Christmas when I was a child in India meant Father Christmas arriving on an elephant, a big puffed rice-filled cracker suspended from the ceiling that would burst open when we were at our most excited and days spent camping on the Borelli river with other families. A joyous and carefree time. Presents were secondary to games and the grown-ups always struggled in the evening on Christmas Day to tune in to the Queen's speech on the BBC’s World Service.

December is a good time to look back over the year that has passed and forward to the one to come. I am honoured to have been given this opportunity to lead ROSL, to serve its members and to hold to Evelyn Wrench's vision that we should strive to ‘give service to humanity at large’. Our outstanding arts and humanitarian programmes deliver that aim superbly well and, less obviously, our branches and clubhouses provide convivial spaces for people to meet, share their experiences and build new friendships.

Amidst all the celebrations this December, I will be taking a moment to remember the many millions of people in the UK and worldwide who do not enjoy my privileged lifestyle and hope that in 2018 at ROSL we can continue to support those working towards a fairer, inclusive and just society that works for all. Our members are generous in support of our cultural and educational activities and through making use of our clubhouse facilities, we also make a contribution to spreading a message of goodwill and peace to people everywhere. We will be tuning in to the Queen’s speech at Over-Seas House as always and thinking about everyone across the Commonwealth also listening in – let us know if you are. And finally, a special thank you to all of our staff who will be working over the festive period. Happy Christmas!

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