Our busy lives mean opportunities to reflect are few, but I was grateful for the opportunity last Sunday during a moving service at Havant’s St Faith’s Church, honouring eight local residents who have died on active service since 1945 with new plaques on the war memorial.
It was an important community recognition of the sacrifices made by our armed forces, including in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Last Friday was nationwide Tourism Constituency Day. I was delighted to tour Hayling Island’s Langstone Hotel with general manager, Clint Marsh. It is a real tourist hotspot and, with summer fast approaching, it’s vital we support our fantastic tourism-based businesses.
Our small businesses are doing well too. I enjoyed meeting Julie Parham and her team at Purbrook’s much-loved family hairdressers, Cut ‘n’ Dry as part of the build-up for my Havant Small Business Awards in partnership with The News. They’ve served local residents with distinction for nearly 30 years and are receiving a flood of nominations.
I urge News readers to nominate their own local favourites via my website: alanmak.org.uk by April 1.
Supporting local schools is also a key priority as local MP, and every term I organise a meeting of local headteachers. Purbrook Park, Crookhorn College and Havant Academy have gained ‘good’ ratings from Ofsted in the past year, and I invited Hampshire County Council’s cabinet member for education, Peter Edgar, to Havant last week to congratulate them. Our headteachers and teachers are all community heroes.
Many local residents rely on Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital and I spent an afternoon there last week meeting hardworking front-line clinical staff. I also met QA’s chief executive Ursula Ward to push for further improvements to patient care. I understand local residents’ concerns and frustrations.
In parliament, I lobbied the rail minister to introduce flexible season tickets so commuters only travelling two or three days a week don’t have to pay for seven days. Let’s hope the train companies implement this idea.
I made my debut on Sky News reviewing last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, and also got the schools ministers to congratulate Warblington School pupil Archie Hayward – the first British student to secure work experience at the CERN science laboratory in Switzerland. Definitely something to celebrate.