CHRISTMAS has come and gone for another year and here’s hoping it was merry and bright for all.

Of course, it is traditionally a time for family and friends to come together but let’s not forget that there are those for whom the festive period can be a lonely time.

That is why it is so heartening to see the multitude of events that have been taking place over the festive period in churches, village halls and community centres across our region.

For people whose family live many miles away, or who may have lost their loved ones, these community coffee mornings, church services and village hall Christmas lunches can, quite literally, be a lifeline.

Yorkshire is a county famed for its friendliness and nowhere is that more evident among the community groups, charities and volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure that nobody is left behind at Christmas.

And that includes animals too.

There will have been people out at the Blue Cross centre in Thirsk and the many other local sanctuaries who spent at least part of their Christmas Day feeding and caring for animals with no home to call their own.

If that isn’t the definition of selflessness, I don’t know what is.

And so a New Year fast approaches and there is surely much to look forward to, not least another spring of cycling as the Tour de Yorkshire returns.

Bedale will be given the chance to shine as global television coverage will beam footage of our beautiful county to millions. Those watching will wish they were here, we are lucky enough to say we are.