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Sadye | 16 December 2010 at 10:28 | 884 views
I arrived back in our area late on Thursday night last week, and on Friday morning I was up early to visit the Royal Mail sorting office in Crewkerne at 7.45am.
In the old days, 7.45am would count as pretty late morning, but the post now arrives in the sorting offices later, which is why many of you will now be getting your post delivered later in the day.
The team in Crewkerne seemed to be in good spirits, and unaffected by the recent snow and ice. Royal Mail had even recently issued the team with special ice grips to fit onto the underside of shoes, through apparently quite a few of the “spikes” fell out after a bit of use!
Staff numbers at the Crewkerne Centre are up this year, as the four postmen who used to be based at the Stoke sub Hamdon sorting office have had to be relocated to Crewkerne since the closure of the Stoke office.
The Post Office is now looking to provide postal services elsewhere in Stoke, and last week I also spoke to them about the possibility of securing post office services for the Brympton area of Yeovil – after an approach to me by the Parish Council. The Post Office has promised to look into this possibility.
Next stop was the Crewkerne Town Council and Community Offices, to wish all of the staff a Happy Christmas. In the Town Council offices they have been inundated by people wanting to sign the petition to keep open the Recycling Centre in Crewkerne – which is hardly a surprise given the 100,000 visits which it receives each year. Last week I wrote a joint letter with Dorset MP Oliver Letwin to Somerset County Council, asking them to think again about their plans for closure.
After leaving Crewkerne, I travelled to Chard for a Christmas visit to the Sunnymeade care home.
After Chard, I drove back to Yeovil and called in first on Milford Junior School and then on Grass Royal School. At both schools I presented prizes and certificates to some of the winners in my 2010 Christmas Card competition. I am very grateful to all those who took part in the competition – we had some fantastic entries.
In the afternoon, I called in to the new offices of the Citizens Advice Bureau in Yeovil, where Monica Carrier and her team do some incredibly important work. Huge numbers of people receive help with debt management, benefits and other problems each year, and I just do not know what we would do without the CAB’s staff and volunteers – our sincere thanks to them all.
At 2pm I was back at St. John’s Church in Yeovil, for the Park School Carol Service. It was a wonderful service, led by Reverend James Dudley-Smith, and as ever there were some splendid singing and musical performances by the children from the school. Among so many fine performances, it is very difficult to select just one or two for special praise. But the congregation clearly particularly appreciated Lucy Turner’s beautiful solo rendition of “Oh Holy Night”. Well done to Lucy and to all those who sang and played for us.
I particularly wanted to attend this Service, as it was the last school event for retiring Head Teacher Paul Bate. Paul has been the Head Teacher at The Park School for the last 17 ½ years, and he will be very much missed. I would like to join with parents, pupils, staff and governors in thanking Paul for his outstanding service.
I then called in at the Yeovil Night Shelter, where some students from Yeovil College were making a film about homelessness. After that I had a chat with manager Chris Gibbons and some of his excellent team.
I then made my last visit of the day to the Samaritans Centre in Yeovil. The Samaritans do a brilliant job, offering support and a listening ear to all those in distress. The team in Yeovil have over 130 volunteers, and they speak to thousands of people each year. Anyone who wants to help can do so by ringing 01935 476455. It is incredibly important work and we are lucky to have such a strong and dedicated team in our area.
Sadye | 10 December 2010 at 17:20 | 717 views
I returned home from London by car last week, through a landscape covered in deep snow, and a journey which normally takes me three hours this time took five!
I was due to make an early morning visit to the Royal Mail sorting centre in Yeovil on Friday, but decided to postpone this given the state of the weather and of many side roads – including my own.
I was relieved that I had re-jigged my plans, because on Friday morning it was only with the very greatest difficulty that I managed to get my car out of my driveway and out onto the main road.
My first visit of the day was to Yeovil Hospital, which I reached just before 9am- about 10 minutes late.
I was due to meet Chief Executive Gavin Boyle, and the hospital’s Chairman – Angela Dupont. Angela wasn’t able to make it in that morning, because of the awful state of the roads near her house in Dorset. I was sorry to miss Angela, who has been an outstanding Chairman of the hospital for the last 14 years, which is an unusually long period for anyone to serve. Sadly, Angela is likely to be standing down from her post next year, and we will all be incredibly sorry to see her go. Angela has presided over a period of great success and development at the hospital, and we owe her an enormous debt of gratitude.
After a discussion with Gavin, we both joined up with Yeovil Mayor, Phil Chandler, for a tour of some of the wards and offices in Yeovil Hospital. The hospital is so huge that it is quite impossible to get around it all in just an hour or an hour and a half, but each Christmas we try to cover a different area, and I am gradually getting to see more of this huge and vital organization.
My thanks to all at the hospital who do such crucial work for us, including those who will be working over the Christmas and New Year period.
After Yeovil Hospital, the Mayor and I visited Rowan Place and we then called in at St. Margaret’s Hospice. The Hospice is a real jewel in Yeovil’s crown, and I am always very impressed with the standards of care and attention to detail when I visit there. Please continue to support the Hospice in any way you can – as only around one third of their income comes from the government, with the rest having to be raised by their own efforts.
Talking of fundraising, while we were at the hospital we met Jim and Flo Essex, Yeovil’s own “fundraisers extraordinaire”, who were presenting the Hospice with a cheque for £2,000 from another of their sponsored walks. Neither age (over 80!) nor honours (their joint MBEs from the Queen) have done anything to reduce their hard work for a range of good causes – my thanks to them both.
My next visit was to Swanmead School in Ilminster, to present the winning prize in my 2010 Christmas Card competition. The winner – out of over 1,600 entries from around 25 schools – was Dillan Northway. My thanks and congratulations to Dillan, who has produced a lovely card of a snowy Ham Hill.
After Swanmead, I called in on Wadham School in Crewkerne to talk with Head Teacher David Debryshire and his Deputy about the government’s new proposals on schools – it is incredibly helpful to have feedback from the “frontline” in this way.
I then squeezed in a brief visit to Maiden Beech School in Crewkerne, to thank Head Teacher John Broad for his twenty years of service to the school – an impressive record. John has been an excellent head teacher, and he will be very much missed when he stands down before Christmas. Our thanks to John for his hard work on behalf of all those thousands of children who have passed through the school over the last 20 years.
On Friday evening I held a three hour Advice Centre in Yeovil, and I was impressed that everyone made it – in spite of the snow.
On Saturday morning I visited the Royal Mail sorting offices in both Ilminster and Chard. The postmen - and postwomen- seemed to be on good form, in spite of the weather, and one or two serious injuries sustained in the icy conditions.
I then held an Advice Centre in Chard, before heading back inside to warm up!