To say Stamford has quite a lot going for it would be a marked understatement.
To be successful in the 21st century, market towns such as ours need to not only value and safeguard our heritage, but also carve a place for ourselves in the regional economy, and be resilient enough to cope with crises such as the current pandemic.
Stamford has all of these. We have been successful at preserving our locally built heritage, from churches and civic buildings, to pubs, shops and our station building. This wouldn't be possible without the dedication of local volunteers and community groups, who we all owe a great debt of gratitude to. This is something of a tradition in Stamford, reflected in the fact that we were the first place to be declared a conservation area.
Our local economy does not rest on its laurels either, and Stamford is known far and wide for its unique independent retail offer with cafe culture. With everything from boutique stores to the farmers market, it is little wonder that people travel from quite some distance to visit us. The business community in Stamford takes pride in supporting the wider community, and we could not ask for a more innovative and public-spirited commercial sector.
But fundamentally, the story of any town is the story of the people who live there, and I never cease to be proud of the way local residents have stepped up to help each other during the Covid pandemic, whether it be through acts of kindness such as caring for neighbours, or through the incredible army of volunteers who emerged to help with delivering food and administering vaccinations. However prosperous a town like Stamford is in normal times, when every effort is made to ensure that nobody is left behind in the difficult times, we can be sure we live somewhere really special.