John Whittingdale opened a new Farmers Market to be held at Danbury Sports and Social Centre on the first Saturday of every month between 9.00am and 1.00pm. The market included stalls from many local producers including Althorne beef, lamb from Gate Farm, Steeple, pork from Wicks Manor Farm and goats's milk and cheese from Mundon Hall.

John is pictured with Adrian Owers, the General Manager of Danbury Community Association, which runs the Centre.

John Whittingdale has recently become Patron of Home Start Maldon, a charity offering support to young families.

Active throughout the Maldon District, Home Start's volunteers provide free support, friendship and practical help to families with at least one child under five. Families are visited regularly in their own homes by volunteers who have ass had experience of parenting, and knoww how hard it can be. Home Start has recently been successful in obtaining major funding from the Ntional Lottery to enable it to extend its work in the District. Pictured here, John Whittingdale recently met the Chairman and some of the staff at their office in St Cedd's House.

John Whittingdale received a petition of over 400 signatures from Mrs Jacqueline Yaxley, proprietor of Jabberwocky in Maldon High Street. The petition called on the Royal Mail to retain the existing collecting box in the High Street , which was closed when the Post Office was relocated to the rear of Budgens. John Whittingdlae has sent the petition to the Chief Executive of Royal Mail urging him to reopen the Collecting Box and has received a response saying that the Royal Mail are carrying out a feasibility study to see if a Postbox can be placed in the High Street outside Budgens. John Whittingdale said;

"I welcome the fact that Royal Mail are looking again at the possibility of keeping a Collecting Box in the High Street. This is undoubtedly preferable to the existing position of a box at the rear of Budgens where it is only accessible when the store is open. However, I do not see why it is necessary to move it from one side of the street to the other. I will also be seeking assurances that the existing Post Box will be either retained or replaced with one of similar design which is keeping with the historic nature of our High Street."

UPDATE

Since receipt of the petition, the Post Box in the High Street has been reopened and is now functioning again. John Whittingdale said: "I am delighted that the Post Office has listened to the views of local residents and that common sense has prevailed."