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Well here we are again - Christmas is upon us and another year will soon be gone. My dear old Mum always said to me that the older you get the quicker time flies - how true this is.

The Lights of Love Ceremony will be taking place as usual on the last Friday of November in front of the Manor House. This year, in addition to the carol singing, readings and dedications, there will be an extra special element, because the winners of the inaugural Buntingford Unsung Hero will also be announced. They will be presented with their trophies and prizes by our Town Mayor, Councillor Graham Waite.

Yet again it was a fantastic turn out for the Remembrance Sunday parade. It always gives me immense pride to be able to lay a wreath on behalf of the Civic Society and also to see how well the town of Buntingford supports the event. Let us hope that we all indeed never forget.

It is very sad to see the effect that the decision by the Catholic Church to double the hire charge for Benson Hall has had on many Buntingford groups. I believe that virtually every group that used to hire the hall has had to pull out as they simply could not afford the new hire rates. I am not sure what the Church was trying to achieve here but if it was to raise more money they would appear to have scored a spectacular own goal. I hope that all those groups affected manage to find suitable new venues or that perhaps the Church will reconsider its position.

No real update on the Orchard Surgery position. It seems as if the NHS are still hell-bent on closing the surgery on March 31st next year, but we still have not heard any real concrete plans on how they will ensure that all Orchard patients will continue to have access to Buntingford-based doctors. Councillor Jones and myself are continuing to lobby Sir Oliver Heald to see if the closure could be delayed for 2 years to give all parties sensible timescales to properly plan this critical move.

Work on the new cemetery continues apace. Ground works are nearly complete and once the ground has settled a date for opening will be announced. It is likely that this will be sometime in the Spring, hopefully in May.

I would like to end by wishing all BCS members and readers of the journal, and indeed all residents of Buntingford and the surrounding villages, a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and Happy New Year.

Graham Bonner, Chairman, Buntingford Civic Society

If you have any queries about Buntingford Civic Society or issues you would like to raise, you can email the Chairman direct at chairman@buntingfordcivic.org.uk.


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