I began the week on a high note with a visit to a training session of Burnley’s Elite Swimming Club, Bob Cats. Bob Cats, established over thirty years ago has a reputation for excellence. The standards are high and several of the squad members have already distinguished themselves in County and National tournaments. I was very impressed by the hard work and commitment of the swimmers who regularly start their day at 5 am with a two hour training session then do a full day at school or college, followed by homework and an evening training session. It was really clear that Burnley won’t have long to wait before one of our own is representing Britain in the Olympics. I look forward to the time and I will be supporting them all the way.
On a less cheerful note: the fight to save our services goes on. I met on site with a senior post office resident to protest at the proposal to close the post office at Pike Hill and to present him with a petition with over 600 signatures. This post office serves the communities of Pike Hill, Cliviger, Worsthorne and Hurstwood, and is for many a lifeline. These communities have already lost two post offices and the loss of the office at Pike Hill would cause real hardship for many, particularly the elderly. I am vehemently opposed to this plan and will fight it all the way.
I am also very concerned to ensure that the impact of Government funding cuts for local bus services is kept to a minimum. Old people, school children and many workers rely on the buses and we must do everything possible retain the services. I have met with representatives from County Council and also with the bus companies and they, contrary to many of the rumours that are circulating, are working together to try to find a way of retaining, as full a range of bus services as possible.
On Saturday I held a surgery in the Methodist Church at Hapton. It turned out to be really busy and I was pleased to help residents with a range of issues. I consistently vary the venues of my surgeries for the convenience of residents. In between surgeries my constituency staff at 8 Keirby Walk, Burnley are available to help Monday to Friday.
On Sunday I attended the annual Holocaust Memorial service held at the Peace Garden in Burnley. This service gives the opportunity for the Mayor, Burnley councillors and residents of the Borough to come together in respectful remembrance of those who lost their lives at the hands of the Nazis and also victims of genocide across the world. Representatives of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths all participated in what was a very moving service. The theme this year focused on the message that failing to speak out or take action in the face of evil is unacceptable. We should not stand by. This is an important principle that we can all apply to our lives and it is as relevant today as it always has been.