IT IS MORE important than ever that we look out for our family, friends and neighbours this Christmas.

With snow and ice providing a wintery backdrop to the festive season, many households will be facing high energy bills. The cost-of-living crisis and the spike in energy bills will be a worry to many families and it’s important we all look out for one another this winter.

This year, just as during Covid, our community groups played an important role. That’s why I would like to thank all the East Lothian charities, care workers and the many others who work tirelessly for vulnerable groups across the county.

Locally, nationally and internationally, this has been a challenging year and a year of great change, including the sad passing of Her Majesty The Queen.

For as long as I can remember, Christmas Day has featured the Queen’s Christmas Broadcast. This year, it will be the King who offers his Christmas wishes.

As we enter 2023, we hope for a more straightforward year and one where we hope that the spirit of Christmas, including peace, prevails.

It has been heartening to see the welcome East Lothian communities have given to Ukrainian refugees. They face the prospect of this Christmas away from family and friends, some having lost loved ones or worried about partners and family members still involved in the brutal struggle against their Russian aggressors.

While we must always try to live with the world as it is at the moment, we should never give up on trying to shape a better tomorrow.

For the people of Ukraine, and for those facing hardship at home and abroad, Christmas should be an opportunity for us to share our thoughts, best wishes and our generosity of spirit.

I would like to wish all the Courier readers well for the Christmas season and for the New Year.