I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of a young man following a road traffic accident on Blackpool Road in Lytham earlier this month. His family have been in touch with me, and my thoughts and prayers are with them at this incredibly difficult time.
The loss of a young life is always a tragedy. I am aware that this is not the first incident on this stretch of road, and I have written to both Lancashire Constabulary and the Lancashire Police & Crime Commissioner to ask that they review road safety measures in that part of Lytham.
This week saw the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI), one of the world’s largest defence industry trade shows take place in London. Although there were countless exhibitors from around the globe the standout for me was BAE Systems, who gave me a fascinating tour and demonstrated the capabilities of some of their current and future systems through a series of simulations.
The defence sector is a massive local employer, with over 10,000 people working across BAE’s Lancashire factories at Warton and Salmesbury. Seeing up close the hardware and technology exhibited served to underline just how important the world leading work being done at those sites, and the skills of those employed there, are in defending the United Kingdom and our allies.
With no pun intended, Fylde may often go under the radar as a hotspot for highly skilled manufacturing, but that is exactly what we are. Alongside BAE, who provide countless apprenticeships and other opportunities for young people, I was delighted to round off Nuclear Week by meeting with some of this year’s intake of Westinghouse apprentices. Next year sees 28 apprenticeships available at Springfields, the largest cohort for many years, showing that the concentration of skills we have here is set only to grow.
Wednesday also marked National Back British Farming Day, a chance to recognise the invaluable contribution that Fylde’s farmers, and those across the country, play in providing quality produce for our tables and looking after our countryside. Being a successful farmer is far from easy, requiring early starts and long days of hard work and I am full of admiration for them. They play a vital role in our rural economy and we can all do our own bit to back British farming by, where we can, buying from local sources either directly or when at the supermarket.
On Friday I was at the BIBAs, The Be Inspired Business Awards, hosted by the Northern & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce. It was a fantastic evening at Blackpool Tower, and I was hugely proud to see Fylde businesses heavily represented among the winners with The Small Business Academy, Clifton Homecare, Wareing Buildings and ICG Marketing all scooping up awards. Congratulations to the winners and a deserved well done to all those nominated in recognition of their efforts over the past year; I know that the celebrations continued on into the night.