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Christmas message: Wes Birch, Ship Inn landlord

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It’s swiftly approaching that time of year when the phrase “Where has this year gone?” seems to be integral to every conversation.

As a child I remember wishing away the days in order to get to the most celebrated day of the year (in my household). We didn’t have or ask for much as children, but my parents went above and beyond to ensure we had a magical Christmas every year. I’m lucky to have my own children now and I hope they feel the same way as I did about Christmas. Whilst I’m not giddy with excitement about finding the nibbled mince pie and half drunk sherry anymore, I still find magic in cooking the main meal of the day and sharing our table with family and friends.

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Wes Birch

I noted that there are a lot more eateries open and serving food on Christmas Day this year. It’s clearly a sign of the times, but most importantly a sign of Stroud’s resilience to bounce back after three of the most difficult years for hospitality. It’s heart-warming to see so many people in the business giving up their Christmas Day to help make yours. We’re also blessed to have a wonderful local food bank and other charitable organisations to help support those who need or want help all year round, not just at Christmas.

Our neighbours at the Long Table always amaze me. The team never seems to stop and they have truly pioneered a new movement of hospitality. Whilst we live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, it really is the people that make this area so special. I look forward to seeing our hospitality industry continue to flourish next year and inspire more acts of kindness to those in need. I’ve always said that we’re not rock stars in this industry, just willing professionals who take pride and pleasure in making others happy. However, to all who have supported us and kept our businesses afloat, I say that you’re the real stars and we thank you.

I hope that 2024 brings as much community spirit as in all the years I’ve witnessed in the Stroud area.

From my family to yours, I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a truly happy new year.
Wesley and family and the team,
BIRCH Catering & The Ship Inn, Brimscombe.

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