Thursday, 19 July 2018

Welcome news for motorists

I am so pleased to hear the news that plans to improve the A69 between Newcastle and Carlisle have taken the next steps. The £30 million plans, funded by the Government and from a Highways England pot to reduce congestion, will upgrade, improve and ultimately fully dual the A69, cutting journey times and improve safety for motorists. Drivers will be able to skip two roundabouts on the route between Newcastle and Carlisle to create 18 miles of uninterrupted dual carriageway. Work is set to start in March 2019 and will be finished by March 2020. 

Two public drop-in events will be held next for local communities to find out more about the plans, and I would encourage you to go along if you have any questions about the work- 
·     Newton and Bywell Community Hall- 9am-7pm, 14th August
·     Acomb Village Hall, 9am-7pm, 15th August






Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Countryside Safari- right on your doorstep!

The summer holidays are nearly here, and if you’re looking for something to do with the family, the National Farmers’ Union has just the thing for you. You can download your free Countryside Safari activity sheet, designed to get children out and about in your local area and to show just how much there is to find in the countryside around your home. The countryside is an incredibly important part life in Northumberland- what better way to spend time this summer than by exploring it!  

You can download your activity sheet here- https://www.countrysideonline.co.uk/assets/108870







Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Operation ReCraft's big idea

It is always great to see young people taking the initiative to protect our planet, so I was delighted to welcome pupils from Corbridge Middle School to Parliament recently. Izzy, Christina, Calum, Henry and Alfie make up ‘Operation ReCraft’, and competed in the national finals of the Solutions for the Planet Big Ideas competition. The team’s idea to help the planet is to run a sculpture competition in schools using waste materials, something they have already done in their own school. They really impressed the judges, coming first in the regional final, and it was great to meet the team before the national final began.

Corbridge Middle School is doing really fantastic work to work together to protect our planet, recently winning ‘Most innovative school recycling project’ at the LOVE Northumberland Awards. Well done to everyone involved- they are a brilliant example to all of us.


Monday, 16 July 2018

Football's coming home to Haltwhistle

The World Cup is over but the football is only just getting started in Haltwhistle. The Haltwhistle Jubilee football club’s new home ground was officially opened recently, and I was pleased to be able to go along and see this fantastic new facility for myself. Work has been going on for years, with the pitch resurfaced and drainage improved on the site, while the pavilion and changing rooms have also been renovated. Northumberland County Council and local councillor Ian Hutchinson provided funding. The ground looks amazing and I have no doubt that the club will benefit hugely from this brilliant facility. I am delighted that after so many years of hard work and effort by Malcolm Hind, Cameron Bell, the late Vic Fleming and many others- not least Councillor Hutchinson- Haltwhistle has a football pitch and changing facilities that it can be proud of. Here’s to many more years of successful football in the town.


Sunday, 15 July 2018

A perfect Sunday afternoon

The beautiful weather continues, and what better way to make the most of the summer than by spending the day in a wonderful country garden. Next Sunday (22ndJuly) from 11am-4.30pm, Eland Green Farm is opening up its garden in aid of the British Red Cross. The two-acre garden includes lawns, herbaceous shrubs and trees, making it a glorious place to spend a Sunday afternoon, with a bookstall provided by Ponteland Lions and afternoon teas available as well. Entrance is £4 for adults and £1 for children. A great way to raise money for a brilliant charity- you can find out more here: 




Saturday, 14 July 2018

A Nation's Thank You- The People's Procession

This year marks the centenary of the Armistice to end World War One, and descendants, family members and the public are invited to apply to take part in ‘A Nation’s Thank You- The People’s Procession’. On Sunday 11thNovember 2018 ten thousand members of the public will be invited to march past the Cenotaph to mark the centenary of the Armistice, and the ballot has now been launched for members of the public to apply. For more information about the procession and how you can enter the ballot, visit here- https://armistice100.org.uk

The government, supported by the German government, is also inviting nations to participate in international bell ringing to replicate the national outpouring of relief that took place at the end of the war. As news of the Armistice spread, church bells, which had fallen silent across the UK during the First World War, rang out in celebration. 

The 11thNovember will be a very special opportunity to show our appreciation for the generation who gave so much to secure this hard fought victory. There will be so many events taking place to mark the centenary of the Armistice, and I would encourage everyone, whatever their connection to the War, to apply to participate in the People’s Procession and join in with the bell-ringing programme to help us mark this historic occasion.


Thursday, 12 July 2018

Celebrate your local high street

The Great British High Street Awards celebrate the best high streets across the country and champion ‘Rising Stars’- the most ambitious high streets which are working to revive, adapt and diversify. The awards are run by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and are sponsored by Visa, to recognise local achievements on our high streets and support the communities they serve. High streets are eligible to win up to £10,000 for their local community, and entries are now open to nominate your high street in the GBHS Awards. 

If you are a representative of one of the following, you can enter your high street here- https://thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk/high-street-of-the-year-awards/register
  • Business Improvement District
  • Local Authority
  • Parish Council
  • Town Team
  • Coastal Community Team
  • Town Centre Partnership
  • Community Interest Company
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Trading Association
 If you are a member of the public and would like to enter your high street into the awards, then get in touch with your local authority to encourage the council to enter on behalf of your community.
 Entries close at 23.59 on 22nd August 2018.



Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Produced locally, sold locally

One of Northumberland’s best Farmers’ Markets is taking place this weekend. Saturday 14th July sees the return of the Hexham Farmers’ Market, taking place in the town’s historic Market Place from 9am-3pm. Local farmers and producers will be there with a fantastic variety of high quality, locally produced products. The Market is a great opportunity to meet and support our local businesses and producers- it’s definitely worth a visit. 



Tuesday, 10 July 2018

The thwack of ball on willow

There aren’t many better ways to spend a Sunday than with a game of cricket, and that’s exactly what I was able to do last weekend, after being invited to take part in the Newton Village Cricket Match in aid of the St James’ Church bell appeal, Chance to Shine, encouraging children to play cricket in schools, and Wecan, providing support for children and young people with disabilities, additional and complex needs. The match was between Newton Village Cricket Club and the Newton Village All-Stars, with the winning team awarded the Taylor Trophy, kindly sponsored by Bob Taylor. Unfortunately my team- the Newton Village All-Stars- didn’t win, but it was a really great day in the sunshine, with an amazing £328 raised from the raffle, as well as Bob's incredibly generous sponsorship. Well done to everyone who took part and made it such a successful day. 

https://www.chancetoshine.org 

https://www.wecanenable.co.uk 



Monday, 9 July 2018

Success at Tyne Green

After the devastation caused by the floods in December 2015 which affected so many people in the Hexham area, I was so pleased to be able to visit the completed flood defence at Tyne Green, recently completed to protect local homes from future flooding. Construction started last month on the project, which was funded by residents who pooled the individual grants they received following the 2015 floods. A thank you event is scheduled to take place later this summer. 

I am delighted that the campaign for flood prevention on Tyne Green has finally come to fruition, after many delays and struggles along the way. I would like to thank the Environment Agency, as well as Northumberland County Council, Northumbrian Water and Network Rail, who have all helped to make this happen. It is so important that residents have this reassurance that they are prepared for the next time we are faced with floods, and so well done to everyone who has been a part of this brilliant campaign.



Sunday, 8 July 2018

The perfect finish to a memorable weekend

What a day yesterday was! I had a great time attending the launch of the Great Northumberland programme, and then I was of course delighted to see the England team progress to the semi-finals of the World Cup. Huge congratulations to Gareth Southgate and his team.

The weekend is not over yet though, so if you’re planning a day out in the sun today, why not go along to Newbrough Hall. From 2pm-6pm today they are holding an open garden event in aid of the British Red Cross. Admittance is £5, and as well as having the chance to look around the beautiful gardens, there will also be a plant stall and refreshments. A perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon- and all for a very good cause. 

https://www.redcross.org.uk/get-involved/fundraising-and-events/newbrough-hall


Saturday, 7 July 2018

A fun-filled Saturday ahead!

The sun is already out and it looks like being another fantastic Saturday in the Hexham constituency- with England’s big game, the launch of Great Northumberland in Hexham, and a whole host of other events making the most of the great weather. 

I will be attending Great Northumberland’s launch later, as well as the Matfen Fete, which takes place from 1pm today. With music, a barbecue, attractions, Matfen’s famous duck race, and the football on in the Black Bull and the Village Hall, the ingredients are all there for a brilliant day in the sun. I look forward to seeing lots of you there.


Friday, 6 July 2018

Celebrating democracy

National Democracy Week is coming to an end, marking the 90thanniversary of the 1928 Equal Franchise Act, which gave women the same voting rights as men. The event is a week-long celebration of democracy in society, which aims to encourage democratic participation and emphasise the fact that every single voice matters, and events have been taking place around the country this week with this in mind. 

Involvement in our democracy goes beyond this week however, and I would encourage you to get involved, whether it is on a local level with your Parish Council, or nationally about issues you are passionate about. Every member of society should have the chance to participate in our democracy and to have their say, and this week is the perfect time to celebrate our democracy and get involved. 


Thursday, 5 July 2018

I owe our NHS an incredible debt, and I will spend the rest of my life trying to pay it back

As a steeplechase jockey, I was crushed by a falling horse at Stratford races. My entire left side was staved in, giving me 14 broken ribs, a kidney cut in half, a perforated spleen and a pneumothorax – when you pop a rib through your lungs. I was incredibly lucky to survive, and it is thanks to my consultant, Dr Mike Stellakis of Warwick Hospital, that I did. 

Once retired as a jockey, I was elected to be the Member of Parliament for Hexham in 2010. One year later, I was very busy, but 45, fit and in good health. I collapsed in the House of Commons and was taken to hospital for brain scan, where I was told I had a brain tumour the size of a woman’s fist. I had a meningioma – a slow growing tumour that starts just inside your skull and presses down upon the brain. 

My NHS surgeon was the amazing Dr Neil Kitchen. He performed 2 incredibly complex operations – a cerebral angiogram and embolization of the tumour, followed by a craniotomy, where he opened my skull with a circular saw – of the medical kind – and cut the tumour out. He then stapled my head back together. As a result, I have a big horseshoe shaped scar on my left side behind my hairline. 

I have to thank the doctors, nurses and physios who got me well and back to work as an MP. It is right that we recognise their enduring contribution to the quality of NHS care. And after a long campaign, I was delighted that this government was able to award wage rises of at least 6.5 percent for more than 1 million NHS workers in England earlier this year, and increase the NHS budget by £20 billion. 

Illness brings perspective, and having been seriously ill with a potentially life threatening brain tumour, I resolved to campaign and fundraise for the NHS locally, and nationally, from political activism to charity hikes. Happy Birthday NHS! 


Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Supporting Farming in the Commons and debating Health and Harmony

I recently joined farmers and NGOs to celebrate sustainable farming across the UK at a Farmers’ Market event in parliament.

The event was really well attended with cross-party support from more than 60 MPs and Peers. It showcased nature-friendly UK farming produce, discussed the links to the environment and the future of farming - and demonstrated consensus on the need for a strong Agriculture Bill which enables us to use public money to help farmers, and at the same time to enhance and protect the environment. 

In February the Government announced a consultation on radical recommendations to change farming policy and make it more environmentally friendly and sustainable- including putting improving nature at the heart of farming subsidies. That consultation - Health and Harmony is found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/684003/future-farming-environment-consult-document.pdf
It is well worth a read. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Bowled over by Allendale's success

I am passionate about cricket, and as a member of Allendale Cricket Club it is brilliant to see the club going from strength to strength. Four years ago Allendale Cricket Club nearly folded, with its only team sitting at the bottom of the West Tyne League and the ground in a really bad state. Now, after a remarkable effort from everyone at the club, the first team are the current holders of both the League and the T20 Cup, junior talent from the local area is coming through, and they are one of only thirteen clubs in Northumberland to have entered a team in the Northumberland Women’s League. 

The Club is now focusing on its junior cricket, and have been working closely with local schools, sports and activity clubs and running taster sessions. They have also been running the Allendale All-stars course for 5-8 year olds, designed by the ECB to offer training to junior cricketers. 

It’s great to see so many people getting involved at Allendale, and that the hard work of everyone at the club is really paying off. If, like me, you are a cricket fan, why not get involved? 





Monday, 2 July 2018

Electric charging points- we're leading the way

The Department for Transport recently released data on electric car charging points in Northumberland, illustrating the number of charge points, when people charge vehicles and the most used charging points. The data shows that charging points in Northumberland are the most used in the country- more than 33,000 times. 

This is really positive news for Northumberland, showing that we are leading the way in the UK in the use of electric charging points. The full report is available below- 


The following website contains a list of charge points in the Hexham area-


Sunday, 1 July 2018

The Great Exhibition... great events coming up

The Great Exhibition of the North is now well under way- here are just some of the things to see and do over the next couple of months:

Which Way North Exhibition- an exhibition of the North’s revolutionary past including the work of inventors, scientists, designers and artists, from Helen Sharman’s space suit to the last piano played by John Lennon. I went to a preview of the exhibition recently, and I certainly recommend a visit.

The Northern Design Quest- a design trail that takes you through the creative processes behind iconic Northern products- Joseph Swan’s lighbulb and Meccano to name just a few. The trail starts at the Great North Museum and takes place across several venues, including Newcastle City Library and the Northern Design Centre- and it’s completely free.

Idea of North- the Baltic’s exploration of northern identities through a series of pavilions, architectural constructions and guest-curated displays. A highlight is a collection representing women and girls in the North East from the 1970s to the present.

The Worker’s Maypole- Grey’s Monument has been transformed into a colourful maypole in celebration of the collective values of the North. 

The Rocket Reimagined- a particular highlight for me and many others, Robert Stephenson’s Rocket is at the Discovery Museum, and thanks to virtual reality you can go back to the early steam age and see the iconic locomotive in its birthplace.


Saturday, 30 June 2018

Great Northumberland is nearly here!

It’s going to be a busy summer for Northumberland. After the opening of the Great Exhibition of the North last week, next Saturday (7th July), it’s the turn of Great Northumberland, Northumberland County Council’s cultural programme of activities around the county. The programme has been set up to help increase visitor numbers to Northumberland over the summer and beyond, and between now and September there are so many exciting events planned, covering areas including history, theatre, poetry and music. Saturday’s opening event takes place from 1pm-5pm, with a day of performance and street theatre at The Sele and in Hexham Abbey Grounds. The event is free, so I would encourage you to go along and celebrate the start of this exciting few weeks for Northumberland. 

If you can’t make next Saturday’s event, there are many more events coming up over the summer as part of Great Northumberland. To find out more, visit here- https://www.greatnorthumberland.co.uk



Friday, 29 June 2018

Classic cars- a great day out in Bywell

One of the best events of the summer is taking place in Bywell on Sunday. The Great Classic Show at Bywell is the largest display of classic vehicles in the North East, and this year’s show looks set to be the best yet, with new classic cars added for the 2018 event. As well as an incredible range of classic cars, there will be music, refreshments, charity stalls, children’s rides, a flight simulator and more, so you can really make a day-out of it. Entry is £10 or £8 for advance bookings- for more information or to book your ticket see here-




Thursday, 28 June 2018

Sculpture and sun

With the warm weather looking set to carry on into the weekend, now is the time to start making plans to make the most of the sun. Cheeseburn Sculpture is having its second Open Weekend of the year (Saturday 30thJune and Sunday 1stJuly, 11am-4pm). Both local and global artists will be showcasing their works, including Chinese artist Qi Yafeng, whose huge stainless steel sculptures will be displayed in a special exhibition. The sculptures are set in the stunning ten acre gardens at Cheeseburn Grange, making it an ideal place to spend a warm weekend. 




Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Armed Forces Day- show your support

Every year Armed Forces Day gives us the chance to show our support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community- currently serving troops, their families, veterans and cadets. The Armed Forces are an important part of our local community, with Albermarle Barracks located within the constituency for example. This year’s Armed Forces Day takes place on Saturday, and there are events planned around the Hexham constituency to support our Armed Forces. 

Hexham is getting involved on Saturday with an Armed Forces Day Celebration from 10am-4pm on Beaumont Street. There will be a display of military vehicles and equipment with personnel from the 3rd Royal Horse Artillery, a climbing wall, stalls, classic cars, entertainment and a service of thanksgiving in Hexham Abbey.

On Saturday afternoon, St Andrew’s Primary School in Heddon will also be having a family fun day from 2pm-4pm. Army families from Albermarle Barracks and non-Army families are invited. There is lots planned, with a barbeque, refreshments, an ice cream van, fun fair stalls run by each class, an assault course run by members of the barracks, Armed Forces vehicles, and the local Military Wives Choir will sing to open the event. 

Armed Forces Day is a wonderful opportunity to show the Armed Forces that we appreciate and recognise their dedication. If you can, go along to an event this weekend and show your support.



Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Time for tea

I recently popped in to the newly refurbished Elisa Rose tearooms in Mickley. It’s worth a visit for the beautiful interior alone, but it is also a really fantastic place to stop for a cup of tea and cake. It was great to chat to Wendy, Philippa and Leanne- everyone is so friendly and welcoming. A great local business that is clearly thriving- I highly recommend a visit.






Monday, 25 June 2018

Cycling for a good cause

As a keen cyclist myself, I always admire people who use their passion for cycling to do something good. At the recent Haydon 100 race, I met Bob and was really interested to hear about an upcoming ride he and friends are doing in aid of Tynedale Hospice at Home. The group will cycle from Matfen to Bamburgh and back, taking in some of Northumberland’s most beautiful scenery on a two-day route of around 130 miles. The cyclists are hoping to raise £2000 for Tynedale Hospice at Home, a charity very close to my heart, which delivers essential help to families in their own homes, with nursing care, transport and bereavement support offered to those in need. The link to donate is below- if you can, please do support them. I wish everyone the best of luck with the ride and I congratulate them on such a remarkable effort.  





Saturday, 23 June 2018

The Great Exhibition of the North is underway

Yesterday was the first day of the much-anticipated Great Exhibition of the North, an eighty day celebration of exhibits, live performances, displays of innovation and artwork in the North East. Earlier this week I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview of the exhibition in Newcastle and was so impressed by the exhibits of music, art, science and fashion, from Stubbs to the Beatles and Vivienne Westwood. So much is going to be happening over the next eighty days, to both celebrate the history and industrial heritage of the North and showcase the future of the region. I am particularly looking forward to the return of Robert Stephenson’s iconic locomotive Rocket, on loan to the Discovery Museum from the Science Museum Group.

The Exhibition has been a long time in the planning, and it is great to see the hard work of organisers paying off as the Exhibition finally arrives. This is an incredible opportunity for the North to show the rest of the world that when it comes to history and upcoming talent, there really is nowhere better. I would encourage you to have a look at what is planned over the coming months- I guarantee there is something for you!





Friday, 22 June 2018

Thank a Teacher

Today is Thank a Teacher Day, and I would like to take this opportunity to celebrate all of the teachers at our local schools, working hard to make sure that more children are gaining the skills and knowledge they need to get on in life. The day is an annual event to celebrate the huge difference teachers make to their students’ lives. A good education is fundamental to improving children’s life chances, and it is the inspirational teacher at the front of the class that makes a child’s education. There can be great schools without great teachers and I am consistently struck by the passion and dedication of teachers working in schools across the Hexham constituency, ensuring that all children can fulfil their potential. So today, make sure to thank a teacher that changed your life.


Thursday, 21 June 2018

Let's get together

Last year thousands of people came together for The Great Get Together, inspired by Jo Cox’s belief that we have more in common. This weekend, to mark what would have been Jo’s 44thbirthday, events are taking place all over the country to encourage communities to get together and get to know each other. Prudhoe’s St Mary Magdalene Church Hall is holding its own event on Saturday 23rdJune from 10am-3pm- anyone is welcome to attend. 

The Great Get Together is such a fantastic initiative, combatting loneliness and helping to bring people together. After last year’s events, 59% of people said that until that weekend they didn’t know their neighbours, and 83% of people who took part said that they met someone new. 78% of people said they felt more hopeful about Britain after the weekend. Loneliness affects a surprising number of us, and so I welcome the news that the Prime Minister has announced a £20 million ‘Building Connections Fund’ to tackle loneliness and help more people establish and maintain connections. Close and connected communities are so important, so even if you can’t get along to Prudhoe this weekend, why not have a get together of your own with the people around you.




Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Focus on farming

As one of the most rural constituencies in the UK, farming is an incredibly important part of life in Tynedale and Ponteland. I was therefore really pleased to be able to welcome the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Farming, George Eustice MP, to the Hexham constituency last week to attend a round-table event, discussing a wide range of issues relating to farming and the rural economy. It was a really fascinating discussion and a great opportunity to ask the Minister about issues that are important to local farmers. The summit was also attended by representatives from Natural England, the Environment Agency, Northumberland County Council, Northumberland Federation of Young Farmers, Newcastle University and farmers and agricultural business leaders from across Northumberland. As part of his visit, the Minister also spent time at a local working farm.

It is impossible to overstate how important farming and rural business is to our community. I will continue to do everything I can to champion the cause of farmers, food producers and rural businesses in the constituency.



Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Small Businesses- an opportunity not to be missed!

Small businesses are the heart of our local communities, and each year Small Business Saturday celebrates small businesses and encourages consumers to shop local. Last year I got involved with the event by starting my ‘Small Business Awards’, inviting constituents to nominate their favourite small businesses, and I spent a fantastic few days travelling around the constituency and presenting some of our best local businesses with their awards. 

This year’s Small Business Saturday is not until December, but plans are already underway to make the day a great success once again. Applications are now open for Small Biz 100, a scheme to highlight 100 small businesses- one a day for the 100 days leading up to this year’s Small Business Saturday. The 100 businesses will receive exposure on social media and in the local and national press, and will join the Small Business Saturday team at receptions in both Downing Street and The Treasury Drum with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is a brilliant opportunity and it would be great to see some local businesses as part of the Small Biz 100.

Applications close on 30thJune- apply here- https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/small-biz-100



Monday, 18 June 2018

A very special Midsummer's Evening

Corbridge’s Midsummer’s Evening is back! One of the highlights of the year in Corbridge, the town will be open for late night shopping on Thursday 21st June, 4pm-9pm. There will be stalls, activities and entertainments all over the village and Market Place, with food and drink, live music, Morris Dancers, children’s activities and a mini boating lake in the grounds of St Andrew’s Church. Shops, pubs and restaurants will also be open and taking part in what promises to be a very special event. There is a free park and ride service from Tynedale Park/Rugby Club to the Market Place. A Midsummer’s Evening is always a great event, so I certainly recommend you go along and celebrate with Corbridge on Thursday.

http://www.visitcorbridge.co.uk/events/a-midsummers-evening-2018/



Sunday, 17 June 2018

Get involved with our great local organisations!

There were so many different groups and organisations in attendance at last week’s Ponteland Party in the Park, and I used the opportunity to meet as many of them as I could. 

One of the organisations with a stand at the event was the Ponteland Girls’ Brigade, a group for girls aged 5 to 18 which gives them the chance to work for badges covering a wide variety of subjects. Members of the Girls’ Brigade have written to me about issues that concern them in the past, so it was great to be able to meet some of the people involved with the organisation for myself. They are always happy to welcome new members so if you are interested in joining them, they meet at Ponteland Methodist Church- find out more here- http://ponteland-methodist-church.org.uk/index.php/girls-brigade

I was also able to meet members of the local Air Cadets wing. The Air Cadets have more than 40,000 members aged between 12 and 20, and the Durham/Northumberland Wing has 35 Squadrons all across the area. The Air Cadets I met spoke very highly of their experience in the organisation, so if you are looking for excitement, adventure and challenges, find out more about joining here- http://www.dnwaircadets.org  





Saturday, 16 June 2018

Social Mobility and a special visitor

I recently had the pleasure of welcoming the former Education Secretary Justine Greening to the Hexham constituency as part of her work founding the Social Mobility Pledge. Ms Greening spoke with students at Prudhoe Community High School about her own background growing up in Rotherham and the opportunities and chances that are available to them. We also visited local business Thompsons of Prudhoe, who recently became the first Social Mobility Pledge accredited employer in the Hexham constituency. By signing the pledge, businesses like Thompsons commit to work towards improving social mobility by accessing and progressing talent from all backgrounds. Businesses like Thompsons are key to tackling social mobility in our area and helping to connect young people with the opportunities already on their doorstep. I was delighted to welcome Justine to our constituency, and I hope that her visit will encourage other local businesses to join Thompsons and sign up to the Social Mobility Pledge.



Friday, 15 June 2018

Tyne Green flood defences- work underway!

I can remember all too clearly the devastation caused by the floods in December 2015, which affected so many people in the Hexham area. Now, two and a half years on, work has begun on a flood defence scheme at Tyne Green to protect local homes from future flooding. The project is being funded by residents who have pooled the individual grants they received following the 2015 floods. 

In the last two years I have spoken to many people whose lives and homes were devastated by the flooding, and so I am pleased to see our long campaign for flood prevention on Tyne Green come to fruition. I would like to thank the Environment Agency, as well as Northumberland County Council, Northumbrian Water and Network Rail, who have all helped to make this happen. I hope that the new flood defences, which should be completed in the next few weeks, will be hugely reassuring to residents, ensuring that the next time we are faced with floods, Tyne Green is prepared.



Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Produced in Northumberland- simply the best

The Houses of Parliament were treated to a taste of Northumberland earlier today, as I welcomed Northumberland County Council’s ‘Produced in Northumberland’ team as part of an event to showcase and promote the county’s food and drink sector. 

‘Produced in Northumberland’ is a scheme which verifies that food and drink is produced in Northumberland, with audits carried out by Trading Standards and Environmental Health staff, and there are now around eighty businesses signed up with another forty interested or awaiting verification. Businesses already signed up include Brocksbushes Farm Shop, the Northumberland Spirit Company, the Artisan Bread Company and Kielder Organic Meats.

The food and drink sector is an incredibly important part of Northumberland’s economic growth, and ‘Produced in Northumberland’ aims to raise the profile of the food and drink industry in the county. It was a pleasure to welcome people and businesses involved in the scheme to Parliament, and I am delighted that so many in Westminster were able to find out for themselves about the extremely high quality of food and drink we produce in Northumberland. Well done to everyone involved in organising the event- I can’t think of a better advert for Northumberland food and drink.







Coffee and a good cause

We all know somebody who has been affected by cancer, and this Saturday the Northumberland Cancer Support Group are holding a coffee morning in aid of all those affected, including friends and family. The event will be held at Trinity Methodist Church Hall, Beaumont Street, Hexham, on Saturday 16th June from 10.30am-1pm. The Northumberland Cancer Support Group has been a registered charity since 1986 and provides a wonderful support network for people affected by cancer. Go along on Saturday and show them your support!




Tuesday, 12 June 2018

A party in Ponteland

There was only one place to be on Sunday- at the Ponteland Party in the Park. It was an honour to be asked to open the event- it was clear that so much hard work had gone into organising the day. There was plenty to see and do, and a particular highlight for me was being able to meet some of the people behind many of our local organisations. Add in the wonderful community band who kept us all entertained, and it really was a great day. Well done to everyone involved.