Wishing you all a happy, healthy and enjoyable festive season

It is once again that time of year, cold outside but joy is found in the great deal of festive events around Southend.

I have had the pleasure of attending the Christmas light switch on in both Southend and Rochford, really brightening the dark streets and getting everybody into the Christmas spirit.

I hope you have been able to enjoy the many Christmas markets, carol services and pantomimes all over the constituency.

It was a particular joy to attend two events at St Augustine's Church, led by the excellent Jonathan Collis.

It is important to stay as healthy as possible with ill health much more common in the colder months.  No one wants to be ill, especially over Christmas.

I have supported both the 'Breathe Easy' and the 'Stay Well This Winter' campaigns because we are all more vulnerable in this weather.

Ig you are working this Christmas, I hope you have some time to spend with family.

Perhaps we all should take some time to think about those less fortunate who are unable to have as enjoyable a Christmas.

If you would like to donate any time or money, we have great charities in the area helping the homeless.

Harp have a great scheme where you can buy someone a Christmas dinner.  Just text 'XMAS09 £10' to 70070 and you can make a real difference to someone's Christmas.

The Church's Winter Night Shelters have provided an extra 20 places for people to take shelter during the winter months.  Last year this scheme ran and over 50 per cent of those who benefited from this scheme did not return to the streets when the shelters closed.

I wish all of my constituents a very merry Christmas.

I hope you all are able to take time to relax and enjoy this festive season.