Dear Reader

It is customary to look back over a year as it draws to an end, and 2020 most certainly deserves sincere reflection. From the start of an exciting new decade we got a leap year when all that we knew suddenly went out of the window, when we were introduced to ‘lockdown’ and ‘furlough’, and when our usual way of life had to be reassessed as we tried to adapt to the effects of Covid-19. Loss of loved ones and of livelihood, loss of physical contact with friends and family - all of us without exception have been affected by the pandemic. As the rollout of the vaccination programme now offers us light at the end of a long and dark tunnel, maybe we should also reflect on the positive impact the ‘new normal’ is having on our lives?

As our reset buttons got pressed, we were reminded of the true value of relationships and human interaction. We reconnected, even if at distance, to support our neighbours and local community. NHS workers, care givers and other key workers were given more of the recognition they deserve, and the importance of nature for our mental wellbeing became increasingly apparent. Birdsong seemed louder during lockdown and we paid more attention to the lovely countryside around us during our daily exercise. Weekley Hall Woods, part of the ancient Rockingham Forest, proved invaluable for local residents during lockdown and the next step for the Save Weekley Hall Wood campaign is to champion the vision of a Country Park for the area (see pages 34-35), a sustainable legacy for the future.

These positives are worth holding on to and building on as we commence the new year. Shopping locally will continue to be essential to support our community. Local Grocers (see page 12) is one initiative sprung out of the Corona crisis, helping local companies sell their produce with coordinated delivery. The creativity of local producers is celebrated in the first course of the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards 2020/21 (see pages 42-43).

2020 was also the year when we learned to keep in touch by other means than meeting face to face. Dementia Sings Out! (see page 46) was one of the groups who resorted to Zoom to hold its choir sessions, and Oundle Festival of Literature (see page 48) is, along with many village associations, using the same platform for the time being. The sectors who have suffered the most this year are without doubt hospitality and the arts, something we should all bear in mind and resolve to support with increased vigour as we emerge from a virtual to a real world again. It was, therefore, a great delight to see that Oundle Music Trust, famous for its International Festival, Food Festivals and Oundle Cinema, managed to achieve public funding for 2021 (see page 8). Brighter times are ahead…

To send you my best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year has a special meaning this year; may 2021 also be filled with love, light and kindness.

 

Vivi Sant Cole

Village Connect

Hillcrest House

Church Hill

Geddington

Northants

NN14 1AH

Tel: 01536 744700