John Whittingdale officiated at a train-naming ceremony at Wickford station to mark the 125th anniversary of the Crouch Valley Line.
The train naming ceremony completed a series of events put together by Abellio Greater Anglia and the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership to celebrate the anniversary. Originally called the ‘Dengie Hundred’ section of Essex Railways; The Crouch Valley Line, as it has become known, was opened to passengers in July 1889 by the Great Eastern Railway Company. This 16.5 mile stretch of railway is now operated by Abellio Greater Anglia who run 334 services a week with approximately 1.6 million passenger journeys a year made through the seven stations along the route.
John Whittingdale MP unveiled the newly named Class 321 train ‘Crouch Valley 1889 – 2014’ to honour the occasion and an additional commemorative plaque was presented to John Jolly to be exhibited at the Mangapps railway museum in Burnham on Crouch.
John Whittingdale MP said, “I am delighted to be able to take part in this naming ceremony of the new “Crouch Valley 1889-2014” train, which is the culmination of the events to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Crouch Valley line. Having already attended events at both South Woodham Ferrers and Burnham on Crouch stations marking the anniversary, I am very conscious of the importance of the line to my constituents. I very much welcome the commitment shown by Abellio Greater Anglia to the future of the service which I know will be of great reassurance to passengers and to local residents.”
John Whittingdale is pictured unveiling the new train with Jonathan Denby, Head of Corporate Affairs for Greater Anglia and later with Una Norman, Cllr Bob Boyce, Ursula Benjafield, County Councillor Ray Howard and Jonathan Denby.
John Whittingdale met Chief Inspector Alan Cook, District Commander for Maldon and Chelmsford to discuss local policing issues. Chief Inspector who was previously staff officer to the Chief Constable of Essex has recently taken up post and is responsible for policing throughout the Maldon District and Chelmsford City areas. John discussed with him the forthcoming changes to Policing in the county which will restore local commands as well as issues of concern to residents such as anti-social behaviour and rural crime.
John Whittingdale cut the ribbon to open the new facilities at Stock Post Office at 36 High Street, Stock. As part of the Post Office programme to modernise the network and extend opening hours for customers, the new Stock Post Office offers services from an open-plan counter instead of a full screened counter. The branch will now open significantly earlier and close later with no lunchtime closing. This offers customers an extra 30 hours Post Office Service each week. John joined Lesley Pervez who has been Subpostmistress at Stock Post Office for 20 years as well as local resident Steve Davis who took a break from snooker to show his support for his local post office.
John Whittingdale MP said: "I am delighted to be able to open the new Stock Post Office and congratulate Lesley Pervez on all her hard work. I am very conscious of the vital role that Post Offices play in many village communities and it is very good news that Stock will now have a new modern branch. In particular, I am sure that local residents in Stock will welcome the longer opening hours and the more customer friendly design which will ensure that the Post Office continues to play a central part in the life of the village”
John Whittingdale attended a celebratory tea at Knightswood Centre to thank all those volunteers who support the Dengie Project Trust. The Dengie Project Trust provides a range of services to empower older people to make choices, enabling them to reach optimum levels of health and fitness and to lead rich, safe and fulfilling lives. The Trust seeks to assist and enable people, who live to the South of Maldon Town and in the surrounding villages and hamlets on the Dengie Peninsular.
John presented certificates to all the volunteers in recognition of their support. The event was held as part of Volunteers Week.
John is pictured with Sharon Dodson, Trust Manager.
John Whittingdale attended the Armed Forces Day ceremony organised by Maldon District Council at Stow Maries Aerodrome. At 1.00pm, a flag raising ceremony took place and a short service. The Tiger Club Turbulent Display Team then flew a Missing Man formation in tribute to the Stow airmen who lost their lives.
Following the ceremony, John visited the exhibitions including the aircraft that had flown in for the day. These included two reproduction BE2es operated by the World War 1 Aviation Heritage Trust which had been brought over from New Zealand. They are intended to return to Stow Maries once the hangars are completed. One of the two aircraft is in RFC 37 Squadron’s colours. 37 Squadron was based at Stow Maries from 1916 to 1919.
John is pictured by the War Memorial at the Aerodrome and also standing by one of the BE2e airplanes with Dick Forsythe of the World War 1 Aviation Heritage Trust, his daughter and the pilot.
John Whittingdale attended a service at Burnham Railway Station to mark the 125th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Crouch Valley line. Originally called the ‘Dengie Hundred’ section of Essex Railways; The Crouch Valley Line, as it has become known, was opened to passengers in July 1889 by the Great Eastern Railway Company. This 16.5 mile stretch of railway is now operated by Abellio Greater Anglia who run almost 140 services a week with approximately 1.6 million passenger journeys a year made through the seven stations along the route.
Following the service, John Whittingdale unveiled a series of paintings which had been designed by local children and painted by local artists to decorate the Station House. Earlier in the year children and young people in Burnham were asked to submit designs for the blocked in windows of Burnham station. 15 designs were chosen and these, with one exception, were painted by adult artists. John Whittingdale unveiled each of the window paintings and presented certificates to the child designer and artist.
John is pictured with Chairman of Maldon District Council, Cllr Frank Delderfield, Cllr Peter Elliot, County Councillor Bob Boyce, Mayor of Burnham, Cllr Ron Pratt, Yvonne McDermott and Tracy Saunders, organiser of the Burnham Art Trail, and representatives of Abellio Greater Anglia.
John Whittingdale visited Challenger Solutions in South Woodham Ferrers to help the company celebrate its 20th Anniversary. Challenger Solutions is a Contract Electronics Manufacturer which began in May 1994 with just one employee. Since then it has seen steady growth with 50 employees and having extended its premises from one to four. The company s a growing player in the defence industry and exhibited at DSEI 2013 demonstrating its leading edge electronics assembly capabilities.
John is pictured with Nick Quill, Managing Director, and Jon Webb, Quality Manager.
John said: “I warmly congratulate Challenger Solutions on their 20th Birthday. The company is a great example of a small business based in South Woodham Ferrers which is beating the competition and growing steadily. I was delighted to have the chance to talk to talk to a number of the employees and I wish the company continuing success in the future”.
John Whittingdale attended an event in Parliament organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Air Ambulances. At the meeting, John met representatives of the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust.
John said: “The Air Ambulance provides a vital service in Essex, particularly in rural areas like the Dengie Peninsula from where it can take 40 minutes to reach Broomfield Hospital by road. It does so I am delighted that in his Budget this year, the Chancellor showed his support for air ambulances by rebating the VAT which they pay on aviation fuel. However, the charity depends on voluntary donation to keep going and I would like to pay tribute to all those who give it such generous support. I am looking forward to visiting the air ambulance at their Headquarters in Earls Colne soon”.
John is pictured with:
• Paul Leaman (Assistant Chief Executive of East of England Ambulance Service Trust)
• Jane Gurney (Chief Executive Officer of the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust)
• Brian Shipley (Chair of the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust)
John Whittingdale MP attended the National Continence Care Awards 2014 presentation in the House of Commons in order to congratulate Jane Miranda, Clinical Nurse Specialist at Provide, St Peter’s Hospital, Maldon, who was highly commended in the category of Clinical Leadership. The awards are designed to recognise and celebrate ambition, excellence and leadership in continence care across the country. They are chosen by LUTS – the expert group on lower urinary tract symptoms.
John is pictured with Sue Monk, a nurse on the team (centre), and Jane Miranda, team leader. John said: “Jane and her team do a fantastic job in providing advice and support to those suffering from continence problems across Mid Essex. I am delighted that Jane has received national recognition for her leadership and I warmly congratulate her and her team on this award”.
John Whittingdale attended the Burnham Rugby Club Funday. John is pictured with the Burnham Ladies Rugby team before their match against South Woodham Ferrers.
Reporting on the match, Becky (Specks) Diss wrote:
What a morning/afternoon of rugby. The ladies managed to get a tournament going for the Annual Fun Day, with one Burnham squad, one Woodham Squad (plus a few extras!), and two Chelmsford Squads we were set for a great couple of hours of rugby. John Whittingdale kicked off the proceedings during the afternoon which brought much merriment to the whole day.
The first match was Woodham v Burnham, always a very fun match with great team spirit. Burnham were fortunate enough to be awarded a penalty and this was taken quickly which meant a try was scored (Diss). The match then continuted in a fast and furious way with Woodham popping a try over! All matches were fast and furious with some great crash balls from Michelle Puxley, to mention a few.There were some incredible runs and changes of lines from Hannah G, Portia Hutchings and Michelle Clark. All teams were relentless in defence, constantly putting the pressure on, especially Claire Miller and Barbara Hvidt and Jenny Nelson. The matches continued in a similar vein with continued strong running from several players, in particular Michelle Clark, who set up a few tries for Dave Kelly who was always there in support. Burnham played in the third and fourth place play off and did fantastically well, never giving up and with the incredible support of Jakey on the side line really lifted their game.
John Whittingdale officially opened the newly refurbished Cherry Trees Therapy Centre at St Peters Hospital, Maldon.
A plaque was unveiled and a ribbon cut by John to mark the event.
Cherry Trees Therapy Centre, which is managed by North Essex Partnership, has been refurbished and extended – it now has extra space to accommodate services that were previously provided from two separate buildings. It has a new reception with a skylight for improved natural light.
A wide range of services for adults and older adults including community mental health, recovery/reablement and occupational therapy are provided from the centre.
Andrew Geldard, Chief Executive said: “We have invested into transforming this centre into a fantastic place for our service users. Over 95% of our patients are treated in the community and we have brought Cherry Trees into the 21st century with modern design and facilities that is good for our service users.”
John is pictured with Chris Paveley, Chairman and Andrew Geldard, Chief Executive.
John Whittingdale presented a certificate to Thomas Gaynham, a pupil at the Priory Primary School, Bicknacre, to mark his success in the Royal Mail Design a Christmas Stamp Competition. The competition received entries from children aged 4-11 years-old from across the UK in response to the question, ‘What does the Christmas season mean to you? Thomas aged 5, was one of 24 national runners up in the competition which attracted 240,000 entries. As a result of his success, Thomas won £500 as did the Priory School.
John is pictured with Thomas and Ms Rachael Plunkett, Headteacher
John Whittingdale was delighted to present Jhual Ahmed the certificate marking the Maldon Tandoori being Highly Commended in this year’s Tiffin Cup competition. The Tiffin Cup is an annual British competition run by the Tiffin Club to find the best South Asian restaurant in the United Kingdom. Nominees are selected by their constituency and then put forward by their local MP. This is the second year running that the Maldon Tandoori has been highly commended. The Maldon Tandoori has also won both the Essex Tourism and Hospitality Award for best ethnic restaurant 2013 as well as a TripAdvisor Certificate for Excellence 2013 to add to its 2012 awards.
John Whittingdale said: “I warmly congratulate Jhual Ahmed and all at the Maldon Tandoori on being highly commended in the Tiffin Cup competition once again. As a regular customer, I can vouch for the high quality of the cuisine at the restaurant and this recognition is thoroughly deserved.”
John Whittingdale is pictured at the House of Commons with Jhual Ahmed and with Ian Jones, Chairman of the Maldon Conservative Association.
John Whittingdale opened a new affordable housing development at Everest Way, Heybridge. The development by Colne Housing consists of 30 properties built on 1.5 acres of farmland at at the end of Everest Way. Colne currently owns 187 units within the Everest Way estate. The project was supported by £70,000 capital grant from the Homes and Communities fund. In addition to this, Colne provided £2.5 million to deliver the 30 new homes. The properties are a mixture of one and two bedroom flats and two and three bedroom houses.
John Whittingdale said:
“I am very much aware of the severe shortage of social housing in the Maldon District which is trapping many families in inadequate accommodation. I am delighted to be able to open this impressive housing development which will help meet that demand. I congratulate Colne Housing and Maldon District Council on this project and hope that all those fortunate enough to be housed there will be very happy in their new homes”
John is pictured with Mark Powell Davies, Chief Executive of Colne, Cllr David Williams, Chairman of Maldon District Council, and Cllr Tim Young, Chairman of Colne.
John Whittingdale attended the Morning Assembly at All Saints School, Maldon, in order to present them with the Platinum Sing Up Award.
Sing Up aims to put Singing at the heart of every Primary School and is a resource for schools that encourages excellent singing to support all areas of the curriculum. Singing improves learning, confidence, health and social development. It has the power to change lives and help to build stronger communities. Sing Up's mission is to ensure this happens by providing schools with excellent musical resources and workforce development opportunities, supported by a network of expert music education providers.
All Saints Primary School in Maldon is the first Essex school to be given a platinum award from Sing Up. John is photographed with pupils form All Saints School and former pupil, Charlotte Hume, who also sang one of her own songs at the presentation assembly.
John Whittingdale attended the RNLI Open Day in Burnham on Crouch. Celebrating nearly 40 years as a lifeboat station, Burnham-on-Crouch is one of only three lifeboat stations that has their inshore lifeboats kept in floating boathouses. The station has two boats – one being an Atlantic 75 B733, the ‘Brandy Hole’. This boat arrived on station in February 1997 and was officially taken into service on the 7th June 1997. It also has an IB1, the ‘Ernest & Rose Chapman II’. This is the second boat to be donated by David & Barbara Chapman in memory of David’s parents. This boat arrived on station in February 2007 and was officially taken into service on the 9th June 2007.
John Whittingdale attended the Armed Forces Day ceremony organised by Maldon District Council at Longfields, Maldon. At the event, there was a display of military vehicles as well as a fly past of three vintage aircraft organised by Stow Maries Aerodrome. At 12.00pm, the flag was raised accompanied by a piper with the sea cadets parading. All proceeds went to "Help the Heroes".
John is pictured first with Lance Corporal Shaun Morgan, 103 Bn REME and Sgt Jack Scott, Essex Army Cadet Force and then with Cllr Tony Shrimpton, Cllr Bob Boyce (Leader of Maldon District Council) and Flt Lt Richie Miller (Essex Air Cadets).
John Whittingdale MP joined Sajid Javid MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, to celebrate the first cut in beer duty for half a century. John Whittingdale had last year met members of Maldon and Dengie CAMRA at Westminster and joined them in calling for an end to the beer duty escalator. In his Budget, not only did the Chancellor announce the scrapping of the escalator, he also cut the duty on a pint by 1p.
John and Sajid are shown on the Terrace of the House of Commons enjoying a pint of "Sajid's Choice" brewed by Birds Brewery of Bromsgrove.
John Whittingdale attended the Lawn Tennis Association Mini-Tennis session for children from two local schools, Wentworth Primary School in Maldon and Heathcote School, Danbury.
The event was held at Danbury Tennis Club in Mayes Lane, Danbury, which is one of only 100 clubs to have been chosen as Mini Tennis Ambassador Clubs. The intention over the course of the week from 10th to 16th June is to make tennis accessible with a target of 15,000 new young players aged between three and ten years old accessing tennis for the first time.
John is pictured with children from Wentworth School as well as Head Coach, Matt Ford, and other coaches.
John Whittingdale attended the fly-in at Stow Maries Aerodrome, the last surviving First World War airfield in the country. Stow Maries Aerodrome is a Great War Aerodrome set in the rural Essex countryside.
The Aerodrome was in use from 1916 to 1919 as a home defence station in the war against Zeppelin and German aeroplane raids. It has many of its original buildings in situ which are currently undergoing restoration to bring the site back to its 1918 appearance. It also boasts a wildlife walk which was the winner of Maldon District Council Conservation and Design Award 2010.
Following a period of organisation and training at Stow Maries the first recorded operational flight took place from the aerodrome on the night of 23rd/24th May 1917 when Ridley (now promoted to Captain) and Lieutenant G Keddie were ordered aloft in response to a large Zeppelin raid targeting London. They scored no success on that occasion but as time went on the amount of operational flights grew as did the aircraft establishment of the station.