Everyone at News Shopper would like to wish all our readers and advertisers a very merry Christmas.

However you’ve been celebrating the festivities this week, and whatever else you’ve got planned, I hope it’s a happy and safe time.

For us at the newspaper, it’s been another busy year which we’re ending on a high, especially with the recent move back to our spiritual home of Petts Wood.

No doubt for many of you this has been a year of ups and downs, highs and lows – but I hope you too are at least finishing it in a good place.

I know a lot of people out there will have only had limited time with family and friends over Christmas due to needing to work, such as emergency services and hospital staff. To anyone who’s given up their Christmas to be there for others, I salute and thank you for your dedication.

Whether they’ve needed our emergency services and hospitals, or been suffering other difficulties, I also know that for many people Christmas won’t have been full of joy. There will be some reading this who are experiencing loneliness, sadness or hardship. To you, I hope there are much better and brighter times ahead.

The news this year, both locally and nationally, has been dramatic to say the least – and, of course, at times tragic. We approach the final part of this year and the start of 2019 with some trepidation over what might come next, but there have also been plenty of upbeat and positive stories in 2018 which we’ve enjoyed reporting on and looking back on.

There has also been much Christmas cheer going around during this special season –and it is our pleasure to bring more of that to you with our festive stories and photo spreads in this week’s paper which will be out on Thursday.

Take care everybody, and thank you for reading your News Shopper.