Observer Comment: Let’s support our local shops

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THE ongoing recession has made life hard for the town’s firms and businesses this year, shops are already struggling to attract hard-up shoppers to spend money, and an increased number of people are also shopping online.

These factors, coupled with the recent bout of snow and ice, make it all the more important for townsfolk to support their local shops.

Hastings has a plethora of boutiques, niche shops and other places where one can buy quirky gifts and other unusual knick-knacks.

If we don’t support our local businesses, they will lose more trade and may be forced to close.

Let’s hope every shop in Hastings and St Leonards enjoys a bumper trade in the New Year sales and throughout the rest of 2011.

WELL done to the police and everyone else involved in making Hastings a safer town for foreign students.

After Qatari student Mohammed al-Majed was attacked and killed in August 2008, the town was unfairly pilloried by the national press as a hotbed for racism.

We have known all along that this was complete rubbish and that the town was being unfairly judged due to the actions of a very small minority.

More than 100 nationalities live side by side in Hastings and St Leonards, and events like the St Leonards Festival, which celebrate the cultural diversity of the town are testament that Hastings is a very tolerant place to live, and long may it continue.

The town relies on the income generated by the language schools and their visiting foreign students.

The hard work by the police, borough council and language schools deserves nothing but praise.

FOR most of us, Christmas is a happy time when families and friends come together.

But spare a thought for all of those who have suffered a bereavement this year.

This week the town was sad to hear of the death of much-loved sporting legend Tyrone Wildman.

He was known across all four corners of Hastings and tributes to him have been flooding in.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends and anyone else who has lost a loved one.