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Waltham Abbey Town Council,
Waltham Abbey Town Hall,
Highbridge Street, 

Waltham Abbey, 
Essex, EN9 1DE.
Tel: 01992 714949 Fax: 01992 763774
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Issued: May 20, 2021

Mayor reflects on "difficult couple of years"

The Mayor of Waltham Abbey has reflected on "a difficult couple of years" caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and praised the town's community spirit as he prepares to hand over his chain of office next week.

Councillor Antony Watts, who has been Town Mayor for the last two years, has also remembered the family of Neil Darnell, the father-of-two who died in a hit-and-run road crash in Farm Hill Road, Waltham Abbey, last month, saying Mr Darnell and his family "will always be in my thoughts".

Mr Watts, in his annual report at the end of the 2020-21 civic year, said: "It's been a difficult couple of years. For most of us, we are looking forward to getting back to some sense of normality, albeit living with this virus.

"I count my blessings as I’ve only lost one friend to this dreadful disease. It has taken the lives of so many too soon but left so many more with their grief.

"My thoughts and best wishes go out to you all, and to those unfortunate to have 'Long Covid' and who are still struggling with its effects.

"I was warned over a year ago that we will probably have to live with COVID-19 for years to come.

"One person and family will always be in my thoughts; the care home worker who tragically died just a few days after her husband."

He added: "Alas, life, and death goes on outside COVID-19 and the whole town's thoughts and prayers are with Neil Darnell's family."

Mr Watts added that his "biggest regret" at the end of his two-year spell as Mayor is that because of the pandemic he has not been able to play a more active role.

He said: "One of the great privileges and pleasures of the office is to get out and about meeting people, in the town and representing it elsewhere. That has just simply not been possible. 

"I have tried to 'do my bit' with so many others and have hopefully helped in some small measure. 

"Of course, the most effective weapon in our armoury is the vaccine. I’ve had my first dose and, like many, felt relieved that at last we finally seem to be getting the better of this deadly enemy. But we will also have to continue being careful, wearing masks indoors, social distancing and washing hands.

"For many it has been, and continues to be a very difficult time but there have been many positive stories.

"Waltham Abbey has always been a supportive community and this has never been more evident than during this past year.

"The immediacy with which community support groups swung into action was breathtaking. The Town Hall has done its part, giving financial support to our customers, providing seed funding for 3Food4U and support groups and, of course, making the building available for the NHS.

"The Town Hall is there as a facilitator. The real work is done by each and every one of you. It might be collecting shopping or prescriptions, arranging food parcels, or just being there to provide a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen.

"I am so immensely proud of everyone who has helped and are still playing their part. It’s what makes our town and our community such a great place. It’s not unique. Communities all over the country have done their bit.

"I know, I’m a newcomer having lived here since 1985 but it is my town. Our community spirit existed long before COVID-19. It will survive COVID-19, and I hope that later in the year we will all be able to celebrate it."
Earlier media releases 2021-22

(added May 19, 2021) - All set for Town Show - COVID-19 restrictions permitting
Issued by the Everything Local News media service - part of Everything Epping Forest and Everything Harlow. For more details, ring David Jackman on 07710 447868 or email

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Everything Local News on behalf of Waltham Abbey Town Council · Waltham Abbey Town Hall, · Highbridge Street · Waltham Abbey, Essex EN9 1DE · United Kingdom

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