Star comment: Warmth of human kindness never more needed
Freezing weather brings many risks to society. One has played out in the most tragic of circumstances in Solihull, where the lure of ice claimed the lives of a group of young children.
The shocking events of the weekend illustrate how quickly fun can turn to disaster.
Our thoughts go out to the loved-ones of those lost and there is also immense gratitude to the selfless and heroic emergency services who risked themselves in their attempts to save the stricken children.
While the cold weather continues, there will be many in homes that are too cold to be healthy. The cost of living crisis is exacerbating the problem as people try to keep energy bills at manageable levels. Local authorities have set up warm spaces, which is welcome. For some, local libraries or supermarket cafes will also become ad hoc warm spaces.
As a society we all have a responsibility to look out for each other and a quick knock on the door of elderly or vulnerable neighbours to check on them could literally be a lifesaver.
We must educate children to stay clear of unsafe spaces, such as waterways, while making sure that we are keeping an eye out for those who need help. The drop in temperatures mean we should also look to be kind, and if we can afford it make efforts to help those less fortunate.
These are difficult times when a kind word, a supportive gesture or a thoughtful deed can make all the difference. Lives can be lost at this time of year as people are unable to make ends meet or support themselves. We can make a huge, positive impact by helping others to get through testing times.
It is not surprising people are thinking of holidays at the moment. Even when times are tough, many families will cut corners to find time to spend a week or two either abroad or on a staycation. That is understandable.
Quality time with family and loved ones is priceless and Covid reminded us all about the much talked about need for a good work-life balance. With the weather so cold at present and with the costs for heating our homes so high, it is little wonder that people want to escape to the sun.
That desire is good news for the travel sector, which looked to be on its knees during Covid. It is now back up and running and is bouncing back well.
With the UK economy struggling and with recession upon us, it is a rare good news story in a challenging time.
The holiday industry needs early bookings now.