Small businesses form the economic and social backbone of towns across Wales, and the Vale of Glamorgan is no exception. They provide employment, enhance community networks and give our High Streets, and thus our towns, their unique character.
This year, for the first time in over a decade, I will not be with local veterans on Remembrance Sunday at services in the Vale of Glamorgan. As Secretary of State for Wales, I have been asked to place a wreath on behalf of the Welsh people at the national remembrance ceremony in Whitehall.
Next week, Wales will remember the anniversary of one of the most horrific tragedies ever to befall any community in the UK. Many readers will remember the events of October 21st 1966 as some of the most harrowing ever reported in their lifetime.
In what seems like a distant summer of long ago, two young women walked along a packed Whitmore Bay and started collecting litter. Others joined in and helped them to collect much of the rubbish strewn across the beach. It was a good news story about community spirit amongst detritus and apathy.
The Vale of Glamorgan is so fortunate in its coastal location, and many of us take advantage of our stunning coastline. Yet the news of the five men who drowned off Camber Sands alerted us again to the hidden dangers that lie beneath the surface of the sea.