This week I was, like most readers, celebrating a fantastic Christmas with family and friends in Fylde.

I took my mother and a group of friends to the Hand and Dagger in Salwick and we had our festive lunch served by the landlord Martin’s hard-working staff.

However, it is sometimes easy to forget that while we are all enjoying the Christmas celebrations many people spend the season doing any number of vital jobs.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those emergency service, health, hospitality and utility workers and everyone else who has sacrificed their holidays to ensure everything runs smoothly over the festive season.

On Boxing Day I attended the annual match between Arnold School and King Edward VII School old boys at Fylde RFC.
It was an excellent afternoon out and I was delighted to see so many faces I recognised and have the opportunity to wish them and their families a merry Christmas.

Since being elected to Parliament I have visited Arnold KEQMS on a variety of occasions and have always been made to feel extremely welcome by the staff, pupils and parents.

The feeling of a strong school community has always been evident whenever I have been invited and I regularly speak to ex-students who are proud of having attended the school. That impression of strong school ties was even more evident during a highly competitive game of rugby.

I hope the school continues to go from strength to strength in the New Year under the leadership of new headteacher Mike Walton.

My thoughts this week have been with the families of those killed in the recent bin lorry disaster in Glasgow.

Having gone to Glasgow university, I know the area where this terrible accident happened well and it is difficult to imagine the pain felt by those who have lost someone, particularly at this time of year.

I am sure the whole of Fylde will join me in sending condolences to those affected by these sad events.

I would like to thank the readers of this column for their continued support over the last 12 months and take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year.

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