John Whittingdale attended the Burnham on Crouch RNLI Open day at Burnham Lifeboat station.

The day provided opportunities for visitors to learn more about the work of the lifeboat station and included a mock rescue from a life raft in the marina. John said: “it was a thoroughly enjoyable event on a beautiful day. However, it also reminded us of what we owe to the lifeboat crews who risk their lives in all weathers to save those in trouble at sea”

John is pictured with Graham Richardson, Area Life Saving Manager, RNLI< and David Nicholls, Lifeboat Operations Manager, Burnham on Crouch RNLI.

John Whittingdale opened the new wine shop and tea room attached to Clayhill Vineyard on Lower Burnham Road. The business is owned by Dale and Vicky Symons who first planted the vines in 2006. It now produces approx 50 tonnes of grapes per annum and more than 4,000 bottles of wine have so far been produced.

The new building is a converted barn with a new cellar to allow expanded production. It benefited from a grant of £38,000 from the Essex Rivers LEADER programme funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and which is managed by the Rural Community Council of Essex. The £95,000 project will ultimately create an additional 2.2 full time jobs and will create a tourist destination in an area which is becoming a centre of wine-making.

John Whittingdale attended the  annual Armed Forces Day celebration at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome. The event included a short religious service and flag-raising ceremony as well as a march past by local cadet forces.

John Whittingdale said: “Armed Forces Day provides an opportunity for us to pay tribute to the fantastic job which the armed services do on our behalf. It is particularly fitting that this even took place at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome where young men sacrificed their own lives defending our freedom one hundred years ago”.

John is pictured with the Colchester Garrison Sergeant Major,  Commander of the Colchester Garrison, Lieutenant Colonel Ciaran Griffin, Dave Monk of BBC Essex, and Cllr Mark Durham, Leader of Maldon District Council.

John Whittingdale welcomed TV Historian, Dan Snow, to Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome before Dan spoke at a fund-raising dinner at Hylands House in aid of the Charitable Trust that runs the Aerodrome, of which John is Patron. John is pictured with Dan Snow, Chairman of the Trust Peter Martin, and Chief Executive, Ian Flint

John Whittingdale welcomed a group of international travel buyers from the United States and Ireland to Maldon.

Having previously visited the RHS Gardens at Hyde Hall, the group were given a presentation by Topsail Charters on board the Thames Barge Kitty on the Hythe Quay.

John said: “Tourism is an increasingly important industry in the Maldon District but it is not yet established on the itinerary of international visitors to the UK. I am delighted that Visit Britain has chosen to bring these representatives of international tour operators to Maldon so that they can see all that we have to offer”.

The group of buyers were visiting the East of England as part of VisitBritain’s flagship travel trade event ExploreGB. Now in its third year ‘ExploreGB’ took place in Brighton. More than 400 international buyers from 40 countries gathered to do business with 430 travel industry suppliers from across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Buyers from Britain’s largest and most valuable inbound visitor markets including the USA, Germany, France, Canada and Australia attended. Important growth markets including China, the world’s most valuable outbound market, India, Italy and the Gulf countries were also represented.