My weekly column Friday 21 December
In my final column before Christmas, I would like to offer my very best wishes for the season to all readers. I will be spending some time with my family but am really looking forward to being back in Pendle for a while, whilst Parliament is not sitting.
There is lots on. I am looking forward to opening a Harvey Environmental’s brand new office later today and will be taking part in the Santa Charity Cycle ride at the Steven Burke Sports Hub, raising money for Positive Action in the Community. There will also be plenty of festive events taking place that I am sure will be very well attended.
I have particularly enjoyed visiting a number of schools too, handing out awards to winners of my annual Christmas Card Competition. This year’s competition was generously sponsored by West Riding Hyundai in Colne and saw many brilliant entries.
We really do have so many creative, talented pupils here in Pendle. Congratulations to all those who took part, especially Martyna Bilska of Sacred Heart Primary School who scooped first prize!
I also paid a visit to Nelson’s Royal Mail sorting office, who have been working hard ensuring our presents, Christmas cards (including mine with Martyna’s winning design!) and wish lists to Santa all get posted on time.
Every Christmas, I reflect that for some it is not a time of rest to be spent with our families. Our emergency services will still be working tirelessly to keep us safe and I pay thanks to all those in the police, our NHS and the ambulance service, the fire service, our Armed Forces, carers and many others.
Having fallen seriously ill myself over Christmas a couple of years ago, I know just how important the dedication of those working in our emergency services is. I have spent time this year shadowing a number of public service workers including at Burnley’s Urgent Care Centre, with the Ambulance Service and the local police to ensure I have a real understanding of the pressures they face on the front line that I can relay back to Ministers in Westminster.
On that note, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!