What a month it has been!
I hope that you have been making the most of the wonderful weather we’ve been having lately — there aren’t many better places to spend a sunny day than in Northumberland. The last few weeks have really been memorable, with summer fairs and events getting well and truly under way, and many more still to come.
A real highlight this month was welcoming the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Farming George Eustice to the constituency.
Hexham is one of the most rural constituencies in the UK and as a result, farming is an extremely important part of life here.
It was great to be able to invite the minister to take part in a round-table event, discussing a wide range of issues relating to farming and the rural economy, and giving local farmers the chance to ask questions about the issues that are important to them.
The summit was also attended by Stuart Roberts, Vice President of the National Farmers’ Union, and representatives from various groups, including Natural England, the Environment Agency, Northumberland Federation of Young Farmers and Newcastle University.
It is impossible to overstate how important farming and rural business is to our community, and I will continue to do everything I can to champion the cause of local farmers, food producers and rural businesses.
The constituency had another special visitor this month as the former Education Secretary Justine Greening came to the area as part of her work founding the Social Mobility Pledge.
Ms Greening spoke with students at Prudhoe Community High School about her background and the opportunities that are available to them, before visiting local business Thompsons of Prudhoe, which recently became the first Social Mobility Pledge accredited employer in the constituency.
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.
As part of my role as MP, I attend many fairs and events at towns all over the constituency, and this month I was pleased to be asked to open the Ponteland Party in the Park.
It was a brilliant day with plenty to see and do, and I particularly enjoyed meeting some of the people behind our local organisations, including the Air Cadets and the Girls’ Brigade. Entertainment was provided by the Community Band.
Summer 2018 belongs to Northumberland, with so many events taking place in celebration of our region.
The Houses of Parliament were treated to a taste of Northumberland recently as I welcomed Northumberland County Council’s Produced in Northumberland team as part of an event to showcase the food and drink sector.
Produced in Northumberland is a scheme which verifies that food and drink is produced in the county. Around 80 businesses are now signed up, with another 40 interested or awaiting verification. The sector is such an important part of our economic growth so I was delighted that so many in Westminster were able to find out for themselves about the amazing food and drink we produce here.
The big event of the summer, however, is the much-anticipated Great Exhibition of the North, an 80-day celebration of exhibits, live performances, displays of innovation and artwork in the North East.
So much is going to be happening over the next 80 days to both celebrate the history of the North and showcase the future of the region, we are in for a summer to remember.
I would encourage you to have a look at the events planned.