This will be my last blog as the CEO of SoLO as I retire at the end of the month. Each year, for probably the past 15 years, I have inflicted one of my dreadful poems onto my staff at Christmas. This year I have asked a much more gifted Poet, Joe Down, to craft a fitting poem to reflect on my 18 years of working with SoLO and here it is:
The SoLO Christmas Tree
It started small some years ago,
Strong and proud but yet to grow,
A spark of life in fallen snow
Roots pushed deep into the earth below
And forward came, from local lands
Kind hearts, and souls with gentle hands
Who lifted from dusty boxes and shelves
Baubles and tinsel, and reindeer and elves.
And hung those few gifts upon that small tree,
In pride of place for the world to see,
And when each year they returned they found,
More decorations gathered round,
And more kind hands to place them true,
Upon the boughs and branches new.
So on it went, and on it goes,
through summer sun and winter snows,
Through autumn rain and springs first dew,
The decorations came, and the tree? It grew.
And though some kind hands and hearts and souls,
Moved on, were lost, or just grew old,
More would lift the gifts in turn,
And from the old, the young would learn,
The same simple message they bore
Our Christmas tree always has room for one more.
I wish all of the staff, volunteers, members and supporters of SoLO a very Happy Christmas and New Year.
Janet Down MBE