I attended a moving Remembrance Sunday service in Darfield this morning, as we mark the centenary of the end of the First World War and remember those who gave their lives fighting for our freedom.For our tomorrow, they gave their today.We will remember them.
The following appeared as my column in the Barnsley Chronicle on 9th November: This Sunday marks the annual Remembrance Day commemoration, where we come together to remember those who have given their lives in service of our country. The event has rightly become a familiar date in our national calendar, and gives us all the opportunity to pay our respects. But this year of all years perhaps holds even more poignancy than usual. Because as the Last Post sounds this Sunday and the country falls into silence, it will be 100 years since the end of the First World War. 100 years since the Armistice was signed in 1918. 100 years since the guns fell silent in fields across Europe and so many other corners of the world that this war scarred. And 100 years since the end of one of the most devastating conflicts in history that saw millions of lives lost across the globe, including over 700,000 from Britain. That included many from right here in Barnsley, most notably the ‘Barnsley Pals’. Responding to Lord Kitchener’s call, they were friends and family, and included labourers, miners, and glassworkers. They enlisted and joined up together, trained side by side, and so many of them died that way, too. Wives, parents, siblings, families and friends of all kinds back home suffered, left with gaping holes of loss in their lives that would never be healed. Our community here in Barnsley, too, was devastated – a feeling replicated in villages, towns and cities across the country. And 100 years on, as the experience of the First World War slips finally from living memory, we’re reminded again of the importance in remembering those who sacrificed everything so we could maintain the freedoms we enjoy to this day. Indeed, Remembrance Day is an opportunity to commemorate all of those who have given their lives in wars; from those in fields of Europe from which poppies grew a century ago, to recent conflicts in which people from Barnsley and across the UK have made similar sacrifices. So like Hoyland last year, I’ll be laying a wreath in Darfield on Sunday and thinking of them all. And on this important centenary anniversary of a devastating conflict we must never forget, I hope you will too. We will remember them.
It was fantastic to be at the opening of the new Barnsley Market this morning.This is an excellent new facility at the heart of the town centre.
I recently attended a moving Service of Remembrance at Elsecar Holy Trinity Church for the 72 men of Elsecar who lost their lives in the Great War.
Thanks to everyone who came to my broadband surgery in Hoyland with Superfast South Yorkshire recently.I will be taking up residents’ concerns with some of the big providers and pressing the Government for a commitment to the further roll out of fibre broadband.Feel free to contact me if you have concerns you’d like to raise.
I was pleased to be able to join members of the Royal British Legion from across Barnsley and the Mayor Councillor Steve Green recently to launch this year’s poppy appeal in the town centre.
I attended a busy parliamentary debate on Fracking and the role of local people in decision making. I raised my concerns that the Energy Minister has yet to visit a fracking site, yet seems intent on ignoring the voices of local people who have grave concerns about the impact of fracking. I called on the Government yet again to listen to the people of Barnsley who want their voices heard. You can see my full comments here.
I stopped by the Big Lottery Fund’s parliamentary drop-in to discuss funding for areas like ours. Earlier this year I revealed the whole of the North of England gets less lottery funding than the £7.3bn allocated to London alone, whilst the wealthy constituencies of Government Ministers receive significantly more than Barnsley. It’s crucial the Big Lottery funding system gives towns and communities like ours a proper share.
What a pleasure welcoming Barnsley Brownies to Parliament today. Certainly one of the biggest groups I’ve had visit from Barnsley – and what a delightful bunch they were!
It was a real privilege hosting a roundtable on Supporting Survivors of Modern Slavery in Westminster today. Bringing together survivors of modern slavery, staff from the fantastic ‘Free Thinking’ course at Barnsley's Northern College, and MPs from all parties, the event provided the chance for survivors to have their voices heard here in Parliament. It’s vital we work together to tackle this abhorrent practice, and do our best to ensure nobody else experiences stories like those we heard today.