Gifts which have restored our faith in

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We believe one of the many things that makes The News so treasured is our bond with the communities we serve.

In our 139-year history as a newspaper and now of course online, it has always been our top priority.

That is no empty boast because we know from the daily – these days hourly – feedback we get from readers that you in return treasure us.

Of course, like any relative, we might annoy you at times, but when all is said and done there is a link between us which makes us one of the family, your family.

It’s a mutual agreement rarely spoken of, but there are times when it explodes out of its tacit cocoon. Like today and the past few weeks in fact.

When we launched our festive campaign called Show Them You Care This Christmas – to help the area’s most vulnerable people – we wondered just how successful it might be.

After all, considering the year we have just endured, we felt there might be a world-weary trend towards cynicism, a shift towards the selfish not the selfless. How wrong could we have been.

For the past few weeks it has been a joy to watch an enormous pile of your donations grow in our office – bulging bag after bulging bag of gifts from you to those living on our streets this Christmas. We found it intensely moving watching that mountain grow.

And then we read the comment from homeless Andrew Jasso, who had just been given new clothes and a sleeping bag, gifts from you to him. ‘To get this present means so much to me. It makes me very happy. I can’t thank people enough.’

Simple, heartfelt words which have restored our faith in human nature.

Thank you so much. Merry Christmas.