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
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
David chatting to guests
This afternoon Sue and I attended an afternoon tea and garden party organised by the Bury Hospice Support Group. It was very well attended even though the sun had disappeared behind clouds. The new Mayor of Bury was in attendance although despite it being her first full day in office it was not her first event as the Mayor had already attended an event on her first evening at the Grammar School. I understand the event raised well over £600 for Bury Hospice.
David at the St Georges Day flag raising ceremony
I attended the official flag raising ceremony this morning as the flag bearing the Cross of St. George the Patron Saint of England was raised by the Mayor of Bury Councillor Peter Ashworth to fly proudly in front of the Town Hall. The Rector of Bury John Findon spoke eloquently about the history of our Patron Saint and said prayers. The Mayor then hoisted the flag into position.
I am delighted that the Conservative led Council has introduced this short ceremony to honour our Patron Saint and I hope the occasion will be repeated every year in the future.
The Mayor and Mayoress of Bury before their blood pressure tests
David helping out with Stroke Awareness Day
Yesterday I helped with Bury Rotary Club’s Stroke Awareness Day at the Millgate centre in Bury town centre.
One of the principal causes of strokes is high blood pressure and yesterday anyone could have a free blood pressure check and we were giving out lots of helpful information both on how to try and avoid having a stroke and also whay to do if someone you are with suffers from a stroke.
We were visited by the Mayor and Mayoress of Bury who set a good example by both having their blood pressure tested. I had mine tested too and I am pleased to report it was satisfactory!
I understand several Cabinet Ministers held a telephone conference call on Friday evening to agree their position following the loss of Crewe and Nantwich. Apparently it was decided that they should not issue any calls for unity as this would give the game away that they were divided. Unfortunately, it appears no one told the current MP for Bury South who on Saturday was reported in the Times as saying among other things “We need to roll up our sleeves and show the discipline and unity which is non-negotiable if we are to earn the right to a fourth term.” Full story here
I am pleased to report that CeeCee passed his inspection at the V E T’s he was fairly well behaved for his injection and by the end of this week we will be able to start taking him out.
It has been a fairly quiet couple of days this Bank Holiday weekend. I only had one engagement yesterday a Sunday Lunch at Greenmount Golf Club organised by the North Manor Ward Conservatives. Numbers were a little down on usual with alot of people away because of the Bamk Holiday and school half term holidays but there were still well over 60 and we had an enjoyable lunch followed by entertaining speeches from Councillor Jack Walton and his wife Pat who have recently finished their two year stint as Mayor and Mayoress and then Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayoress of Bury.
I was honoured to be invited to the installation of the new Mayor of Bury on Wednesday. Councillor Peter Ashworth was sworn in as the new Mayor and I am sure he will carry out his Mayoral duties with great pride and dignity.
Yesterday, I paid a visit down to Crewe to help in the by-election. The response on the doorsteps is quite positive although it is also quite unusual. I guess most politicians are used to hearing the refrain of “We never see anybody here” well in Crewe at the moment the most usual response is “Oh dear not another one!”. Hundreds of campaigners from all parties are descending on what after all is quite a small town and I would have thought the local economy is receicing a real boost from all the election activity.