MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

WE’RE now just under two weeks away from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and celebrations are gathering steam.

This tremendous occasion should be a highlight of our summer and I was honoured to be asked to attend the official Lancashire Thanksgiving Service at Blackburn Cathedral last week.

It was a fine day and a fitting service in tribute to sixty years of impeccable service to the country by Her Majesty.

I was also pleased to see so many familiar faces from Fylde on hand for the occasion along with MPs from across the county.

This, along with the many Jubilee events I’ve been invited to in Fylde has really heightened my excitement for the big day.

It has also shown just how much respect people have for The Queen and the dignity with which she performs her civic duties.

This huge occasion was also one of the final big services for the outgoing Bishop of Blackburn, The Rt Revd Nicholas Reade, who retires in October after a long period of dedicated service to our county.

Bishop Reade has been a sterling example of what a Bishop should be to a county and has provided leadership to Anglicans in what has, of course, been a challenging time for the Church.

Last week I also held two surgeries, one in St Annes and one in Staining which were both very well attended.

I had a number of interesting visitors including a group of young people from Carr Hill High School who are launching a campaign to raise £56,000 to carry out a social action project in Laos.

These determined youngsters want to travel to the third world nation to work on better sanitation and irrigation for a village community and I for one applaud their idea.

I will be helping them out wherever possible and urging local organisations to support the scheme.

I must also congratulate our new Mayor of Fylde, Cllr Heather Speak, on her appointment. 

I know that she will work hard to conduct her civic responsibilities and I look forward to working with her over the course of the year.

Finally, I will this week be meeting with a number of figures from companies within the local media market, including Johnston Press which owns this very paper.

I will be stressing to them the importance of well-staffed, quality local newspapers and urging them to invest in the future of local print media which provides such a vital watchdog for our public services and a community link like no other.

This follows on from the similar campaign I championed for local radio in Fylde.

I’d be very interested to work with these companies to ensure our local publications continue to thrive.

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