A year ago I reflected in this column about what a momentous, unparalleled year 2020 had been. In many ways 2021 has been just as eventful.
The situation is still challenging but right now, the most important action we can take is to ensure everyone eligible gets their booster vaccination. It is the best protection against the Omicron variant.
Locally, the booster campaign is going very well. I’m very proud that North Yorkshire has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country and as a community we have responded magnificently to the job of getting jabs in arms – from GP practices, to pharmacists and the hundreds of volunteers who have helped run the clinics.
By Monday this week 75 per cent of those eligible for the booster jab in North Yorkshire had received one.
The vaccination centres in Northallerton and Leyburn have been leading the way with a walk-in service being offered at Tennants Auction Centre and operating 13 hours a day this week. Walk-in sessions have been offered in Northallerton too and over two days this weekend, 2,400 vaccinations were administered.
And these centres have been supplemented by bookable appointment clinics at pharmacies in Northallerton (Day Lewis at Mowbray House Surgery), Richmond (Day Lewis, King Street), Catterick (Tesco) and Hawes (Central Dales).
There are multiple ways of accessing a booster jab. To find the best route for you, go to the local clinical commissioning group’s website https://northyorkshireccg.nhs.uk/ for easy-to-follow guidance.
It is through the booster campaign that we can best protect ourselves and enjoy Christmas with our families and friends.
A highlight of the Sunak family Christmas is the trip to the Georgian Theatre Royal panto in Richmond.
We went two weeks ago and it was great to see it again after the cancellation of last year’s production.
I can tell you that Beauty and the Beast is as good as any other panto we have seen at the Georgian. A new Dame – Nick O’Connor – does a great job filling the shoes of long-time favourite Gary Bridgens and there are plenty of jokes at my expense.
My Budget Red Box makes an appearance as the container for the famous Tunnocks Teacakes. Regulars at the Georgian panto will know that liberal distribution of Tunnocks Teacakes to the audience has become something of a Richmond tradition.
It dates from 2014 when they first appeared in Puss in Boots because it was felt they fitted the vintage feel of the production. Now it is hard to conceive of a Georgian Theatre Royal panto without them and every year the Glasgow baker that has made the teacakes since 1956 puts on a special delivery to the theatre.
For many people, the television will be their primary source of entertainment this Christmas. I am helping some households that are continuing to face disruption to their television service following the fire at the Bilsdale mast. If you are continuing to experience issues, please contact my office by email firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01609 765331.
However you spend your Christmas, can I wish you, your families and friends the very best for the season and a happy 2022.