John Whittingdale attended the annual Bikes & Barges Rally on Hythe Quay, Maldon. The event was once again held in aid of SWANS (Sometimes We All Need Support). John had the job of judging the best motorcycle and chose a Sporty Chopper made by Lee Newitt of Maldon. John is shown on a New York Fire Department Harley Davidson Road King with Andy Harris of AHCC and Julia Wingfield of SWANS

John Whittingdale attended a reception organised by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in the House of Commons to hear more about the work of the Foundation in raising awareness of Type 1 Diabetes and in trying to find a cure.

At the reception, John met his constituents, Mrs Louise Stringer and her son, Jack, who live in Burnham on Crouch. Jack was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes three years ago and requires frequent insulin injections each day. Jack has now been fitted with an insulin pump which he demonstrated to John and discussed how it affected his lifestyle and schooling.

John Whittingdale presented a certificate to Jhual Ahmad, proprietor of the Maldon Tandoori in Maldon High Street to mark their Highly Commended Award in the 2012 Tiffin Cup. The Tiffin Cup is an annual British competition run by the Tiffin Club to find the best South Asian restaurant in the United Kingdom. One restaurant from every region is then shortlisted and invited to participate in the Grand Final cook-off event held in the House of Commons as judged by MPs and guest celebrities, with the proceeds going to a selected charity.

John is pictured with Jhual and his brother, who is wearing the Chef’s hat and jacket which was given to award winners. John said: “As a regular customer, I am delighted that the Maldon Tandoori has won an award in the Tiffin Cup competition. It is a great family business and deservedly popular, not just in Maldon but for a long way around. I was also fascinated to see behind the scenes and watch how a real Naan is made”

SmithJohn Whittingdale visited Smith’s Environmental Systems Ltd based in Blackall Industrial estate, South Woodham Ferrers. John is pictured with Phil Cross, Works Director, and Gary Webster, Managing Director.

Smith’s has specialised in the manufacture of fan convectors for the domestic and light commercial markets for more than 20 years. The company has recently moved into the sustainable sector with the development of heat pumps and PV Thermal systems, which can be installed on residential and commercial premises to generate electricity for domestic heating and hot water.

Mr Whittingdale met with Smith’s founder and managing director Gary Webster and toured the facility, meeting shop floor staff, office staff and visiting the company’s product test, demonstration and Research & Development areas.

“I am always delighted to discover a local business which is designing and developing world-beating products,” said Mr Whittingdale. “Smith’s are in the forefront of the manufacture of green energy heating products at a time when it is becoming ever more important that we increase our energy efficiency by adopting low carbon technologies. And with the commitment to developing a low carbon economy in the UK, I’m quite sure that Smith’s are moving into the green heating and sustainable sector at exactly the right time.”

“We are very proud to be a local, British manufacturer,” explains Gary Webster. “We are a family company and we are all very proud of what we do and how we do it. It’s important to us to make sure that important people like Mr Whittingdale are aware of the great work our staff are doing.”

Further information about Smith’s products is available from

A shop has opened in Mayland to support the Remus Horse Sanctuary in Ingatestone, which cares for more than 200 animals, including horses, ponies and donkeys, as well as cows, sheep and cats.

At the opening of the Imperial Avenue shop on Saturday, Emma Greenfield brought along her horse Maestro, adorned in feathers, to impress passers-by and Maldon MP John Whittingdale was there to cut the ribbon. The shop is open from Monday to Saturday and sells all of the usual donated items such as clothing, books and toys, but also has a special horse riding section with old bridles, jodhpurs and hats.  Maestro got a little spooked by the ribbon cutting and uncged forward to investigate!