Isla-Rose’s card summed up our spirit during tough times

Isla-Rose’s card summed up our spirit during tough times

I PICKED up my Christmas cards from Billesley printer LG Davis last week.

Each year I run a competition for local children. Things start in September, as my staff invite schools to take part, so that we can have a winner and a fully printed card ready for Christmas. That’s been difficult especially given what our schools have had to endure this year but they’ve been amazing.

Then there’s the task of finding sponsors, so let me thank Quality Solicitors Davisons and Oakton Estates for their support and the host of wonderful businesses who’ve contributed prizes.

In a year where our hospitality and visitor attractions have been battered, I can only say I’m overwhelmed by their generosity.

On Monday I had the privilege of joining the children at St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, Selly Oak for their virtual assembly. This year’s winner, eight-year-old Isla-Rose, is a pupil at St Mary’s.

Her card says much about our young people. In one, wonderful and detailed drawing, she’s managed to convey Santa in a mask, diversity, family, animals and the following words, ‘Christmas may be different this year but we can still fill our hearts with joy, love and cheer.’

She got me thinking. I was a bit disturbed to see crowds, desperate for bargains, abandoning social distancing over the weekend. Christmas will be different and perhaps we need to think a little more about that.

However, I’ve been heartened by the number of people who’ve supported my reverse advent calendar, foodbank appeal.

There’s also been a wonderful response, from readers, to the Birmingham Mail’s #BrumWish campaign which is providing presents for youngsters spending Christmas in homeless hostels or emergency accommodation.

It’s been a really tough year and growing poverty and joblessness are a big concern. I can understand why some might find it harder to think about others but this is the season for caring.

It’s a time for goodwill towards others and a message of hope for all.

As this awful year comes to an end, I’m with Isla-Rose on filling our hearts with joy, love and cheer. Merry Christmas.

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