AS WE rapidly approach Christmas and the end of another year, it is an ideal opportunity for us to look back over the past 12 months, recalling the happy times in which we have shared – such as new births; weddings and civil partnerships; special birthdays and anniversaries; and the joy of our own personal successes as well as those of family, friends and others, whatever they might have been.

As a country, county and town we have embraced with enthusiasm the key national events that have occurred this year. The inspiration of the London 2012 Olympic Games has hopefully ‘inspired a generation’ and what a fantastic day when the Olympic Flame came to our county!

The Diamond Jubilee, and the celebrations held in the town over the Jubilee weekend were also a great success, even when the weather tried to spoil all the fun!

The carnival this year was also hugely successful and a fantastic achievement for the Round Table reaching its 50th year in organising this event in Milford Haven.

I’m sure next year will be an even bigger and better event than those that have gone before.

In mentioning the Round Table, I should also like to pay tribute to all those other organisations and groups who have played an important part in town events this year. I refer in particular to our own Town Band; the Sea Cadets and Royal Marine Cadets; the Army Cadets; and Neyland Ladies Choir. I also wish to thank all those who helped in organising such a marvellous Service of Remembrance on Armistice Day this year, and to the many, many hundreds of local people who came out and showed their respect and support for all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and for those who continue to serve and protect our country today.

There are of course some who will also be recalling less happy times and in particular we will all be sharing in the horror of the senseless killings of so many innocent children and adults that took place in Newtown, Connecticut, at the end of last week.

Whatever our personal tragedies may be, we are fortunate to live in a town where the community spirit remains very much alive and the support of family and friends is always provided, when needed, in abundance.

I speak from personal experience and it is this that has inspired me to focus so much on the great community that we have in our town and makes me so proud to be the mayor of Milford Haven.

Wherever you may be, and whoever you may be with this Christmas time, I wish you all a peaceful and joyous Christmas and the very best for a very happy and prosperous new year.

Milford Haven Mayor Councillor Guy Woodham.