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A festive Christmas message from Winchester

The Right Reverend Tim Dakin Credit: Diocese of Winchester
The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, The Right Reverend Jonathan Frost, Bishop of Southampton and the Right Reverend David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke Credit: Diocese of Winchester

Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, we remember that he is the light who brings us out of darkness. As it says in Isaiah: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined” (Isaiah 9:2).

We celebrate Christmas just after the shortest day in the year, at a time when light begins to re-enter the world, taking us out of the darkest days of winter. The coming of light is a sign of hope, and reflects that hope which Jesus brings to our world. St John says in his Gospel that Jesus “gives life to the world” (John 6:33) through his birth. In amongst the hustle and bustle of preparations for Christmas, we might ask ourselves, how do we bring light and hope to our communities?

Over the past year, people in parishes across Hampshire and Dorset have been thinking about their answers to this question, as we seek to nurture the mission taking place within our communities in Winchester Diocese. Living the mission of Jesus may sound like an impossible challenge, but put simply, it means that we aim to live out our Christian faith by becoming agents of social transformation in our local communities and working for their benefit.

This year we became the first Diocese in the country to appoint an Archdeacon for Mission Development, a senior priest who is supporting our work in this area. We’re proud that recent figures from the national Church showed that over 2,700 volunteers from our churches are supporting children, young people and families across Hampshire and East Dorset, a figure which represents nearly 1,000 more volunteers than the national average. However, we want to grow this work further, and next year we will be looking to explore even more ways in which we can offer support to local people.

In doing this I hope that we too will “give life to the world”, seeking, like Jesus, to be beacons of hope for our local communities. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this month, my thoughts and prayers will be for all who strive to make a positive difference to their local communities, especially here in Winchester Diocese.

I wish you all a truly happy Christmas and New Year.

– The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester

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Video of thieves stealing Christmas lights from children's hospice

Police are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward after Christmas lights were stolen from a Poole children’s hospice.

At 8.55pm on Tuesday 9 December 2014, thieves stole Christmas lights from the front garden of Julia’s House Children’s Hospice in Springdale Road in the Broadstone area of the town.

Police Constable Garry Weston said: “We know that a small light-coloured car or delivery van pulled up outside the hospice and a man got out of the passenger seat and walked toward the grounds of Julia’s House.

"The van left the scene and the offender was seen to walk into the grounds of Julia’s house before leaving carrying the lights.

“This was a despicable crime on a hospice which offers day and respite care for children with life limiting illnesses.

“I urge anyone who saw the incident or has any information about those responsible to contact Dorset Police in confidence.”

Christmas lights stolen from children's charity

Police are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward after Christmas lights were stolen from a Poole children’s charity.

At 8.55pm on Tuesday 9 December 2014, thieves stole Christmas lights from the front garden of Julia’s House Children’s Hospice in Springdale Road in the Broadstone area of the town.

Police Constable Garry Weston, of Ferndown police, said: “We know that a small light-coloured car or delivery van pulled up outside the hospice and a man got out of the passenger seat and walked toward the grounds of Julia’s House."

Video report: large amounts of fake goods seized

They're Christmas presents - many of them toys - but they could kill or seriously harm. That's the warning after fake goods were seized in a series of raids.

Border Force officers at Southampton Docks have recovered £17m worth of counterfeit goods this year - from watches to popular toys - all destined for market stalls and car boot sales in the South - as well as internet websites.

Kerry Swain reports on the dangerous toys and rip-off imitations that could ruin your Christmas.

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Santa is given the sack after mayhem in his grotto

Santa has been given the sack Credit: Solent News Agency

Santa has been given the sack after after 15 years in the job. Families became angry after queues built up at a grotto in Crawley.

Paul-John Harris, 65, from Newhaven, said he was no longer required after an incident on Saturday, where queues built up and the crowds watched on after an elf became ill.

Mr Harris said: “There were kids in the queue and the printers weren’t working so families couldn’t get their pictures. The photos were coming out with all their heads chopped off and it was holding everything up.

“At around 5pm they closed the queue but there were still loads of people waiting. Then one of the elves was taken ill and started crying. She came into the grotto screaming and hyperventilating. There was still a big crowd outside and people were getting angry.

“I really enjoy being a Santa but I’ll probably have to work doing discos.”

Thieves target Christmas presents in raids

Police are appealing for information after five burglaries in Warsash, near Fareham.

The burglaries took place on the evening of Thursday, December 4 on Raley Road, Hunts Pond Road, Fleet End Road and at two addresses on Bedford Drive. The offenders forced entry to the properties and once inside stole various items including jewellery, a cream marble effect electric fire and Christmas presents.

Detective Constable Sandra Peet, said: “I would encourage anyone with information about these burglaries to come forward and speak to us. If you witness any suspicious activity please report it to the police immediately."

Can you talk turkey?

You'd think they don't have much to shout about at this time of year, but a farm in Kent has released footage of their turkeys talking.

The footage was released by Ashford Farm Turkeys and shows the flock of birds responding to the farmer's 'turkey calls'.

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