As president of the Timber Trades’ Benevolent Society (TTBS) it is my job to drum up support for ‘your charity’ and, in a year where disaster has followed disaster and we have been asked to give generously to all manner of relief funds, it is easy to forget those closer to home.

However, as Christmas approaches we must remember how difficult it is for the elderly and infirm and how much our beneficiaries have come to depend on their Christmas hampers and the £100 cheques which we distribute.

We still see people who are living on basic state pensions with no opportunity of any little extras likely to come their way, unless it is through the likes of the TTBS.

Over the years we have listened to the comments from the beneficiaries and have fine-tuned the hampers in the hope that everyone gets something a little bit special for their table over Christmas.

This year will be no exception and to help towards the cost of these there will be a dinner dance or luncheon in your area – in some cases there will be both!

Please support your local area committee. If you cannot attend an event then sponsor something: a raffle prize, a band, a disco. Anything that will reduce the cost of running an event will obviously increase the profit on the day and ultimately the coffers of the TTBS.

We are passing on these funds to our beneficiaries and are actively looking for anyone who qualifies for our help so that we may add them to our list. If you know of anyone who has worked in the timber trade and who could do with ‘a bit extra’, let the Society know and hopefully we can make their lot a little bit easier.

I take this opportunity to thank all our supporters most sincerely and to say to our committees around the country, keep up the good work and to wish you all a happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.