Watford's mayor Peter Taylor, followed by Councillor Nigel Bell, have given the following New Year messages to the town's residents.

At the start of 2020, I suspect that none of us would have predicted the year ahead.

Throughout the last year so many of you have been generous with your time, donations and support for others in our community.

News of the vaccine rollout is very welcomed and fills us with hope for the year ahead.

However, we must not become complacent - the new strain of the virus is spreading quickly throughout our town and putting the local NHS under pressure. Until everyone has been vaccinated, we must continue to take precautions to keep ourselves and others safe.

At the end of 2020 some of the hardest hit parts of the community were once again forced to close their doors to the public: cafes, restaurants, bars and non-essential retail. Let’s all do everything we can

so that these businesses are able to open their doors once again as soon as possible.

Thank you to every single person in the town who played their part last year, helping to support those in need and keeping the town going in difficult circumstances.

When we look back on 2020 I know that we will remember with sadness the lives we lost and sacrifices that we had to make.

I will also recall the amazing generosity and care of so many people, dedication of key workers and the determination of businesses to adapt so that they could survive a very difficult year.

I hope that together our town can enjoy a healthy, happy and prosperous 2021.

Peter Taylor, Elected Mayor of Watford

It has been a very tough year for all Watford residents, with the next few months of 2021 looking tough too.

With the vaccine being rolled out for our most vulnerable residents, I hope everyone will continue to observe the Covid rules so we can look after our wider community and ensure no more lives are lost as a result of this pandemic.

From working with voluntary and charitable organisations in Watford since March, I want to thank the many people who united to help so many families.

I know there is a great feeling of wanting to overcome the difficulties of the pandemic in Watford and renew our communities and business for recovery.

It is a big disappointment that Watford missed out on the Government’s Future High Streets Fund, given the bitter blows to our town n 2020 with the loss of symbolic shops such as John Lewis and newer shops like Debenhams. I will continue to call for more action in 2021 to safeguard our remaining assets in the town.

As a West Watford resident, I want to pay particular tribute to the valiant efforts of our NHS workers, carers, Watford General Hospital and the many care homes across Watford. They have been selfless in

their work and many of them are residents as well as key workers.

I am sure that 2021 will be the time when Watford and our community recover together but we need to be patient and tolerant in our town’s revival.

Nigel Bell, Labour Watford borough councillor for Holywell and Hertfordshire county councillor for West Watford