Armed Forces Day

As part of my five-point plan for the town after I was re-elected, I pledged to continue to help drive up education standards here in South Swindon to give young people the skills they need for the jobs of the future.

I am delighted to see that Uplands has received much-deserved national recognition for their excellent work.  The leadership team and staff at Uplands are all dedicated to improving opportunities for children and young people in their care.

I am a keen supporter of the Uplands Educational Trust, which is providing post 19 courses to local young people with additional needs and learning difficulties.  As a local MP and parent, I am very proud of the achievements of Uplands and of our other excellent special schools here in Swindon, and I would like to congratulate Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Jackie Smith, and the team at Uplands School for being awarded best overall education at the TES Awards in London last week.

Looking ahead to the weekend, I am thrilled to be opening the festivities for Swindon’s Armed Forces Day at Faringdon Park, an event which I regard as one of the most important in Swindon’s calendar.  As a community, we are rightly proud of Swindon’s long-standing links with the armed services. Armed Forces Day is the perfect occasion to celebrate those connections, as well as remembering the debt of gratitude we owe to all those brave men and women in the Armed Forces community who help to keep our country safe. Let’s not forget that it’s just not just a day to commemorate troops who are currently serving in the military however, but also Service families, veterans, and cadets past and present.

Last year, I held a meeting with many of the groups and individuals who helped to organise the event in the GWR Park in Faringdon Road.  These included representatives of the armed forces themselves, veterans’ groups such as the Royal British Legion, the Reserves (or the Territorial Army as they were known until recently), Swindon Borough Council and InSwindon, among others. To all those who helped to organise this year’s event, my thanks.

On the day there will be plenty of entertainment for everybody to enjoy, including a free-fall parachute jump by the Jump for Heroes team, as well music from the marching band of 2003 Squadron Air Training Corps and the Corps of Drums and drill team from the local Army Cadets.

There’ll also be stage performances by two civilian bands and demonstrations by the Tae Kwan Do Knights in the arena and on stage, as well as a funfair, bouncy castle and face painting, street dancing, interactive games from the Wyvern Theatre, and activities by streetgames.org.

As always, the event promises military displays and a selection of classic cars for petrol heads, as well as a full line up of military charities to answer questions and offer support to town veterans. Later in the day, they’ll also be a veterans’ parade followed by badges awarded to veterans by the town’s Mayor and Miss Wiltshire. The event starts at 11, so mark Saturday in your diaries now and I look forward to seeing you there!

Last Friday I hosted another very successful (and busy!) surgery, which was also my last at my Milton Road constituency office. If you would like to meet me, please get in touch with my Swindon team on 01793 533 393.

(This article was originally posted in the Swindon Advertiser on Wednesday 24th June 2015)