OUT IN THE FIELD: Happy New Year to our readers!

Reporters Maria Hudd and Bex Bastable are taking over Annemarie’s column this week as she continues to recover from our Christmas party...

There’s been much good news around the town this week, including the announcement that the £2million grant pledged by the Government to boost tourism in the town is getting ever closer in our grasp. The council submitted the business case to unlock the funds this week and no doubt it will be a welcome cash boost as summer approaches.

Speaking of tourism, the burnt-out structure of the blue room on the pier is well on its way to being removed and as unfamiliar as it looks, it’s a big step on the road to restoring our much-loved pier to its majestic former self.

For many, the Winter Solstice (December 21) is welcome –signalling the shortest day of the year and an end to those long winter nights.

So now the daylight hours extend by a couple of minutes every 24 hours as we embark on that wonderful road to spring and summer. Not that we’re wishing the time away - but life seems so much better when we can go to and from work in the light and look forward to those opening those doors and windows.

Of course, the festive season wouldn’t be complete without a Scrooge moment and it’s with disappointment we saw that the lights on one of the Christmas trees on Banker’s Corner weren’t working last week, just a short while after the grand switch-on.

This Christmas, please spare a thought for the family of five-year-old Andrea Gada, who died after a road accident earlier this month. They have set up a fundraising site to help pay for her funeral, and so far the community have been generous in helping the Gadas at what must be a very difficult time for them.

We hope our readers have had a Happy Christmas and wish you a happy new year as you welcome 2015.