My annual visit to Amersham Hospital with Father Christmas is one of the most enjoyable I make during the year.

While the staff try to ensure that as many patients as possible can rejoin their families for Christmas and the New Year, the Hospital is open 365 days a year, so there are always people in the care of the staff.

The selfless work is not confined to the medical teams but to all the ambulance workers, support staff, cleaners, caterers and of course the volunteers who do invaluable work. Nor can we forget the people like the bus drivers who are not connected with the Hospital, but who keep the service going, so that patients can have visits from family and friends. Then there are the postal workers who deliver the cards bearing good wishes and the florists who provide beautiful flowers to bring cheerful colour to the wards.

In many ways, the Hospital represents our community in miniature. During 2004, the campaigners working to save Chesham Hospital made it clear that the hospital represents the heart of the town. It is the same for Amersham Hospital, which so many residents hold high in their affections.

This year, research teams based at the Dermatology department have received national recognition for their work on the early detection of skin cancers. It is a tremendous programme and one which could well be of international importance too.

My warmest New Year wishes go to all the people who work so hard, in every sector, to make Amersham, Chesham and all the villages such good places to live. Jack and I would like to send our best wishes for 2005 to all constituents