John Whittingdale visited the Bradwell site to see progress in decommissioning the old power station. John was accompanied by Vicky Ford MEP and met Scott Raish, Site Director. (pictured).

The site is following an accelerated decommissioning programme and is now in the Care and Maintenance phase. John went on the roof of one of the old reactors now being clad in aluminium and also saw the Fuel Element Debris treatment plant and the Intermediate Level waste store. John said “remarkable progress has been made since I last visited Bradwell in March with both reactors now almost fully clad. Bradwell is the first commercial reactor to be decommissioned in the UK and the techniques being developed here will be used across the industry. I congratulate all involved on the fantastic job that they are doing”

Following their visit, John and Vicky went with EDF to see the possible site of the new Bradwell B nuclear power station which may be built next to the old power station by the China General Nuclear Corporation.

John Whittingdale visited Elmwood School in South Woodham Ferrers to talk to pupils about his work both as the local Member of Parliament and as a member of the Government. His visit coincided with a themed week at the school on British Values.

 

John Whittingdale visited Downham Primary School to talk to pupils about his work as a member of Parliament and a member of the Cabinet. John spoke at the morning assembly and then presented badges and certificates to the newly elected members of the School Council.

The School said:

All week, the students of Downham had been learning about democracy, writing manifestos and debates which culminated in an exciting election where children voted in a secret ballot for their class reps for the new academic year. The children were extremely excited and felt privileged to have such a prominent figure in Britain’s Government to join them and share his wealth of expertise.

Kayleigh Talbot (PSHE co-ordinator) said “Mr Whittingdale has always been a strong supporter of pupil voice and really brought the idea of one person making a difference come to life for the children. The new council cannot wait to get started in their role and make changes for the school and Ramsden community.”

The new council will assemble in November to raise money for the school’s chosen charity ‘Teddies for Tragedies.’

John Whittingdale raised a pennant on board Sailing Barge Thistle at Hythe Quay, Maldon, to mark her receipt of Eastern Regional Flagship status from National Historic Ships UK.

Thistle is celebrating her 120th Birthday having been built in 1895 by William Hamilton & Co of Port Glasgow, and is the only Thames Sailing Barge to have been built in Scotland. She is one of a fleet of four Thames sailing barges operated by Top Sail Charters of Maldon.

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John Whittingdale attended the Danbury Pre-School 50th Anniversary Village Fayre on Dawson's Playing Fields at Danbury Sports Club.

John is pictured with organiser, Sarah Clarkson-Reid and Manager, Charlotte Jones.

John Whittingdale joined hundreds of people including many Forces Veterans who gathered in the sunshine at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome on Saturday to pay tribute to the nation's Armed Forces at Maldon District Council's Armed Forces Day.

In support of the event many vintage and modern aircraft flew in, including a rare 1930s Aeronca all the way from Whitby, a pair of Hornet Moths, a Tiger Moth, and members of The Tiger Club Turbulent Display team. Throughout the day there were guided tours of the aerodrome, and the Maldon Cadets kept the crowds entertained with demonstrations and drills, and a Missile Run Competition between the Sea, Army and Air Cadets was won by the Maldon Sea Cadets who retained their trophy for the second year. Displays of vintage vehicles added to the atmosphere, and the younger visitors were thrilled to ride in model aircraft and try out a computer flight simulator. The Turbulent Display team provided entertainment in the air with their exuberant flying practice. The Tiger Club flew a missing man formation over the airfield and the crowd fell silent.

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More than 2.5 million homes and businesses can now benefit from superfast broadband as a result of the Government’s nationwide rollout.

Latest official statistics show that as of 31 March 2015 an additional 2,411,395 properties are now able to access superfast speeds thanks to the Government’s £1.7bn investment programme.

This means that with the project now reaching an additional 40,000 homes and businesses every week, the 2.5 million mark has been well and truly passed, and is fast approaching the three million premises milestone.

Mr Whittingdale (pictured) met the Superfast Essex team as the rollout in the county reached its halfway point of 32,500 homes and businesses that can now get superfast broadband. The programme is expected to have enabled 65,000 premises by the end of its first phase in summer 2016. Culture secretary Mr Whittingdale, whose portfolio covers the rollout of superfast broadband, joined Essex County Council and BT representatives in Maldon, Essex, on Friday where he heard about the Superfast Essex programme and met officers leading the work. He was also shown one of the 157 fibre broadband cabinets installed by the programme since deployment began in April 2014.

“I am delighted at the tremendous progress Superfast Essex has made with their rollout of superfast broadband,” he said. “Access to superfast speeds has never been more important, in both our home and working lives. The government’s rollout of superfast broadband will make sure that rural homes and businesses are not left behind and that the UK is properly equipped to meet the challenges of the digital age.”

The Essex programme’s milestone comes as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced that more than 2.5m homes and businesses in the country can now access superfast broadband thanks to the government’s £1.7bn investment programme.

Access to superfast speeds has never been more important, in both our home and working lives. The Government’s rollout of superfast broadband will make sure that rural homes and businesses are not left behind and that the UK is properly equipped to meet the challenges of the digital age.

Superfast broadband is currently available to more than 80 per cent of homes and businesses in the UK – up from zero in 2009, and the Government funded rollout is on track to ensure 95 per cent of the UK has access to superfast broadband by the end of 2017.

The roll out of fibre broadband in rural areas is getting stronger with every month that passes. Homes and businesses are benefiting across the UK as our engineers work tirelessly to connect them to superfast broadband. This is a critical project that will make a real difference to peoples’ lives and help rural economies thrive across the UK.

Focus is now firmly placed on the hardest to reach areas that make up the “final five per cent” of the UK not covered by existing plans. The Government has already begun work on extending superfast coverage to these communities. A series of pilot projects exploring how alternative technologies could be used to tackle these difficult areas is currently underway and Government will publish the findings from the trials later this year.

 

The new Dengie Enterprise Support service was officially launched on Friday 27 March, with John Whittingdale among those showing their support for the initiative.

Made possible with funding from the Magnox Socio-economic Scheme through the Bradwell Legacy Partnership, Dengie Enterprise Support will bring fully funded business support and training to new and existing businesses on the Dengie Peninsula. The initiative is administered by Maldon District Council and will be delivered by business advisors and trainers from The Colchester Business Enterprise Agency (Colbea).

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John Whittingdale attended the coffee and cake morning organised by D-Caf: the Dengie Dementia Cafe and Activity Group in the Town Council offices, Burnham on Crouch. The morning was organised to support the work of Admiral Nurses who are specialist dementia nurses.

John is pictured with Mayor of Burnham, Cllr Ron Pratt, Cllr Mrs Babs Owners, organiser Yvonne McDermott and other volunteers.

John Whittingdale joined pupils taking part in a Football Association Skills session at Purleigh Primary School. John saw year one students practice their football skills under the expert guidance of FA Skills coach, Lauren Phillips. FA Skills, which sees FA coaches running football sessions for 5 to 11 year olds, has been running since 2007 and in that time has delivered more than six million skills places to children across England. The scheme is funded by the FA and Sport England and employs 158 full-time coaches, including six in Essex. The programme is free to primary schools and has been delivered in more than 7,500 schools, supporting more than21,500 teachers.

John said: “The children had a fantastic time They clearly enjoyed the session but at the same time were learning new skills, building their self-confidence and developing team working. Lauren not only did a brilliant job encouraging the children, she also worked with their teacher so that she will be able to carry on the work in the future. I warmly congratulate the FA on the programme and am delighted that Purleigh Primary School has signed up to it”.

John Whittingdale MP, formally marked the commencement of construction at McCarthy & Stone’s forthcoming Retirement Living development on Whitehorse Lane, Maldon. Mr Whittingdale joined the site manager, Andy Chinery, in an official ground breaking ceremony to commemorate the first steps in the construction of the development, which will be designed specifically to help those aged over 60 make the most of later life.

Mr Whittingdale commented: “I was delighted to be able to help break the ground for this new McCarthy & Stone development. There is a real need for more retirement housing of this kind which allows older people to continue to live independently but also have to have security and companionship. With an increasingly older population living longer, with growing care needs, it is great to see a development like this close to the centre of the town and I have no doubt that it will prove very popular.”

Andy Chinery added: “We feel extremely honoured to have been able to welcome Mr Whittingdale to our Maldon site, and were delighted by his positive response to our approach to delivering lifestyles tailored to meet the needs of the over 60s.”

Offering the independence of retaining home ownership while living in an environment specifically designed for those reaching their later years, McCarthy & Stone’s Retirement Living developments make a popular choice for downsizers who want more time in which to embrace the possibilities of later life.

The development is a short walk from an array of shops and services and benefits from good bus routes to such towns as Colchester and Clacton. The development is a stone’s throw from popular Longfield Park and Recreation Ground where you can enjoy a picturesque walk in the peace and quiet of countryside scenery.

Facilities at the development will include a homeowners lounge for socialising, as well as a dedicated House Manager, which will ensure the smooth running of the development, and there is also a security entrance system plus 24-hour emergency call points that provide peace of mind for both homeowners and their families. All properties will be low maintenance and energy efficient. Construction is now underway with apartments available to purchase off-plan in mid 2015.

 

For more information about this, and other McCarthy & Stone developments in the region, call 0800 201 4739, or log on to www.mccarthyandstone.co.uk.

 

Next year, in 2015, Parliament will be celebrating two historic anniversaries that mark the beginning of democracy in the UK; the 800th year since the signing of the Magna Carta and the 750th anniversary of the de Montfort Parliament. To mark the de Montfort anniversary, where elected representatives from around the country came together for the first time, the 2015 Flag Project has invited each Member of Parliament to nominate a school in their constituency to design a flag to represent where they live. The project will culminate in a large scale celebratory event in March 2015 when it is hoped that 150 of the flags (representing each county in the UK) will fly in Parliament Square (pending permission from DCMS) and the surrounding area. The remaining 500 flags will be featured on a digital platform.

John Whittingdale said: “ I have always been impressed by the importance that Maldon Primary School attaches to its School Council and have been delighted regularly to attend an assembly in recent years to present the School Council badges to those who have been elected. The experience of electing representatives to a School Council provides an excellent introduction for pupils to the democratic process and to how elected representatives can influence decisions. I was very pleased to be able to nominate them and wish them every success in the Competition”.

John Whittingdale visited Desch Plantpak, the market leading manufacturer in the UK of packaging and growing systems for the horticulture market, which is based in Burnham Road in Mundon. Founded by Michael Hindmarch in 1968, the firm has since been acquired by Dutch owners and this year celebrates its 50th anniversary.

John toured the plant and cut the ribbon to unveil the new facilities. These include a high speed thermoforming line and four fully robotised injection moulding centres to produce flowerpots, capable of being run on a “lights out” basis. This represents an investment of over £2 million in the business securing its future.

John said “I warmly congratulate Desch Plantpak in Mundon on its 50th anniversary and am delighted to formally open its new manufacturing facility. This consists of state of the art technology which will ensure that the company remains the market leader. It is great news for all the staff at Mundon and is another example of a world-beating company based in Maldon.”

John is pictured with Chris Clarke, Managing Director, and Jim Binch of Lincoln Management Inc, planting a tree to mark the 50th anniversary and cutting the ribbon to open the new facilities.

John Whittingdale cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the new-look Burnham on Crouch Post Office, which has been fully refurbished with Post Office services now available from four modern counters. The Post Office at 22 Station Road, Burnham, now has three main counters - two open plan and one screened, open Monday to Saturday 9am – 5.30pm. There is also a combi-counter, where customers can access selected Post Office products and services alongside retail transactions. This is open Monday and Thursday: 9am to 8pm; Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: 9am – 6pm; Saturday: 9am – 5:30pm. There is improved layout of the store which makes it easier for customers with disabilities and people with pushchairs to get around the pharmacy and Post Office. Opening hours have also been extended - 11 hours a week more than previously offered, including Saturday afternoon and later closing every day.

Ani Patel, who has been a postmaster for more than five years, said: “The branch is now better laid out and more spacious for customers to have more room to get around the whole store. It is

a lot more customer friendly. It is modern and clean and easier to have conversations with the open plan counters. The consultation room allows private conversations – just like a bank.”


Gary Herbert, Post Office Senior Stakeholder Manager, said: “We understand how important having a Post Office is to residents in Burnham on Crouch. I am confident this new modern Post Office will meet the needs of the local community and secure services for the future. This modernisation is part of a major investment programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office. It marks a commitment to no more branch closure programmes.”

Under the current Parliament the Government has committed £1.34bn for the Post Office network to make sure there is no programme of Post Office closures and to update branches; in November the Government announced a further £640m investment in the Post Office network, from 2015 to 2018. Nationwide the investment programme will see up to 8,000 branches modernised with additional investment in over 3,000 community and outreach branches.


John is pictured with Ani Patel, Postmaster, and with customers and staff.

John Whittingdale visited Burnham on Crouch Primary School to help relaunch the school with its brand new identity. The School has a new logo and uniform and John also performed the official opening ceremony of the School's new reception area.

John Whittingdale presented Badges to the elected members of the School Council at Maldon Primary School in Wantz Chase. John attends each year to meet the new School Councillors and also to talk to the assembly about his work as MP for Maldon.

John is pictured with the School Council Members.

John Whittingdale visited the Essex Air Ambulance Airbase in Earls Colne. The Essex Air Ambulance is a charity which provides a free life-saving Helicopter Emergency Medical Service across the county. It costs in the region of £440,000 per month to run and relies entirely on fund-raising, voluntary subscription and donation. John discussed the work of the Service with Chief Executive, Jane Gurney, and Clinical Manager, Laurie Phillipson, and was given a tour of the airbase. John said: “The Essex Air Ambulance provides an invaluable service and each year saves many lives. It is particularly important in the more remote rural areas of the County, like the Dengie Peninsula, where ambulance response times can be poor and it can then take 40 minutes or more for an ambulance to get a patient to hospital. “

Jane Gurney (CEO) and Laurie Phillipson (Clinical Manager).

John Whittingdale officiated at a train-naming ceremony at Wickford station to mark the 125th anniversary of the Crouch Valley Line.

The train naming ceremony completed a series of events put together by Abellio Greater Anglia and the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership to celebrate the anniversary. Originally called the ‘Dengie Hundred’ section of Essex Railways; The Crouch Valley Line, as it has become known, was opened to passengers in July 1889 by the Great Eastern Railway Company. This 16.5 mile stretch of railway is now operated by Abellio Greater Anglia who run 334 services a week with approximately 1.6 million passenger journeys a year made through the seven stations along the route.

John Whittingdale MP unveiled the newly named Class 321 train ‘Crouch Valley 1889 – 2014’ to honour the occasion and an additional commemorative plaque was presented to John Jolly to be exhibited at the Mangapps railway museum in Burnham on Crouch.

John Whittingdale MP said, “I am delighted to be able to take part in this naming ceremony of the new “Crouch Valley 1889-2014” train, which is the culmination of the events to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Crouch Valley line. Having already attended events at both South Woodham Ferrers and Burnham on Crouch stations marking the anniversary, I am very conscious of the importance of the line to my constituents. I very much welcome the commitment shown by Abellio Greater Anglia to the future of the service which I know will be of great reassurance to passengers and to local residents.”

John Whittingdale is pictured unveiling the new train with Jonathan Denby, Head of Corporate Affairs for Greater Anglia and later with Una Norman, Cllr Bob Boyce, Ursula Benjafield, County Councillor Ray Howard and Jonathan Denby.

John Whittingdale cut the ribbon to open the new facilities at Stock Post Office at 36 High Street, Stock. As part of the Post Office programme to modernise the network and extend opening hours for customers, the new Stock Post Office offers services from an open-plan counter instead of a full screened counter. The branch will now open significantly earlier and close later with no lunchtime closing. This offers customers an extra 30 hours Post Office Service each week. John joined Lesley Pervez who has been Subpostmistress at Stock Post Office for 20 years as well as local resident Steve Davis who took a break from snooker to show his support for his local post office.

John Whittingdale MP said: "I am delighted to be able to open the new Stock Post Office and congratulate Lesley Pervez on all her hard work. I am very conscious of the vital role that Post Offices play in many village communities and it is very good news that Stock will now have a new modern branch. In particular, I am sure that local residents in Stock will welcome the longer opening hours and the more customer friendly design which will ensure that the Post Office continues to play a central part in the life of the village”

John Whittingdale attended a celebratory tea at Knightswood Centre to thank all those volunteers who support the Dengie Project Trust. The Dengie Project Trust provides a range of services to empower older people to make choices, enabling them to reach optimum levels of health and fitness and to lead rich, safe and fulfilling lives. The Trust seeks to assist and enable people, who live to the South of Maldon Town and in the surrounding villages and hamlets on the Dengie Peninsular.

John presented certificates to all the volunteers in recognition of their support. The event was held as part of Volunteers Week.


John is pictured with Sharon Dodson, Trust Manager.

John Whittingdale attended the Armed Forces Day ceremony organised by Maldon District Council at Stow Maries Aerodrome. At 1.00pm, a flag raising ceremony took place and a short service. The Tiger Club Turbulent Display Team then flew a Missing Man formation in tribute to the Stow airmen who lost their lives.

Following the ceremony, John visited the exhibitions including the aircraft that had flown in for the day. These included two reproduction BE2es operated by the World War 1 Aviation Heritage Trust which had been brought over from New Zealand. They are intended to return to Stow Maries once the hangars are completed. One of the two aircraft is in RFC 37 Squadron’s colours. 37 Squadron was based at Stow Maries from 1916 to 1919.

John is pictured by the War Memorial at the Aerodrome and also standing by one of the BE2e airplanes with Dick Forsythe of the World War 1 Aviation Heritage Trust, his daughter and the pilot.

John Whittingdale met Chief Inspector Alan Cook, District Commander for Maldon and Chelmsford to discuss local policing issues. Chief Inspector who was previously staff officer to the Chief Constable of Essex has recently taken up post and is responsible for policing throughout the Maldon District and Chelmsford City areas. John discussed with him the forthcoming changes to Policing in the county which will restore local commands as well as issues of concern to residents such as anti-social behaviour and rural crime.


John Whittingdale attended an event in Parliament organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Air Ambulances. At the meeting, John met representatives of the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust.

John said: “The Air Ambulance provides a vital service in Essex, particularly in rural areas like the Dengie Peninsula from where it can take 40 minutes to reach Broomfield Hospital by road. It does so I am delighted that in his Budget this year, the Chancellor showed his support for air ambulances by rebating the VAT which they pay on aviation fuel. However, the charity depends on voluntary donation to keep going and I would like to pay tribute to all those who give it such generous support. I am looking forward to visiting the air ambulance at their Headquarters in Earls Colne soon”.

John is pictured with:
• Paul Leaman (Assistant Chief Executive of East of England Ambulance Service Trust) 
• Jane Gurney (Chief Executive Officer of the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust) 
• Brian Shipley (Chair of the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust)

John Whittingdale MP attended the National Continence Care Awards 2014 presentation in the House of Commons in order to congratulate Jane Miranda, Clinical Nurse Specialist at Provide, St Peter’s Hospital, Maldon, who was highly commended in the category of Clinical Leadership. The awards are designed to recognise and celebrate ambition, excellence and leadership in continence care across the country. They are chosen by LUTS – the expert group on lower urinary tract symptoms.


John is pictured with Sue Monk, a nurse on the team (centre), and Jane Miranda, team leader. John said: “Jane and her team do a fantastic job in providing advice and support to those suffering from continence problems across Mid Essex. I am delighted that Jane has received national recognition for her leadership and I warmly congratulate her and her team on this award”.

John Whittingdale attended the Burnham Rugby Club Funday. John is pictured with the Burnham Ladies Rugby team before their match against South Woodham Ferrers.

Reporting on the match, Becky (Specks) Diss wrote:

What a morning/afternoon of rugby. The ladies managed to get a tournament going for the Annual Fun Day, with one Burnham squad, one Woodham Squad (plus a few extras!), and two Chelmsford Squads we were set for a great couple of hours of rugby. John Whittingdale kicked off the proceedings during the afternoon which brought much merriment to the whole day.

The first match was Woodham v Burnham, always a very fun match with great team spirit. Burnham were fortunate enough to be awarded a penalty and this was taken quickly which meant a try was scored (Diss). The match then continuted in a fast and furious way with Woodham popping a try over! All matches were fast and furious with some great crash balls from Michelle Puxley, to mention a few.There were some incredible runs and changes of lines from Hannah G, Portia Hutchings and Michelle Clark. All teams were relentless in defence, constantly putting the pressure on, especially Claire Miller and Barbara Hvidt and Jenny Nelson. The matches continued in a similar vein with continued strong running from several players, in particular Michelle Clark, who set up a few tries for Dave Kelly who was always there in support.  Burnham played in the third and fourth place play off and did fantastically well, never giving up and with the incredible support of Jakey on the side line really lifted their game.

John Whittingdale officially opened the newly refurbished Cherry Trees Therapy Centre at St Peters Hospital, Maldon.

A plaque was unveiled and a ribbon cut by John to mark the event.

Cherry Trees Therapy Centre, which is managed by North Essex Partnership, has been refurbished and extended – it now has extra space to accommodate services that were previously provided from two separate buildings. It has a new reception with a skylight for improved natural light.

A wide range of services for adults and older adults including community mental health, recovery/reablement and occupational therapy are provided from the centre.

Andrew Geldard, Chief Executive said: “We have invested into transforming this centre into a fantastic place for our service users. Over 95% of our patients are treated in the community and we have brought Cherry Trees into the 21st century with modern design and facilities that is good for our service users.”

John is pictured with Chris Paveley, Chairman and Andrew Geldard, Chief Executive.

John Whittingdale presented a certificate to Thomas Gaynham, a pupil at the Priory Primary School, Bicknacre, to mark his success in the Royal Mail Design a Christmas Stamp Competition. The competition received entries from children aged 4-11 years-old from across the UK in response to the question, ‘What does the Christmas season mean to you? Thomas aged 5, was one of 24 national runners up in the competition which attracted 240,000 entries. As a result of his success, Thomas won £500 as did the Priory School.

John is pictured with Thomas and Ms Rachael Plunkett, Headteacher

John Whittingdale was delighted to present Jhual Ahmed the certificate marking the Maldon Tandoori being Highly Commended in this year’s Tiffin Cup competition. The Tiffin Cup is an annual British competition run by the Tiffin Club to find the best South Asian restaurant in the United Kingdom. Nominees are selected by their constituency and then put forward by their local MP. This is the second year running that the Maldon Tandoori has been highly commended. The Maldon Tandoori has also won both the Essex Tourism and Hospitality Award for best ethnic restaurant 2013 as well as a TripAdvisor Certificate for Excellence 2013 to add to its 2012 awards.

John Whittingdale said: “I warmly congratulate Jhual Ahmed and all at the Maldon Tandoori on being highly commended in the Tiffin Cup competition once again. As a regular customer, I can vouch for the high quality of the cuisine at the restaurant and this recognition is thoroughly deserved.”

John Whittingdale is pictured at the House of Commons with Jhual Ahmed and with Ian Jones, Chairman of the Maldon Conservative Association.

John Whittingdale opened a new affordable housing development at Everest Way, Heybridge. The development by Colne Housing consists of 30 properties built on 1.5 acres of farmland at at the end of Everest Way. Colne currently owns 187 units within the Everest Way estate. The project was supported by £70,000 capital grant from the Homes and Communities fund. In addition to this, Colne provided £2.5 million to deliver the 30 new homes. The properties are a mixture of one and two bedroom flats and two and three bedroom houses.

John Whittingdale said:

“I am very much aware of the severe shortage of social housing in the Maldon District which is trapping many families in inadequate accommodation. I am delighted to be able to open this impressive housing development which will help meet that demand. I congratulate Colne Housing and Maldon District Council on this project and hope that all those fortunate enough to be housed there will be very happy in their new homes”

John is pictured with Mark Powell Davies, Chief Executive of Colne, Cllr David Williams, Chairman of Maldon District Council, and Cllr Tim Young, Chairman of Colne.

John Whittingdale attended the Morning Assembly at All Saints School, Maldon, in order to present them with the Platinum Sing Up Award.

Sing Up aims to put Singing at the heart of every Primary School and is a resource for schools that encourages excellent singing to support all areas of the curriculum. Singing improves learning, confidence, health and social development. It has the power to change lives and help to build stronger communities. Sing Up's mission is to ensure this happens by providing schools with excellent musical resources and workforce development opportunities, supported by a network of expert music education providers.

All Saints Primary School in Maldon is the first Essex school to be given a platinum award from Sing Up. John is photographed with pupils form All Saints School and former pupil, Charlotte Hume, who also sang one of her own songs at the presentation assembly.

John Whittingdale attended the RNLI Open Day in Burnham on Crouch. Celebrating nearly 40 years as a lifeboat station, Burnham-on-Crouch is one of only three lifeboat stations that has their inshore lifeboats kept in floating boathouses. The station has two boats – one being an Atlantic 75 B733, the ‘Brandy Hole’. This boat arrived on station in February 1997 and was officially taken into service on the 7th June 1997. It also has an IB1, the ‘Ernest & Rose Chapman II’. This is the second boat to be donated by David & Barbara Chapman in memory of David’s parents. This boat arrived on station in February 2007 and was officially taken into service on the 9th June 2007.

John Whittingdale attended the Armed Forces Day ceremony organised by Maldon District Council at Longfields, Maldon. At the event, there was a display of military vehicles as well as a fly past of three vintage aircraft organised by Stow Maries Aerodrome. At 12.00pm, the flag was raised accompanied by a piper with the sea cadets parading. All proceeds went to "Help the Heroes".

John is pictured first with Lance Corporal Shaun Morgan, 103 Bn REME and Sgt Jack Scott, Essex Army Cadet Force and then with Cllr Tony Shrimpton, Cllr Bob Boyce (Leader of Maldon District Council) and Flt Lt Richie Miller (Essex Air Cadets).

John Whittingdale attended the Lawn Tennis Association Mini-Tennis session for children from two local schools, Wentworth Primary School in Maldon and Heathcote School, Danbury.

The event was held at Danbury Tennis Club in Mayes Lane, Danbury, which is one of only 100 clubs to have been chosen as Mini Tennis Ambassador Clubs. The intention over the course of the week from 10th to 16th June is to make tennis accessible with a target of 15,000 new young players aged between three and ten years old accessing tennis for the first time.

 John is pictured with children from Wentworth School as well as Head Coach, Matt Ford, and other coaches.

John Whittingdale MP joined Sajid Javid MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, to celebrate the first cut in beer duty for half a century. John Whittingdale had last year met members of Maldon and Dengie CAMRA at Westminster and joined them in calling for an end to the beer duty escalator. In his Budget, not only did the Chancellor announce the scrapping of the escalator, he also cut the duty on a pint by 1p.

John and Sajid are shown on the Terrace of the House of Commons enjoying a pint of "Sajid's Choice" brewed by Birds Brewery of Bromsgrove.

John Whittingdale attended the Burnham Rugby Club Fun Day on Millfields, Burnham on Crouch. John is pictured with the teams at the conclusion of the Veterans Match. 

John Whittingdale attended the fly-in at Stow Maries Aerodrome, the last surviving First World War airfield in the country. Stow Maries Aerodrome is a Great War Aerodrome set in the rural Essex countryside.

The Aerodrome was in use from 1916 to 1919 as a home defence station in the war against Zeppelin and German aeroplane raids. It has many of its original buildings in situ which are currently undergoing restoration to bring the site back to its 1918 appearance. It also boasts a wildlife walk which was the winner of Maldon District Council Conservation and Design Award 2010.

Following a period of organisation and training at Stow Maries the first recorded operational flight took place from the aerodrome on the night of 23rd/24th May 1917 when Ridley (now promoted to Captain) and Lieutenant G Keddie were ordered aloft in response to a large Zeppelin raid targeting London. They scored no success on that occasion but as time went on the amount of operational flights grew as did the aircraft establishment of the station.

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John Whittingdale attended the 11th Maldon Beer Festival in the Town Hall, Maldon. John Whittingdale joined with members of the Maldon and Dengie Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale to celebrate the announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget of a 1p cut in Beer Duty and the end of the Beer Duty escalator. Since the policy of raising Beer Duty by 2% above inflation was introduced by the Labour Government over 5,800 pubs have closed and the number of pub-goers has fallen by 3 million. John previously met CAMRAS members at Westminster who were lobbying for an end to the escalator and signed the Early Day Motion calling for it to be reviewed.

John is pictured enjoying a half of Red Herring from Green Jack in Lowestoft with Chris Harvey, CAMRA Pub Liaison Officer, and Jim Morton of the Queens Head, Burnham.

John Whittingdale visited local micro-brewer, Wibblers, in Mayland. Wibblers Brewery was started by Phil Wilcox and his father, Jeremy, in 2007. Phil began as a home brewer as an impoverished student 21 years ago with a Boots kit behind his parents' sofa. Since then, he has enjoyed success winning a number of awards and in 2007 he went commercial after "Hoppy Helper" won the Beer of the Festival atthe Maldon Beer Festival. Wibblers now produces 5 permanent beers and 6 seasonal ones and supplies Asda in East Anglia and JD Wetherspoon. The best selling beer is Apprentice which has won numerous awards including the Gold Standard at the 2011 Society of Independent Brewers East of England Competition. John is pictured with Commercial Manager, Nigel Sadler.

Following a study by the Boston Consulting Group that indicated that businesses who have a presence online, grow four to eight times faster than those who don’t, John Whittingdale secured a Google Juice Bar for businesses in Maldon.

On 21 December, Google came to Maldon for a day's session in the Maldon District Council offices to offer free advice and tips to business owners on how to make the most of the Internet and grow a business online, especially over the busy Christmas period. The Juice Bar is designed to support and advise businesses regardless of their technical expertise – from starting out and creating their first website, through to improving an existing website and online marketing.

John Whittingdale said: " I am delighted that Google agreed to come to Maldon to help local businesses improve their online presence and that every available slot was filled .The internet is becoming more and more important for business and I know that the businesses that attended found it very valuable".

Pictured are John Whittingdale and Cllr Bob Boyce, Leader of Maldon District Council, with three of the Google Training Staff.

On Tuesday (22nd January), John Whittingdale MP joined members of the Essex Wildlife Trust in Parliament to press the Government to designate the Blackwater Estuary as a Marine Conservation Zone.

The proposed Zone will cover the Roach, Crouch, Blackwater and Colne estuaries John is pictured with John Hall, Chief Executive of the Essex Wildlife Trust, and Mike Sandison, Chairman of the Trust, who lives in the Maldon District in Maylandsea. John Whittingdale’s comments come as The Wildlife Trusts held a parliamentary event to show support for the proposed network of Marine Conservation Zones in English and offshore Welsh waters, as the Government consults on which areas should be designated. The event brought to a close The Wildlife Trusts' ‘Petition Fish’ campaign, which secured almost 250,000 signatures in support of marine protection, 14,000 of which were collected in Essex.

Petition Fish was part of The Wildlife Trusts’ campaign to secure an ‘ecologically coherent’ network of Marine Protected Areas around the UK. This would allow our seas to recover from past damage and sustain current pressures.

John Whittingdale said; “I was delighted to join The Wildlife Trusts to show my support for the recommended Marine Conservation Zone network and to press the Government to include the Blackwater MCZ as one of the first designated zones. The estuary is of huge importance environmentally and it will benefit greatly from the protection that designation will bring. In particular, it will help protect the Native Oyster beds which are the UK’s rarest marine habitat. I congratulate the Essex Wildlife Trust on the work that they have done to draw up a management plan in cooperation with all those who use the estuary including the oyster fishermen and I hope that the Government will now proceed with its designation”.

Joan Edwards, Head of Living Seas for The Wildlife Trusts, said, "The recommended network of Marine Conservation Zones was chosen following an extensive process involving sea users from fishermen and the aggregates industry to divers and boat-users. The proposals represent a significant step forward towards an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas." The consultation runs until 31st March. People can respond through The Wildlife Trusts' website wildlifetrusts.org/haveyoursay

The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) wildlifetrusts.org There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK. All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch. Our vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas. We manage around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. We also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife. Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors. Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas. Petition Fish The petition was signed by 249,859 people calling for greater marine protection in UK waters. Supporters signed silver scales and stuck them onto fish, sea horses and other marine shapes - see attached image. We can supply other images of people signing scales or with the eye-catching boards on beaches all over the country. Marine Conservation Zones 127 recommended Marine Conservation Zones were chosen after two years’ work by more than one million stakeholders from all sectors of the marine environment and at a cost of over £8.8 million to Government. You can visit all these zones on our interactive map and see some of the wonders they are home to at www.wildlifetrusts.org/MCZmap . The network was designed to ensure that special marine landscapes do not become isolated and vulnerable, and to ensure that the wide range of marine habitats found in UK seas are protected. Failure to designate all but a very small proportion of sites recommended by these stakeholders would mean that we lack the ecologically coherent network that our seas so badly need to recover. In December 2012, Defra launched its public consultation and proposed to designate only 31 of the 127 sites recommended by a broad range of sea-users through its regional projects.

The Post Office will continue to offer accessible driving licence and tax services to millions of customers in the UK, including in Maldon.

John Whittingdale MP attended an event yesterday (Monday 21 January) to show support for the win by signing a dedicated congratulations board.

John Whittingdale MP said: “I know how important sub post offices are to local communities and I received hundreds of cards from people living in the Maldon District who were concerned about the future of their local sub post office if the Post Office failed to win the DVLA contract. I am delighted that the Post Office was successful and hope that this will help to ensure a secure future for them” Martin Moran, Commercial Director at the Post Office said: “We are delighted to have the support of John Whittingdale MP. The Post Office has a strong track record in successfully delivering essential government services. Winning the DVLA contract again is testimony to the quality of our staff and subpostmasters, whose longstanding commitment to serving local communities contributed greatly to this success.”

The Post Office secured the seven year Framework Agreement with Department of Transport in November 2012. It confirms that the Post Office will continue to deliver DVLA services from spring 2013, including:

• Driving Licence photocard renewal

• Motor Vehicle Licence Issue

• Statutory off road notices (SORN)

• Duplicate Vehicle Licence.

John Whittingdale visited the Ladbrokes shop in Market Square. South Woodham Ferrers to discuss Gambling issues and the contribution that Ladbrokes' two shops make to the town.

John talked District Supervisor, Cheryl Knights, and members of staff. He also took advantage of Ladbrokes offer to place a £50 bet on the Grand National taking place that day with any winnings going to charity. Sadly, John's choice, "West End Rocker", although strongly tipped, fell at the second fence.

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 www.smiths-env.com

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!

 

John Whittingdale visited EOL IT Services in Station Road, Maldon to present awards to staff and to hear how the company has fared since his last visit in 2006. Founded in 1996 by CEO Jan Smith, EOL provides IT Asset Recycling and Managed IT Services to many of the leading companies in Britain. Now employing around 50 staff and operating a 24/7 nationawide service, EOL recently undertook one of the largest IT decommissioning projects in the City of London, handling over 30,000 technology items spread across 10 floors. EOL has also opened a retail showroom in Maldon for the Christmas period, offering second-user IT equipment at affordable prices.

John Whittingdale said: "I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit EOL IT Services once again to see the progress that the company has made and to meet some of the staff. It is tremendous that a Maldon-based company is providing such a vital service for so many of the biggest companies in the City and elsewhere. In these challenging times, it is great news that the company is doing so well and providing jobs for so many young people".John is pictured with Jan Smith - Chief Executive, Adam Mitchell - Apprentice of the Year, and Wendy Davies - Supply Chain Director.

John Whittingdale launched the Designated Driver campaign at the Shaw Farm Pub in South Woodham Ferrers. The campaignis sponsored by Coca Cola in partnership with the Department of Transport's THINK! Driver Friendly campaign. Now in its fourth year, the scheme rewards responsible drivers during the festive period by offering those who choose not to drink alcohol on a night out "Buy one, Get one free" on Coca Cola or Diet Coke. The scheme runs for three weeks from 9th to 31st December. Last year one million free drinks were given away in over 8,000 venues across the UK.John Whittingdale is pictured with Belinda, landlord of the Shaw Farm pub in South Woodham Ferrers. John Whittingdale said: "I am delighted to be backing the designated driver scheme in Essex this Christmas and congratulate Coca Cola on their initiative. It is a great idea to resard designated drivers for acting responsibly and for helping to make sure that this is a safe Christmas for everyone. I hope that as many as possible will take advantage of the scheme".

 

 

John Whittingdale presented children from local Primary schools with sports and computer equipment which they had obtained through the Tesco Equipment for Schools voucher scheme. John has carried out this presentation every year since he became a Member of Parliament in 1992. He has pictured with children from Maldon Primary School, All Saints Primary School, Wentworth Primary School and Heybridge Primary School. 

John Whittingdale officially relaunched One Place in Southminster in a new building in the car park adjacent to the surgery off the High Street. Southminster One Place has relocated to the building which was purchased by Southminster Parish Council and it now combines a charity shop with a centre where local residents can obtain information and advice.

 

One Place is an initiative of the Dengie Project Trust and brings together partner organisations such as Essex Police, Essex County Council, Maldon District Council and the Citizens Advice Bureau. John is pictured with Steve Sidley, Chairman of the Dengie Project Trust, Vikki Massey, the organiser, and Cllr Brian Beale, Chairman of Southminster Parish Council together with a number of the volunteers who staff the centre.

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