Where do I start? No one could have predicted the last 12 months. Last Christmas Day I popped to the ground as I have always done to check things and as per the previous two years Simon was marking the pitch. We had a lot of rain on Christmas Eve and then Boxing Day it hammered down and we lost to Weston! That is a distant memory now as we went into the start of ‘no football’ on (you guessed it) Friday 13th March. Just over 9 months later we are in an even tighter grip of this horrible virus.

Today is a similar scene to last year with rain lashing down but 12 months on, it is a very different world we are living in. There have been three people this year who have touched my heart and inspired me even though I have never met them. Two are very famous now: Captain Sir Tom Moore, what an inspiration and true hero that man is while Marcus Rashford is a lovely humble guy who has never forgotten where he came from and with morals instilled by his Mum, he understands the needs of children, plus he’s a decent footballer too!  The third person who really inspired me is little Betty Allinson the daughter of Hendon Manager Lee Allinson and his wife Faye.  At 5 years old she cycled a mile every day whatever the weather for 100 days wearing a different football shirt including a Taunton Town one we sent Faye. She raised over £33,000 for the Hospice where her Gran works and was nominated for an Unsung Hero award at SPOTY. These three heroes showed the spirit and determination we all need to get through these difficult times. They inspired me in different ways and deservedly all have been publicly honoured.

There are more heroes we all need to thank – the NHS workers, key workers, and many others we have taken for granted until now. I think we all need to take a step back to consider others, think how we can make a difference to people’s lives and put something back into our community. At Taunton Town we have built a great family orientated club with a strong community spirit and a comfortable environment for all who visit.

I hope everyone is staying safe and will enjoy Christmas. Perhaps the over-commercialisation will be stripped back this year and people learn to respect and be kind to others. To get out of this pandemic, being unselfish and taking individual responsibility will definitely help everyone.

Ultimately, the health of our community and the nation is more important than anything else.   There will be another Christmas. There will be another football season. And there will be a vaccine to help protect the most vulnerable. Let us hope that 2021 will gradually take us back safely to some sort of normality.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who plays a part at the club and that helped make the Cygnet Health Care Stadium the safest we could  – my fellow Directors, the Staff, the Volunteers, the Contractors, the Management, and the Players. I also want to thank our Partners and Sponsor who kindly continue to support us. We will see football again but for now stay safe, look after your family and friends even if you have to do it remotely, be kind and it will get better.

Happy Christmas and I hope 2021 is a much better year for everyone.