THE Mayor of Oldham Cllr Ginny Alexander has stressed the important of community in her Christmas message.

“It is about seeing families and friends coming together and taking a step back from our busy lives to enjoy time with one another," she said. “It is about young children seeing their faces filled with happiness and glee that Father Christmas will soon be here. I hope that you experience all of these feelings and emotions this Christmas time.

“May you have the spirit of Christmas, which is peace, the gladness of Christmas, which is hope, and the heart of Christmas which is love. May the good times and treasures of the present become the golden memories of tomorrow.

“May your Christmas sparkle with moments of love, laughter and goodwill, and may the year ahead be full of contentment and joy.

“Every time a hand reaches out to help another, that is Christmas. Every time someone puts anger aside and strives for understanding, that is Christmas. Every time people forget their differences and come together as a nation, that is Christmas.”

And she added:”Merry Christmas, and may you have the happiest of New Years.”