MP Nigel Evans tours the Ribble Valley villages, visits Auschwitz and Berlin and welcomes his first official visitor to his London office, since lockdown
The second wave of Covid is upon large parts of the UK and Lancashire has some real hot spots and the trend in the Ribble Valley has been rising fast.
As we go to print, enhanced measures will really be a massive burden on many struggling businesses. Please think local during this testing period and support businesses through this challenge. The priority for the Government is to stem this second wave and protect as many lives as possible, but we will all have to play our part and I will personally press Matt Hancock, the Health Minister, to lift these special measures as incidences of the virus in the Ribble Valley decrease.
One of the businesses I was happy to support recently was the Gibbon Bridge. What a fantastic hotel, great ambience, amazing gardens and a legendary owner – Janet Simpson. We are so privileged to have such venues in our area.
I did a three-day tour of the villages early in September and I have to say the valley is looking great. It was superb to meet so many Councillors on their patches to learn directly of any concerns. Any resident with local issues, should always contact their local Councillor who are there to help.
Sky Arts has just gone free on your TV and to celebrate, Sky commissioned 40 paintings of well-known buildings around the country. I was presented with one by renowned artist Brian Ramsey of the Swan With Two Necks in Pendleton. It now hangs on the wall of my Deputy Speaker office in Parliament, and I show it off whenever any MP comes to see me.
I visited Auschwitz in Poland and Berlin in the recess and it has had an enormous impact on me. To see the concentration camp was beyond disturbing and to then visit Berlin and see the bomb-damaged Kaiser Wilhelm Cathedral was walking with history. It was amazing to see the preserved statue of Christ, when so much had been destroyed in that raid, but it was also fascinating to see how they have redeveloped the cathedral preserving the old central remains and building glass structures and a glass tower either side of it.
Also, in the past month, I welcomed the first official visitor to my office since lockdown, Thomas Opperman MP, from the Bundestag in Germany.
We discussed what I had seen including the Festival of Lights, an annual celebration when the historic buildings are lit with vivid colours.
Thousands thronged the streets of Berlin to witness this event and I marvelled at the Bundestag building with its British designed glass dome by Sir Norman Foster. We spoke of what steps Germany and Britain should make to ensure close cooperation, post the end of the Brexit transition period.
I liked the fact that Thomas was accepting of the past, understanding its impact and using another historic event, Brexit, working out what is needed to keep both countries close. Let’s understand the horrors of our past, learn from it and build alliances that strengthen the bonds of love not division.
Thank-you Thomas. You and your fellow citizens will always find the British hand of friendship extended to you as we all face this uncertain future.