A Happy New Year…to all our readers

Written by Jo Carroll.


The year has turned. It is a time move on from the challenges of 2014 and embrace the opportunities of the New Year.

I’m sure we all have our own hopes and dreams and preoccupations for 2015. The transition team will press for a train station. ARK will continue to wave a flag for the river. KVAT, the committees running the Jazz Festival and the Literature Festival will be looking through their plans.

Members of the football and rugby clubs will spend cold days on the touchline encouraging young people to engage in sport.

So here, for what it’s worth, are my wishes for Marlborough.

I hope we can all behave like adults. I hope that we can agree, and disagree, and explore the things that divide us without foot-stamping, without insulting anyone, without sulking.

And yes, I include members of the Town Council and Unitary Council in that. I hope for a year in which I never think that councillors should be made to sit in the naughty corner and not allowed out to play until they say sorry.

I hope that we continue to welcome difference in the town. We are good at caring for those with learning or behavioural differences. They are safe here. I hope we can also be a haven for people of colour: in a country that is increasingly suspicious of those who dress differently, speak differently, worship differently, I hope we can offer a space where everyone can feel safe and their traditions respected.

In Australia, after the terrible events in that Sydney café, a number of people wore a badge that said: ‘I’ll walk with you.’ It was aimed at people of colour who felt shunned and unwanted. I hope that we, in Marlborough, can make it easy for everyone who visits to feel welcome here.

I hope that our young people can find a stronger voice in the town. I know young people can be mouthy and opinionated and take up a lot of space. They hang about – in the Priory Gardens, in the churchyard, outside Lloyds Bank. But they also have energy and new ideas and much to contribute. Just think what they might bring to the town if we took more time to listen to them.

Am I asking too much?

Maybe. But the turn of the year feels like the right time to establish a wish or two.

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