AS it is now just into November, I feel able to mention Christmas even though some businesses started talking about it back in August.
It is sad to see so many empty shops just at the moment, but in the Beechwood Shopping Centre, the manager Owen Acland lets Cancer Research UK use an empty shop to sell Christmas cards and trimmings to support theirs and another 23 charities.
The shop is open seven days a week and is run by volunteers from Cancer Research UK, with all the money going to the different charities. The name of each charity is displayed so you can buy from any particular one or just look for the right cards for you.
There is also gift wrap, ribbons and many other Christmas fun things to choose from.
A charity pooling the work and costs while raising money for so many causes should be encouraged here in Cheltenham.
What is sad though is that the Cheltenham Borough Council does not support this working together fundraising multi-charity Christmas card, as they insist they have to pay full rates for using an empty shop. Other charity shops that run all year in the town get an 80 per cent reduction in rates as they sell donated goods but as these cards are new, they have to pay full rates.
If the shop stayed empty the council would get nothing, so surely even the charge of 20 per cent like other charity shops would be better than that? If they put up a tent on the prom they would not pay anything. Even the festivals get a charity discount when using the town hall. But before Christmas there is a very important day for Cheltenham to celebrate and that is Remembrance Sunday.
Next Sunday, November 11, the mayor will be leading the service at the war memorial in the Promenade at 11am to honour those past and present who have given, and indeed still do, give so much. After, there is a march passed by veterans and serving personal.
Last year, more of the public attended than had previously for many years. Young and old came to show their respect and gratitude.
I expect that is because we see every day on TV what war can do to our heroes, which helps us to also remember what so many gave in two world wars so that we may live in freedom.