This time last year we faced great uncertainty as we planned Christmas around Covid-19 restrictions, keeping our fingers crossed that, at least, loved ones would be able to be together, writes Farnham mayor Alan Earwaker.

In my Christmas message, I said that, as mayor, I was thankful for the astounding resilience and community effort shown throughout the pandemic.

A year on, my reflections are actually quite similar, though for different reasons. This Christmas, worries about heating our homes and covering basic costs are very real. Winter is proving to be incredibly tough for many and I thank, again, the local charities, organisations and individuals who support others.

In 2022, my deputy and I have had the privilege of meeting face to face the many people who underpin Farnham’s community. Not-for-profit organisations like Farnham ASSIST, Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice, Farnham food bank, space2grow and Hale Community Centre are just a few. In my visits to schools and hospitals, I have seen how staff go above and beyond.

Together, they provide empathy, care and practical support to people struggling with everyday life. And they are also reinvigorating Farnham. They are boosting people’s self-esteem, helping them gain skills. They are alongside individuals in their darkest moments while helping communities to recover.

They are supporting people who have lived in Farnham all their lives while welcoming people from Ukraine who have made Farnham their home, if only temporarily.

At fairs, festivals, business openings and coffee mornings, I have been part of milestone birthdays, fun events, openings and prize givings. It has been a pleasure to share these celebrations on behalf of Farnham.

I have hope for 2023, not because I think it will be any less challenging than 2022 but because I know our Farnham community will embrace the challenge just as it has done in the past.