included a Christmas prize draw and a Christmas panto collection at County Hall.

During 2018, Brinsley Community Choir is doing two concerts at Brinsley Parish Hall in aid of the hospice.

And plans are also coming together for an event at Welbeck Abbey which will celebrate the foods of the county, entitled A Celebration of Nottinghamshire.

Nottinghamshire Hospice does a phenomenal amount of work and it is vital that they and other hospices raise funds.

It is difficult because they are voluntary organisations and they have to find funding through charitable work – but money is not a bottomless pit.

I have personal experience within my family with hospices. My sister-in-law Marian Brown spent the last two weeks of her life in a hospice in Barnsley, passing away in 2004.

The hospice made her last fortnight a quality experience despite the circumstances.

The care was unbelievable and there was as much care for my wife Margaret, Marian’s sister, as there was for Marian herself, because they were both so close.

I learnt a lot about the work of hospices from this experience so the opportunity to support our local hospice during my year in office until May has seemed a great one to me.