Honouring heroes who make us proud

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Havant MP Alan Mak talks about Remembrance Day services and the importance of the armed forces to the whole community

On Saturday morning I stood outside the Meridian Centre selling poppies with other Royal British Legion volunteers and we certainly didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits.

Sunday’s weather was slightly better as I laid wreaths at Remembrance Sunday services at St. Faith’s Church, Havant in the morning and St James’ Church, Emsworth in the afternoon.

Earlier that week, I’d welcomed students from South Downs College and Havant Sixth Form to Parliament for a briefing on the Holocaust.

I also joined pupils from Springwood Infant School in Stakes at the Cenotaph in Whitehall to lay a wreath. Having been a Royal British Legion volunteer for over a decade and founded the Legion’s young professionals’ branch, I strongly believe we need to educate our young people about the sacrifices our veterans have made for our freedom.

Our current Armed Forces do excellent work too. Regular News readers will know I’m undertaking a year’s ‘work experience’ with the Royal Navy and I was honoured to spend an evening on board HMS Tyne, an 80-metre offshore patrol vessel.

Speaking to the crew about their work off the south coast guarding UK territorial waters was humbling and inspiring.

Closer to home, mental health charity Mind have launched a new wellbeing centre at the Hub in Leigh Park, and I was delighted to open what will be a wonderful community resource.

I also laid the first bricks at the new community centre in Denvilles, which is being built entirely by local apprentices working for Barratt Homes.

Supporting projects like these is a top priority for me as a community-focused MP.

Havant Rugby Club lost narrowly at home last week, but I’m proud to be a new vice-president, helping them encourage more residents to get involved in rugby following the World Cup.

In Westminster, I discussed local health issues with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. I also lobbied the chief executive of RBS, who own NatWest, to reconsider its decision to close the Hayling branch.

Voting for my local pub chef competition has closed, and winners will be revealed shortly.

Thanks to all residents who got involved, and enjoy the rest of the week.