The sight of the G7 taking place on sun-kissed Cornish beaches reminds us of the incredible impact of the pandemic across the globe. It felt like no sooner had I got elected, the pandemic hit. Nothing prepares any of us for the time we’ve had.
It’s been a real battle but now we are coming through it. I’ll never forget that one of the first things was to get everyone home. Rescuing constituents from far flung lands and the stricken Coral Princess cruise ship. But we got everyone home in the end – even the camper van from Morocco.
It’s been a unique time and a great responsibility to be a Member of Parliament, and so incredibly close to every constituent and every business.
There have been some brilliant moments, some real successes. Securing a place on the road investment programme for the A2 upgrade into Dover, alongside helping to secure millions of pounds of grants for high streets and businesses in our area, and extra local policing.
There have been tragic moments. It was harrowing, but vital, to secure the inquiry into avoidable baby deaths in our local hospitals which is underway under Dr Bill Kirkup, and supporting local families involved. The murder of Julia James has shocked our community to the core.
I set up SuperNeighbours to help vulnerable and shielding people get the support they needed with the energetic Beverley-Jayne Last. From the food shop to mowing the lawn, SuperNeighbours was here to help and made a real difference. I am also delighted to see Tracy Carr of mental health charity Talk It Out honoured this week in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. I know first-hand the literally life-saving work that Tracy does. She is a huge asset, a gem and inspiration in our community.
During the pandemic, I’ve answered a record 50,000 emails. The Government support packages have been generous and extensive. Our community has tided over the worst. We are set for a good economic recovery, locally and nationally.
Earlier this year, I had a real battle to ensure community testing and then vaccination centres were set up in our community. With determined action, centres were set up and vaccines began to be rolled out. Vaccination has been a real triumph. A massive thanks to Dr Julian Mead and the Channel Health Alliance vaccination centre in Dover, supported by local doctors, nurses and rotary club volunteers, who have made sure our community has the vaccination programme it needs.
Much has been done – we’ve come a long way together over the last year and a half. Yet there is much more to do to ensure that we not only fully recover from the difficult time we have had, but go on to make the most of the years to come. Working together, to deliver for our country and our community.