Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans meets the CEO of Virgin Atlantic and closer to home visits Bowland High School where he chatted to pupils, who have been joined by fellow students from China
It was great to visit one of our local butcher’s shops, Roy Porter, which has been nominated for an award by the Countryside Alliance. I have used this butcher myself and touring the kitchens upstairs I learned that this gem makes a considerable number of homemade pies, which are supplied to local shops, pubs and are in their own Chatburn shop. I think it is brilliant that this sort of specialist shop his thriving and has such a strong following at a time when small shops are under threat.
I then visited Newton to chat with local people about their fears over the future of the much loved Slaidburn Health Centre. I even managed to ask the Prime Minister a question about it during PM’s questions. It is a really valuable resource and we must do all we can to ensure that it continues to provide its life saving service for many decades to come.
The award-winning Parker’s Arms in Newton was my next stop where I chatted with locals and tasted the beer. We are really lucky that high quality restaurants like this flourish in our area and that the fame of this one in particular, recently featured in The Guardian.
I met the Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Atlantic, Shai Weiss and we discussed their takeover of Flybe airline. The important thing for me is that this takeover will secure thousands of jobs around the country, including in the North West, and that it will continue to offer competition on many of the European routes ensuring lower prices to families.
In the Commons I met the Chinese Ambassador to discuss the growing trade between our two countries. I learned one fascinating statistic – that 180,000 Chinese students are in full time education in the UK, including Lancashire. This is a great tribute to British education standards.
Ribble Valley Councillor Sue Hind visited Parliament to lobby Government Minister Kit Malthouse in order to ensure local developers contribute to local services when they build houses in the Ribble Valley. The Minister was very keen to support Sue’s desire to see this happen at the beginning of a development as this is when the demand for improved infrastructure is needed.
Talking of which, the roundabout on the A59 has finally opened. It’s been months of agony for a lot of people but this dangerous junction has been made much safer by this improvement. I know many people have been inconvenienced by the time it took but I do believe that this will prevent many accidents and save lives in the years ahead.
Finally I went along to Bowland High School to meet many of the Chinese pupils who have been staying with local families in the area and attending the school. It was wonderful to see the youngsters mix with their new Lancashire friends, and it really does reinforce the growing bonds that can exist between two nations with such different cultures. I know the Chinese Ambassador will be thrilled that the Ribble Valley is playing its part to foster closer ties across the miles.