Hastings Observer Column 21 December

I didn’t imagine that we would have a quiet 2018. As it turns out, we have had an incredibly busy and sometimes turbulent time.

It has also been a busy and positive year for our communities. I have continued to push for High Speed Rail: we have taken major steps forward towards establishing quicker train journeys as the work for track changes at Ashford is over halfway completed. I will continue to drive this forward in the New Year.

I have fought for ongoing regeneration and focused on improving opportunities and supporting local causes. I am pleased that the Government’s Coastal Communities fund has continued to deliver funding for important local projects in our town, such as nearly £2.5 million going towards the Hastings Furniture Service for a new Piazza in Hastings. My Hastings Seniors Fair and Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair have helped raise awareness to local residents of the local opportunities and services available to them and I will continue to hold similar events throughout 2019.

As well as a chance to reflect on the year, Christmas in our towns offers a chance to enjoy fantastic local fairs and for me, a spot of last minute Christmas shopping on our high street! Recently, I chose the winner of my Hastings and Rye 2018 MP Christmas Card competition and sent out Ashton’s lovely design on all of my cards to constituents, colleagues, and even the Prime Minister. There was a huge amount of creativity on display in the number of entries and it was incredibly tough to choose a winner.

Over the past few weeks, I have been to the St Michael’s Hospice’s Christmas Sale, the Christmas Curiosity Bazaar at Sussex Coast College and enjoyed spending time at Lamb House in Rye. Hastings and Rye are home to many inspiring local crafts and independent shops which means we can enjoy a unique variety of thoughtful Christmas gifts for our friends and loved ones.

Looking forward to 2019, I will continue to campaign for the most important concerns to the constituents of Hastings and Rye. In my ninth year as your MP, I look forward to continuing my Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair, Seniors Fair and ensuring our Opportunity Area funding is spent in all of the right places.

I wish everyone in our towns a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!