As 2016 draws to a close, and Christmas creeps up on us yet again, I thought that it would be wonderful to use this month’s column to focus on some of the year’s highlights rather than the sad stories to which we have, regrettably, become so accustomed.
2016 was a fantastic year in the world of British sport. Following the incredible achievements at London 2012, TeamGB and ParalympicsGB achieved a record medal haul at the Rio Olympics this summer. Furthermore, Andy Murray won Wimbledon for a second time, secured a second Olympic Gold medal in Rio and achieved a new pinnacle in his career by becoming ‘World Number One’ in Men’s Singles. In addition, his older brother, Jamie Murray, secured the equally impressive ranking of World Number One doubles player.
Other 2016 highlights included Major Tim Peake’s successful return to earth after a six month stint on the International Space Station, Queen Elizabeth II’s landmark 90th birthday and, regardless of our individual opinions on the outcome, Britain’s biggest democratic turnout since the 1992 General Election which came in the form of the EU referendum.
However, it would be impossible to look back on 2016 without sparing a thought for those who sadly lost their lives. I would, in particular, like to take a moment to remember my late parliamentary colleague, Jo Cox MP, whose passing was both tragic and unbearably premature. I am pleased to report, however, that the exceptional work in Jo’s name continues apace. Just this month, Friends of Jo Cox featuring MP4, Steve Harley, Ricky Wilson, David Gray and KT Tunstell along with the Parliamentary Choir released a cover of the Rolling Stones’ iconic song, You Can’t Always Get What You Want. The proceeds, and I sincerely hope they will be ample, will go towards launching the Jo Cox Foundation which will continue the work Jo so selflessly undertook to help those in need at home and abroad.