Colney Heath Christmas

Fabulous Christmas lunch in Colney Heath - turkey and all the trimmings followed by Christmas pud. All put on for local pensioners and subsidised by the parish council. And then singing from Year 4 of Colney Heath JMI School as the icing on the cake. Colney Heath has always struck me as community-spirited in the best sense - and today's event at St Mark's Parish Centre was a happy and jolly affair.The parish council subsidises the cost of the lunch.

I am a big fan of parish councils - the best ones add true value to their communities and the councillors put in huge amounts of time and energy without remuneration. In many ways it is the most rewarding and flexible part of local government where it is easy to see the beneficial impact of often relatively small sums of money. But today's event was a tribute to volunteer effort - in the kitchen and also front of house. Hats off to everyone involved. Afterwards James Spanner, vicar of St Mark's, showed me progress on the new extension to the church - a handsome construction designed to complement the existing brick-built 1845 church. It is on schedule for completion next February and will help reinforce the church's position at the centre of village life.

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