July 28th 2015

Last week, in what I assume was an error during editing, my letter ended abruptly, mid-sentence. Indeed I did return to the constituency, but there was so much more to say. On Saturday I attended a service for the commemoration of Lanoe George Hawker, from Longparish, who became a British flying ace during World War 1 and was awarded the Victoria Cross 100 years ago in 1915.  He was clearly much admired by the people of Longparish, and his eventual death, in a dogfight with the infamous German pilot the Red Baron, is marked with a stained glass window in St Nicholas’ Church in the village.

Last weekend there was also a service of commitment at St Margaret’s Church in, Wellow, for its 800 year anniversary. St Margaret’s is a particularly special church for me, it has been my family church for my whole life and I am always very happy to play a part in celebrations there. It is also the final resting place of Florence Nightingale, perhaps the most famous resident of the immediate Romsey area.

However, it was not wholly a weekend of celebration, with the shocking news West Tytherley Village Shop had been raided in the early hours of Saturday morning. Village shops are an integral part of many communities and the village has been out in force to help clear up the mess left behind. There is even a ‘Just Giving’ page to help support the shop at this difficult time.

I was glad to hear the Police and Crime Commissioner say tackling rural crime is a priority for police in Hampshire. At a time when village shops are struggling more than ever to stay open in the service of their communities it is heart breaking for all involved when incidents such as this occur.

I look forward to meeting with constituents this week to discuss the issues that matter most to them. Parliamentary recess is an opportunity for MPs to spend greater time in their constituency and attend events which the Parliamentary calendar would usually prevent. Far from being a summer holiday, as is often portrayed, my diary is at times busier than when the House is sitting.

On Saturday 1st August I will be holding my regular drop-in surgery at the Mill Arms in Dunbridge between 9:30 and 11:00, no appointment in necessary.

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