Looking to the past and the future

Gifts are needed for youngsters.
Gifts are needed for youngsters.

November has been a hugely poignant month as the country came together to mark 100 years since the armistice to end the First World War.

I have been incredibly moved by the stunning tributes of local towns and villages throughout the Hexham constituency.

It was wonderful to see the significant effort made by so many local people to mark the centenary of the 1918 armistice.

This month we have also marked UK Parliament Week.

This event commemorated another significant centenary — 100 years since the first women gained the right to vote in this country.

UK Parliament Week is held with the aim of encouraging people, especially young people and those from different backgrounds and communities, to engage with the UK Parliament and to empower them to get involved.

This year’s event was also part of the UK Parliament’s Vote 100 programme, celebrating equal voting rights and other milestones in the UK’s democratic history.

A record high of 32 per cent of women MPs were elected to the House of Commons in 2017’s General Election.

There is further to go in encouraging diversity though.

The UK Parliament Week invites people of all backgrounds to have a say in their democracy.

It was also great recently to be able to visit Egger — Tynedale and Northumberland’s biggest private sector employer.

I have visited the factory many times before and, as always, it was good to meet so many members of the team and get an update on their work.

The factory employs more than 700 people and is one of Europe’s most advanced wood-based, panel production facilities.

Egger also has a fantastic apprenticeship and employee training scheme, and 10 per cent of its workforce are currently, or have been, apprentices.

It’s a great business that is such an important part of our local community — I really enjoyed my visit.

Football is an incredibly important part of life in many of our local communities, and especially in Prudhoe.

It’s therefore brilliant news that Prudhoe Youth FC has been awarded £276,000 by the Football Foundation as part of a project that will allow the club to refurbish and extend its changing pavilion at Eastwoods Park.

The funding will also help to provide fully compliant changing rooms, officials’ rooms and ancillary facilities, and support the development of the club so that it can retain players and grow from 30 to 36 teams overall, including female and disability sides.

The difference this funding will make to the football club, and to the wider community in Prudhoe as a whole, cannot be overstated.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Prudhoe Youth FC thanks to this funding.

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is now just around the corner.

This month I launched my annual Christmas Toy Appeal, and I need your help to make this Christmas a magical one for local children who would otherwise not receive any gifts this festive season.

I am always so amazed by the generosity of the people of Tynedale and Ponteland in donating gifts.

They will be given to the Salvation Army to distribute to local children.

But time is running out to take part.

If you would like to donate a gift, please deliver it to 1 Meal Market, Hexham, before December 1.

Toys, cuddly toys, colouring books and much more will be very gratefully received. However, we require new toys only please.

With your donations, you really will be helping to make Christmas very special.