2012 has been another tough year for many of my constituents- hard-working families continue to feel the pinch, many people have been affected by ongoing welfare changes, and local businesses continue to find economic conditions tough.

However, I have also had the good fortune this year to meet with many of my constituents who continue to do great things for their communities. I was lucky enough to officially open, and become Patron of, the Stanley Women’s Centre, which provides an excellent service for women in the town and wider area.

I got to know David Potter, and his company Ambic, based on the Stella Gill Industrial Estate, who, despite endless struggles with the banks, are an excellent business, producing high quality products and providing employment opportunities for local people. I also enjoyed joining Jubilee and Olympic celebrations at Ouston and Stanley, and seeing the people of North Durham really embracing these two very special occassions.

I look forward to seeing even more of this over the next twelve months, and would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Best wishes