• Busy

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    06 March 2015

    Last week I was busy right across my vast constituency - one that covers 125 parishes. In Chudleigh I met up with Amanda Barnes and Janice Caunter who run the local Girl Guides and Brownies. They were holding a fundraiser and I particularly enjoyed chatting to locals who had dropped in for a cup of tea. The Guides, Brownies and Rangers have an impressive presence in the UK with 100,000 volunteers. They allow girls and young women to development new friendships, gain confidence and make a contribution as a ‘force for good’. Amanda and Janice plan to use the money raised to help pay for a Guide’s outing to the Heatree Activity Centre later in the year. To find out more visit Also in Chudleigh I held one of my regular advice surgeries – I have held over 250 of these since my election. These are a great opportunity to listen to constituents and assist where I can. In Moretonhampstead I dropped in on a book making session run by local artist Nina Fenner. I have never ceased to be impressed with the quality of craftwork in our county – one of the greatest centres for which is the Devon Guild of Craftsmen in Bovey Tracey. In Chagford I met up with Jonathan Richards who, along with his wife Emma, owns and runs Best Cellars wine merchants with branches in Chagford and Ashburton. Richard and I have pressed for the retention of Chagford’s last remaining cash point machine and I am grateful to NatWest who have agreed to this. In Okehampton, despite the rain, I joined local Councillors Kevin Ball and Mike Davies to canvass local opinion on my campaign for the reinstatement of the Exeter to Plymouth railway via Okehampton and Tavistock. This would bring rail to a part of the peninsular that is especially rurally isolated. If you live in Bude, for example, you are 56 miles away from Exeter St David’s – the equivalent of having to travel from London to Brighton to get a train. I have hosted a meeting in Okehampton with the Secretary of State for Transport and another with our Trains Minister and have made this one of my personal priorities. The response during the canvass was very positive and I was struck by the number of people who would use rail rather than their car to commute into Exeter for work if an appropriate service was available. In Crediton I visited the new premises for the Exeter Leukaemia charity shop. Manager Kerry and her volunteers do an outstanding job raising funds - money which helps provide transport for those receiving treatment and subsidised overnight accommodation where this is over multiple days. In Ashburton I met up with local councillor Charlie Dennis and Jenny Giles to discuss further the Friends of Ashburton Railway’s plans for the extension of the South Devon heritage railway from Buckfastleigh to Ashburton – a very exciting long-term possibility. In Bovey I held an MP Question and Answer session.