I am sure that many of you are looking forward to a welcome break with some time away from work and time with our families.
Christmas offers us the opportunity not only for celebration but also for reflecting on the past and looking ahead to the year to come. It is also a time for us to send good wishes to those we care about as it can be a difficult time for so many, with bereavement and illness; my thoughts are especially with you at this time.
I would also like to thank those who work right through the Christmas period ensuring vital services are delivered.
2013 has been a very successful year in Armagh – the recent Georgian Day attracted over 20,000 people with the highlights being the traditional Georgian Christmas market and the light show in the City Centre.
2014 is a significant year for Armagh. We will celebrate 1000th anniversary of Brian Boru with the “Brian BoruMillennium Festival” from 22nd April to 4th May. Plans are already underway and we have some very exciting events including Viking Long Boats on the lake at Loughgall Country Park and 100 vikings will set up camp in a tented village on the Mall in Armagh.
The Giro d’Italia, a major cycling event then comes to Armagh on the 10th and 11th May. This is a major opportunity for our beautiful city, it will bring world class athletes and we expect hundreds of thousands of spectators giving us the perfect opportunity to promote Armagh worldwide.
Helping others is something that the people of Armagh and District excel at and I have been delighted to meet many volunteers during my year in office and I’mamazed at the time and commitment they give to their chosen charities and organisations. Thank you to all those who work so hard to help other people in our City and District.
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year on behalf of all the Councillors and staff, I hope we can all work together in 2014 to support and develop our community.