By Lesley Griffiths

MS for Wrexham

Yesterday we honoured those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. I, along with other residents and local dignitaries, attended the annual Service of Remembrance at the RWF Memorial in Wrexham to lay a wreath and pay my respects. Wrexham is a town with a proud military tradition and it was lovely to see members of the public in attendance, especially as there were no parades or crowds allowed in 2020 during the peak of the pandemic. This year is particularly poignant as the Royal British Legion commemorates its centenary. To mark this special milestone, buildings and landmarks were encouraged to ‘Light Up Red’ to show support for the Poppy Appeal. After being approached by local volunteer, Kevin Forbes, I wrote to businesses and organisations across the town to help raise awareness of the campaign. I am extremely grateful to St Giles’ Church, St Mary's Cathedral, Moneypenny, Wrexham Council and all the others that ‘lit up red’ to celebrate the Royal British Legion’s centenary.

As we enter the winter months, vaccination remains our best defence against coronavirus. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is on track to have offered a booster jab to 90% of those eligible by mid-December – an aim that is shared by all Health Boards across Wales. I have heard reports some older residents due their third jab are not attending their appointment at Vaccination Centres as they’re waiting to be contacted by their GP. Although GPs played a crucial role during the initial rollout earlier this year, most will not be taking part in the booster programme. There is no need to contact your GP or the vaccination hotline as invitations are being sent in the post. Once you receive an appointment, please make every effort to keep it. In addition to the booster programme, walk-in clinics have now opened for 12 – 15-year-olds across North Wales. Those in Wrexham can receive a first dose by turning up at Glyndwr University’s Catrin Finch Centre on Saturdays and Sundays between 9am – 5pm.

Animal welfare is a cause close to my heart and one of Welsh Labour’s manifesto commitments was to ensure a good quality of life for all animals in Wales. My role as the Minister for Rural Affairs includes responsibility for animal health and welfare so I was pleased to publish the Welsh Government’s new five-year plan last week. During the next Senedd term, the Animal Welfare Plan will introduce a series of policies to build on existing measures and continue to improve animal welfare standards.