Retford Times: Christmas Eve 2014

I would like to wish all readers of the Retford Times a very Merry Christmas. Like most people for me the festive period is a time for family and to consider what Christmas is really all about. On Sunday I was at The Well for Carols by Candlelight and read from the Book of Isaiah. As well as enjoying some of my favourite carols I was struck by the feeling of community and togetherness that is sadly often lacking in modern society. Thank you to everyone at The Well for a very enjoyable festive evening.

For young people in Bassetlaw this year has been an extremely positive one and there have been many examples of outstanding individual successes. Local lad Sam Walker, for example, won a silver medal in the men’s team table tennis at the Commonwealth Games and has a very bright future ahead of him.

14 year-old Adam Bower from North Wheatley meanwhile won the prestigious 4Uth award for his commitment to caring for his sister, Charlotte, and for his work on the Bassetlaw Young People’s Forum. At the same time Adam holds down two jobs and of course continues with his studies. Young people like Adam are an inspiration to all of us locally and a reminder that media depictions of teenagers are not always correct.

I spent a week this summer with a number of impressive young people from Bassetlaw who were taking part in my unique summer school. The event which is now in its eighth year sees forty students from Bassetlaw come to London for an intensive week. Each year I ensure that they get a taste of life in Parliament and of business in London. This summer the students questioned leading MPs on changes to media regulation, met the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow in his official state apartments and went to the BBC to hear about the work of a top Radio 1 presenter. The concept of the summer school is not just for the students to enjoy themselves but to ensure that just because they live outside of London they don’t miss out on key opportunities that will help them in their future career paths.

This year I have also arranged for some local schoolchildren to visit top sporting events including cricket at Trent Bridge, Liverpool football club playing at home and rugby union. I want every Bassetlaw child to have the opportunity to experience premier level sport and will be working over the next year to get the sponsorship to make that happen.

All of these achievements are underpinned of course by the work of our excellent local schools. Teachers and parents work together to achieve the best for young people and to make extracurricular activities possible. Many of them bring their students to the Houses of Parliament – if you might be interested in that please call my office on 01909 506200.

This festive period we can reflect on a good year for our young people and make our plans for 2015. Merry Christmas from the Mann family.


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