What a fantastic weekend it was as crowds and processions, as well as the fun of the fair, returned for Lytham Club Day. I was so pleased to be able to join in and walk through the town and it was lovely to see so many people joining in and lining the streets.
The freedom to come together and celebrate puts into stark contrast the challenges many face right now in Ukraine. I have been asked on a number of occasions in recent weeks why we are funding the Ukrainians in their fight against Russian aggression and why we have made the difficult decisions we have about opening our borders to those fleeing the conflict.
I have been working for the past two months in support of those families fleeing the conflict and looking to make their homes here in Fylde. In speaking to refugees and their sponsors I have heard first hand of their fear, not least for the husbands, fathers and brothers who have been left behind on the front lines. They know what it means to be in the firing lines, to be sheltering night after night in fear of air raid, missile strike or a knock on the door. I am proud of the way the Fylde community has responded to these unprecedented events.
Let me be clear, we must stand now with Ukraine, provide them with the military firepower and support they need, because the alternative is unthinkable. Vladimir Putin must know this is where his aggression and ambitions end. Our support for Ukraine of course comes with a price but that is nothing, I repeat nothing, compared with what we will feel if Putin brings his war closer to our shores.
Many today do not know what it is like to live through conflict in Europe, they may not understand the sacrifices we will have to make in the future if this is not stopped now. Ukraine is where we must make our stand and we stand behind the Ukrainian people as they fight for the freedom of Europe.
Much closer to home, I was fortunate last week to attend the Royal Life Saving Society’s Parliamentary event in which I pledged my backing for the charity’s work on water safety. With the summer holidays close at hand beach safety is a massive issue here in Fylde and I want to ensure, if at all possible, the tragedies of recent years are not repeated.
That is why I continue to work to push for additional resources for our local Coastguard teams. While if at all possible we want to avoid people getting into trouble, it is vital rescuers are equipped to respond when accidents do happen. Progress has been made in talks with senior Coastguard officials over a second four wheel drive vehicle. But I want to make sure it is delivered, putting our local lifesavers here in Fylde in a better position to respond when they are called. I am hoping to host the Chief Coastguard in Fylde over the summer, to demonstrate just why this investment is essential. In the meantime please enjoy our wonderful beaches with safety in mind.