“AS we come to the end of 2021, I confess it feels more than a bit like Groundhog Day,” admits British Ambassador Hugh Elliott in a special Christmas message to Brits in Spain.

Wearing a festive tie and red scarf and standing beside the Christmas tree at the Ambassador’s Residence in Madrid, Elliott reflected on another year of challenges as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

“One year on we are still profoundly affected by the pandemic and by the new omicron wave we are all living through. Travel is still really complicated. And I know that entry requirements that were put in place now for coming and going to and from Spain and the UK mean that many people’s travel plans for the festive period have been disruptive. And some of you may be facing a second consecutive Christmas without being able to see the friends and family you want to be with.”

But he stressed that as the year ends we have a lot to be thankful for. “With the advances to genomic sequencing, the funding for vaccine research, and frankly just the complete brilliance of so many of our scientists, we’ve now got the vaccines which were developed at extraordinary speed,” said Elliott who took up the Madrid post in August 2019. 

“And because of the Herculean efforts of our amazing healthcare workers in both Spain and the UK the vast majority of us have been double vaccinated and have either had a booster or got the prospect of a booster in sight.”

His overall message was one of positivity as we go into the New Year.

“I do actually feel cautiously optimistic for 2022 despite all the difficulties,” he said. “And before we eat our 12 grapes to the tune of Auld Lang Syne, on behalf everybody I want to wish you all the best for Christmas and a prosperous and healthier New Year.”

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