Kindness and generosity of spirit should inspire us all

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It's Christmas time and there's a sense of anticipation about the festive weekend ahead.

Relatives, many separated by geography for the rest of the year, will come together (weather permitting) as we remember the importance of family.

But amidst the excited faces of the children and the happy embraces of aunts or grandmothers, it is also a time for reflection.

It's been another tough year when many have found it hard to make ends meet. The harsh reality is that some people will have lost their jobs, while others will go into 2011 with trepidation about what the future holds for them.

Of course we won't be thinking of that over Christmas. It's a time to enjoy. But amid the parties, the eating and the shopping, what we mustn't forget is its true meaning and the message that lies behind church services being held across the area.

Perhaps the economic crisis has reminded us that life should not be all about status and the pursuit of materialism. It should also be about what we can offer others. What was it somebody said about it being better to give than receive?

In today's News, there are two perfect examples of the sort of generosity of spirit that should inspire us all to think more about other people.

We report on page five how our Christmas toy appeal has resulted in hundreds of games and gifts being donated to provide presents for children whose parents might not be able to afford to put much under the tree themselves.

It is truly heartwarming to see such kindness and all those who gave us toys can have the satisfaction of knowing they will have made somebody's Christmas.

We also tell on page 40 how 77-year-old Ernie Worboys has been busy clearing paths of snow and ice for fellow residents of a Cosham road – despite suffering injuries in a fall four years ago that were so severe he has had to learn how to walk again.

No wonder his proud granddaughter, Amber Watkinson, calls him 'Super Gramps' for selflessly helping others during the icy weather.

Happy Christmas Ernie – and happy Christmas to all of you.