Chesterfield residents share hopes for festive season – as survey says nearly half of Derbyshire people plan ‘virtual Christmas’

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Nearly half of Derbyshire families are planning on having a ‘virtual Christmas’ this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey.

The study by found 46 per cent of people across the county plan to celebrate with their loved ones via video call this December 25 – rather than seeing them in person.

On the back of the survey, Chesterfield people have shared their hopes for Christmas – which will come after a very difficult year for us all.

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Reverend Patrick Coleman, Ed Fordham and Peter Swallow.Reverend Patrick Coleman, Ed Fordham and Peter Swallow.
Reverend Patrick Coleman, Ed Fordham and Peter Swallow.

Ed Fordham, a market trader and Liberal Democrat councillor in the town, said: “A close friend recently reminded me that ‘all your parents actually want from you is your time’.

“In this time of isolation and concern about the future that is so, so true.

“This Christmas will be about the letters, the phone calls, the Zoom chats and even the family TikTok video.

“For my own part Christmas will not be about gifts and excessive spending – I hope that people concentrate on their health and their children, and take time to speak, chat and listen to their loved ones about how much they mean to each other.

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“Perhaps this year ‘peace and goodwill to all‘ might be a more sincere commitment rather than a throwaway hope.”

Reverend Patrick Coleman, vicar of the Crooked Spire church, said: “For an awful lot of families this will be a strange Christmas.

“How do you choose between wanting to be with the people you love at such a time, and the danger of making them very ill or worse?

“At the Crooked Spire – if by then the regulations allow – we are planning a Festival of Light in the week before Christmas, and details of that will be announced by mid-November. We hope that this will brighten things and give a little of the joy of Christmas for all in Chesterfield this year.

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“However, the best way to to put Covid-19 on the back foot for Christmas is to do the simple things we have been asked – keep at least two metres distance from each other (people still don’t seem to realise how far that actually is), keep hands washed or sanitised, and cover your face when you’re near anyone else.”

Peter Swallow, chair of the town’s marketing group Destination Chesterfield, added: “Chesterfield has always been renowned for being a warm, friendly and resilient town.

“Businesses have adapted well in the challenging climate and the support from the community has been a constant reminder of the strong community spirit.

“While the pandemic has given us and will continue to give us many challenges in 2021, I know Chesterfield and its people will overcome them together.”

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The survey also found that half of couples say they will have to start saving earlier in order to buy Christmas gifts this year.

Considering many are struggling to make ends meet, it is perhaps understandable why nearly 18 per cent say they will have to borrow money to cover Christmas costs this year.

Editor’s message

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription at or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.