I confess that I’ve never been a huge fan of Christmas. Now, of course there’s plenty to enjoy about this time of year: cosy nights in front of the fire; long walks through the countryside to a nice little pub; and time with family and friends. But there’s always that sense of the over-commercialisation of things, that uneasy feeling we’ve allowed ourselves to lose sight of what really matters. Is it really all just about spending and making money? Actually, and thankfully, there’s so much more than that going on--so many events, so many people out doing things for others and communities getting together for causes that have real value. Last weekend, I got involved with two such events myself.
On Saturday, my family went to the Furze Platt Schools Association's Christmas Fair. My daughter took her first steps in education at the Furze Platt Infant School this past September and introduced our whole family to a new circle of friends. There’s excitement in the air as the Fair approaches. Children are coming home telling stories of baubles and candy canes they’ve made in class. Parents are also joining in the fun, filling volunteer roles, raising funds and making connections and friendships that might otherwise have never been. It’s a great example of what a local school can be: a true community hub that gets people together and gets things done.
If all the fun of the fair wasn’t enough for one Saturday, December 1st also marked the start of this year’s December Daily Dash (DDD). The idea behind this locally-founded event is that people sign up to run 5k every day in December, with everything raised going to the Sue Ryder hospice charity. Now in its 4th year since its foundation, DDD has already raised over £25,000 for Sue Ryder, with this year the biggest and best yet. There’s a real buzz around the local running community about it and the event is truly taking off, from its humble beginnings in Cookham to a fixture on the running calendar in Berkshire and beyond.
Events like these really highlight local communities doing what they do best: people organising things for themselves, making worthwhile things happen and improving life for those around them. And if you take a good look, there’s so much of it going on at this time of year. We should shine a light on it, celebrate it, and remind ourselves that, in the end, a strong family and community is what really matters.
Tom Easten is a married father of two and a keen amateur runner. He is also studying for a BSc in Psychology.
Published and Promoted by Charles Hollingsworth on behalf of “the BOROUGH first“, both of PO BOX 4919, Maidenhead, SL60 1LS