MP’s steps out to help mercy crews

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A NORTHUMBERLAND MP is delighted with the support he received on his second charity walk.

And Guy Opperman has wasted no time in getting back to work since he completed the trek, as the campaign to protect Ponteland’s green belt has stepped up a pace.

He set off from Edale a few weeks ago and walked the 260-mile Pennine Way route through Derbyshire, Yorkshire, parts of Durham and Cumbria, into Northumberland and finishing just over the border in Scotland.

More than £2,000 has been raised for the Great North Air Ambulance through his constituency office and the fund-raising website Just Giving.

Mr Opperman, whose Hexham constituency includes Ponteland, walked Hadrian’s Wall last year and he collected over £6,000 for the Tynedale Community Hospice and the National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, which he credits with saving his life following his brain tumour.

The MP said: “I am so pleased we have been able to raise all this money for such a well deserving cause. I would like to thank everyone who has offered me their support and every single penny will be going to support the fantastic work of the Great North Air Ambulance, which does so much for others.

“We raised so much money for good causes last year it seemed right to do it again. I decided to keep the tradition going and I’m so grateful that people have helped me hit this year’s target.”

He has now turned his attentions to potential future housing in his constituency and he recently revealed that a petition to protect the Ponteland Green Belt has reached 1,500 signatures.

“I don’t dispute we need more housing, especially affordable housing,” said Mr Opperman.

“However, I simply do not believe huge expensive housing estates sprawling over the countryside is the answer.

“We must protect our Green Belt and I am proud of the campaigns I am fighting locally in both Ponteland and Hexham on that very issue.”

I have been very clear in the past that I oppose the threat that over-development poses to local communities that don’t have the infrastructure to cope. ‬

“The Government was absolutely right to strengthen protection for the Green Belt in its recent changes to the planning system.”