Carol Pepper’s New Year message: County Council chairman looks back at 2012

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SINCE being elected as chairman in May, I have had the pleasure of travelling the length and breadth of our great county, visiting many fantastic events and places.

The best part of my job though is the people I meet along the way.

I recently had the pleasure of talking to many county council service users, from the youngest in our children’s centres to the oldest using our day care and residential care services.

The visits included the day service in Sutton and Rainworth, care and support homes at Kirklands, Kirkby and Bishops Court in Boughton and the Children’s Centre at Bellamy Road, Mansfield.

It was pleasing to hear people being so positive about the improvements to many of the buildings and services being made by the county council.

Earlier this year, I hosted an event for the county’s ‘unsung heroes’ – volunteers, fundraisers and people who support the vulnerable, in their own time for no financial reward.

It was truly humbling to meet people like Jane Brown from Jacksdale, who has overcome her own difficulties caused when she suffered a stroke to work with other survivors, Sharron Quinn from Kirkby-in-Ashfield who works as a volunteer to support jobseekers at local work clubs and Kamla Joashi of Mansfield who has worked tirelessly to promote community cohesion and race relations since moving to the county in the 1950s.

When recalling 2012, it would be remiss of me not to mention the Olympics and Paralympics. What a fantastic summer it was for Team GB, Team Nottinghamshire and Team Mansfield and Ashfield!

It all started back in June when thousands of people turned out to see the Olympic torch make its way through Nottinghamshire and it was my great privilege to welcome it at the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest.

And after the incredible spectacle of London 2012, it was fantastic to reflect on the outstanding achievements of our athletes, including Rebecca Adlington, Charlotte Henshaw and Ollie and Sam Hynd at our civic celebration in October.

2012 has been extra special because of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee too, which saw events which united the nation and bought people from communities across the county together.

I hope you have all had a very merry Christmas and I wish you a happy New Year. I am sure that 2012 has been a memorable year for many and I hope 2013 will bring you peace and happiness.