Yvette Cooper MP: The spirit of Christmas

Across the Five Towns, the festive season is in full swing.Across the Five Towns, the festive season is in full swing.
Across the Five Towns, the festive season is in full swing.
The tree and all the decorations are up. Ed’s Christmas pudding has been ready for weeks. Louis Armstrong and George Michael are playing on the radio. But as usual, I’ve still got some last-minute panic Christmas shopping to do.

Yvette Cooper MP writes: Across the Five Towns, everyone is getting ready for the festive season. Christmas isn’t always the easiest time of year – especially for those who have lost loved ones, are alone or face hardship, and it’s a time when we all keep others in our thoughts.

Every child deserves Christmas and I want to say thank you to everyone who has been working so hard to make things fun and joyous for all our children this year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

From the Addy in Knottingley to the Well Project in Normanton, local community groups have been organising great parties with visits from Santa.

I dropped off several boxes of books from our Community Book Scheme at Airedale Academy where they’ve been collecting and wrapping books to make sure every pupil has a gift to take home at the end of term.

Meanwhile Airedale Baby Bank have been organising amazing festive appeals to provide children’s gifts, and our towns are looking bright after great light switch-ons were fun for all.

For many parents this is a tougher Christmas after a long year with a tight cost of living squeeze.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mortgages and rents are rising steeply, taxes are up, prices are still high and energy bills are going back up.

People round here are paying the price of not just the last 12 months of government chaos but too many years of Conservative government economic failure.

And it’s almost a Christmas carol to point out the five Conservative prime ministers, six chancellors, seven foreign secretaries and eight home secretaries we’ve had in the last eight years!

As we look towards 2024 – which will be a General Election year – after 13 years of Conservative government, we badly need a fresh start for our economy and public services.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But while the government might be letting people down our local community heroes have been stepping up to show the best of the Five Towns.

Thank you to all our NHS and social care staff, our emergency services workers, shopworkers and all those who will be working through Christmas. Record high NHS waiting lists and staff shortages mean they are more overstretched than ever, but they are still working hard to support and care for us all.

Some of our greatest local heroes, inspiring people not just here in Yorkshire but right across the country and across the world, are Rob and Lindsey Burrow and Kevin Sinfield.

Their awe-inspiring fundraising efforts have raised millions for the Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Appeal and have blown everyone away.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Kevin finished off this year with a mega seven ultra-marathons in seven days. Even for those of us for whom a Parkrun is a bit of a challenge, their determination to bring people together to change things and to help each other is the best example of the spirit of Christmas and inspiration for 2024.

Happy Christmas and New Year to all the readers of the Express.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.