'START by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.’

This quote from Saint Francis of Assisi sums up the mammoth effort I have witnessed from hundreds of thousands of people in North Yorkshire throughout 2020.

I could not let this year of trials and tribulations, overcoming adversity and incredible team effort pass, without saying thank you to each and every one of you.

Like many, I am humbled by the sacrifice and resilience of the people, businesses and workforce of our magnificent county in one of the toughest years.

While we know there is still a tough road ahead we also know that we will get where we need to be – because that is what we do in North Yorkshire! We just get on with it.

2020 began with four storms in four weeks, flash flooding, rising tides and sitting expanses of water. Storm Dennis whipped up almost tidal type erosion of the causeway which supports the A19 at Eggborough. The damage was catastrophic and the repairs are complex and costly but we are getting on with it.

The coronavirus pandemic, continuing at pace in its second wave, has crept silently through our communities, targeting the most frail residents and scarring our globally renowned hospitality industry. Sadly, we have lost hundreds of loved ones, witnessed very many of our local businesses struggling, our high streets decimated in lockdown and job prospects for many of our young people put in jeopardy.

But North Yorkshire has faced these challenges with the sort of strength and honesty we are famous for. Thousands of selfless volunteers, key workers going the extra mile, neighbours fulfilling countless acts of kindness that may be small – but mean the world to the recipient.

So thank you to the people and businesses of North Yorkshire – for everything you have done and will continue to do to help us recover, grow again an prosper as a county.

Cllr Carl Les

Leader of North Yorkshire County Council