I’ve always felt it’s extremely important to be as accessible as possible as your MP. To be everywhere and to be available pretty much at all times.
Naturally this causes challenges - I can’t be everywhere - but it has always been what I consider one of the key duties of being a Member of Parliament. Since being re-elected this continues to be my driver even if the security changes the parliamentary authorities now insist on, have made my office a bit like Fort Knox!
And last Saturday was a good illustration of what I do as your MP, so I thought I’d share it with Herald readers. A busy 12 hours.
Started with my regular monthly surgery in the Arndale (this week I’ll be at Morrison’s). These are always a very good way to meet and listen to residents, and find out how I can help them with whatever the issues are. Then I dropped by the Samaritans stall on the way out. A wonderful local branch of this highly respected national charity which I’ve supported for over 35 years. Lovely people making a difference for good. From here I went on to WynterCon 2017 and hooked up with its founder Andy Kybett, to be shown around. He’s a big lad in many ways and what he and his team have pulled off is just astonishing. I remember Andy coming to see me five years ago with his vision for WynterCon and he’s achieved it in spades. This is the fourth year and it’s bigger and better than ever. It all took place in a humongous tent on Princes Park, so you couldn’t miss it. See here for coverage of the weekends event: www.wyntercon.com/
Next, dropped by local resident Diana Sanigar’s house to support the Big Pink fundraiser that she and her friends were holding. Breast cancer is something many of us, close friends or partners, are affected by so it was a privilege to be there to support. Thank you Diane, Nicki and all the gang for putting on such an event and for providing soooo much splendid cake. I discovered later in the week they raised more than £800 from the day. Well done all.
Then I whizzed over to the WRAS charity shop opposite TJ Hughes in Terminus Road, to celebrate the year’s anniversary since I first opened it - and what a year we’ve all had one way or t’other! I’m pleased to report that the shop has been a real success for the charity in raising funds for the important work they do for sick wild animals across East Sussex. Yet another highly respected and popular Eastbourne community organisation.
Which neatly leads me onto my visit to see Langney Wanderers in their game at the Borough. They won 8 - 2 against Southwick FC which is as emphatic as it gets. The Langney Wanderers have had an amazingly successful run over the last few years from pretty humble beginnings in Shinewater. Now they’ve got three teams (under 12’s, senior team who won so comprehensively yesterday, and the veterans). Started eight years ago by Stephen Saunders, brilliantly supported by his wife Tracey (they put everything into the Wanderers), they’ve gone up seven leagues in as many years. A really good football club who do Shinewater, Langney and Eastbourne proud.
And finally - finished with our fantastic Eastbourne bonfire night. A fun event which was absolutely packed. I’m honoured to be the Patron of our Bonfire Society and always enjoy walking in the procession. Last weekends was one of our best yet with 24 societies taking part, and this was reflected in the size of the crowd lining the route. Thousands of people enjoyed a spectacular torchlit spectacle. Thank you to the hardworking team behind the Eastbourne Bonfire Society. A really successful event.
Then back home in Old Town for around 10pm, tired but satisfied after a good day. Now my schedule above may read as if I am working my fingers to the bone for Eastbourneand& Willingdon and it’s a chore but to me it really isn’t. Like most people I’ve done some jobs I hated and worked probably only half as hard as I do now, but because I loathed doing whatever it was it felt like an absolute grind. Whilst since my re-election I am doing exactly what I did before at the same pace with the same level of commitment because to me being your MP isn’t work, it’s a vocation. And it’s one that I owe you my deepest gratitude for gifting it to me. Thank you.
That’s it folks. Have a good weekend and I hope to see you around town.