Last night I attended the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Ramsbottom Civic Hall (FORCH).
It was held not surprisingly in the Civic Hall at Ramsbottom and we were able to see the tremendous improvements which have taken place in recent months.

As is often the case with refurbishment works alot of money has been spent on things which are not immediately noticed but are nevertheless vital. All the main pitched roofs have been repaired and re-tiled with new felt and inulation fitted. New windows have been put in throughout the building and the external stairs and walkway which had been causing structural problems have been demolished.

The Holcombe Room has been completely overhauled and during the repair of the gable wall two new windows and French doors have been added. Perhaps the most noticeable change to visitors to Ramsbottom is that the outside of the Hall has been cleaned.

The AGM passed off smoothly and there was a short address by the Mayor of Bury Councillor Sheila Magnall who is the Honorary President of the Friends and she told all those present how pleased sshe was to see the improvements and that she had been coming to events in the Hall for some 50 years.

The website for the Friends of Ramsbottom Civic Hall can be found here

Cafe Turin


Charles Daubney (Cafe Turin) Rosanna La Vecchia (Cafe Turin), Cllr Iain Gartside, David, Cllr Yvonne Wright, the Mayor of Bury Councillor Sheila Magnall

Charles Daubney (Cafe Turin) Rosanna La Vecchia (Cafe Turin), Cllr Iain Gartside, David, Cllr Yvonne Wright, the Mayor of Bury Councillor Sheila Magnall

I attended the opening of Cafe Turin this eveing – the latest addition to Market Street in Tottington. It was disappointing when Duckworths the electrical shop closed and the shop has stood empty ever since. Now it has reopened as a Cafe and is the ideal place for shoppers to have a coffee and a chat.

The official opening was performed by the Mayor Councillor Sheila Magnall and was well attended with local Councillors, other shopkeepers and residents.

I wish the new venture well and I hope it encourages people to use our great range of shops in Tottington

Disillusioned of Bury

Since my return from Northern Ireland I have resumed my usual pattern of meetings and campaigning. I have spent alot of time this week speaking to voters “on the doorstep” and it is clear that the revelations over M.P.’s expenses has resulted in widespread disillusionment with politics and politicians. I always had to explain that as a Prospective M.P. I receive no public money whatsoever and I have said unequivocally that my main home will always be here in Bury and I will not change the designation of it simply to maximise my expenses claims. Further I have said that I will never claim for furniture or household goods and I will not make any claims for food. Also unlike so many current M.P.’s I will not use taxpayers money to pay for leaflets. At present M.P.’s can claim up to £10,000 each year on what is called a Communications Allowance and I have stated that I will never make any claim on that Allowance. Hopefully we can start to rebuild the trust and confidence in politicians.

On Wednesday I attended a meeting of Bury Council which was the first under the new Mayor Councillor Sheila Magnall and it soon became clear that the new Mayor will be a very firm but fair referee of business during Council meetings.

Yesterday I attended a coffee morning to raise funds for the Party in Bury North

Darling’s First Budget

We have witnesses Alistair Darling’s first budget statement today and having watched it all it struck me how very little new there was in it. Nowadays, it seems many of the measures that used to be in the budget are pre-announced, foreshadowed in earlier budgets or simply leaked in advance. For example, it was no surprise today when the Chancellor announced the 2p per litre increase in petrol duty was now to take place in October of this year because it had been heavily trailed in all the weekend newspapers.

There was little in the budget to help hard pressed families who are struggling to make ends meet and in fact as a result of the measures in the budget most families will probably find it even harder to make ends meet. I noticed the Chancellor did not mention the fact that for millions of taxpayers across the country, thousands of whom are in Bury who earn less than £18,000 a year they will see their income cut from this April due to the abolition of the 10p rate of tax.

Last Friday I accompanied Councillor Sheila Magnall to the Tiddlywinks nursery in Ramsbottom where the children were raising funds for the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children by taking part in an attempt to break the World Record for the largest simultaneous poetry reading. The children and staff had worked extremely hard in preparing for the event with all the children and staff in fancy dress based around the Peter Pan theme. My congratulations go all involved.

I attended the Ramsbottom, Tottington and North Manor Local Area Partnership meeting on Monday evening. Last night I went down to a cold and wet Gigg Lane to watch Bury notch up their third consecutive win 3-0 against my home town team of Rotherham. Revenge for the reverse earlier in the season at Millmoor. Andy Bishop is in excellent form and the whole team is clearly much more confident now they have a few wins under their belts.