15/11/18: Armistice 100th Anniversary

Every year, it seems, our County Town comes out in even greater numbers than the last. Old, young and in-between, regardless of the great British weather, we all come together to pay our respects.

Walking down the High Street I feel a strength within the people lining, and then following our solemn route. It's as if the act of remembrance is a relief valve from the pressures of daily life, where we put the trivial into perspective against the enormous loss so many have suffered through war.

For perhaps the only time each year, the cars and lorries are still and quiet, and the bridge across the Medway is peaceful as we approach the war memorial.

The two-minute silence always gets me welling up inside. Surrounded by the spectral quietness it is a moment of deep and shared reflection, standing alongside so many with personal stories of sadness and sacrifice, that we may live unoppressed in a free and fair society.

I thought of families whose lives have been capsized; I remembered the importance of doing everything we can to prevent future bloody conflicts; and I took comfort from the bonded and collective national commemoration which Remembrance Sunday represents.

100 years on, World War 1 is now a living memory only for very few, and so Remembrance changes, and becomes ever more important; to ensure that current and future generations truly understand the sacrifice their forebears made and the importance of preserving peace.

The past four years of WW1 centenary commemorations will have helped this process and as the end of the Great War was marked this weekend, I was so pleased to see new ways in which people marked this terrible chapter in human history. The lighting of beacons, life sized silhouettes of the fallen, sand artistry on our beaches and the moving displays of poppies which have adorned our public buildings. We will remember them.

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Helen's column is published weekly in the Kent Messenger. Please note the print version may differ from the content here.


Local MP Recognised as First Grassroots Football Champion

                                                       

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald and the former Sports Minister met with the Kent FA today, visiting the Stones' Gallagher Stadium to watch their FA Cup First Round match against Macclesfield Town and to pick up an award in recognition of her commitment to grassroots football.

Helen met with Phil Smith, Chairman of the Kent FA to learn more about how FA and Kent FA investments are widening grassroots participation, improving facilities and supporting player development in her constituency.

National League Maidstone played Macclesfield Town who are currently propping up League Two in the First Round of the FA Cup, the oldest cup competition in the world. At half time Phil presented Helen with a Grassroots Champion award to recognise her support for the game in her local community, becoming the first MP to receive the honour.

Helen was particularly pleased to see the team in action on the outstanding, state of the art 3G pitch at the Gallagher Stadium. Helen played a part in 2014, as UK Sports Minister, in persuading the FA to certify the pitch for use in the FA Cup and the then Football Conference. The resilient nature of the playing surface is central to the club's ability to deliver such a range of grassroots football programmes at the ground.

Helen Grant MP said:

"Grassroots sport is so important to local communities, providing benefits to physical and mental health as well as bringing people together. That is why I was delighted to visit Maidstone United today. It was great to meet some of the staff and volunteers at the club and the Kent FA who make grassroots football possible in Maidstone and the Weald and to see the state of the art 3G facility in action."

Phil Smith, Chairman of Kent FA said:

"Our congratulations to Helen. It is really important that football has MPs standing up for the grassroots game in Parliament and I am proud we have one here in Maidstone in Helen Grant. We are working hard to cater for over 62,500 players of all ages and 15,000 volunteers across Kent and we need as much support as possible to continue growing the game for the benefit of all."


10 NOV 2018

Local MP Recognised as First Grassroots Football Champion

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald and the former Sports Minister met with the Kent FA today, visiting the Stones' Gallagher Stadium to watch their FA Cup First Round match against Macclesfield Town and to pick up an award in recognition of her...


10 NOV 2018

Newly refurbished convenience store welcomed at Vinters Park

Residents of the 1600 homes in Maidstone's Vinters Park now have a great new convenience store to serve their everyday needs, opened by local MP Helen Grant on Saturday. Owners Suresh and Raj felt the previous format, focused around confectionary, tobacco...


10 NOV 2018

BBC Children in Need's Rickshaw Challenge Comes to Sissinghurst

The BBC's 'One Show' Rickshaw Challenge is a gruelling 423 mile cycle tour from Calais to Salford on a custom-made Rickshaw bike to raise money for BBC Children in Need. The route included the picturesque village of Sissinghurst, Kent where almost the...



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HELEN GRANT MP

Helen's column

15 NOV 2018

Armistice 100th Anniversary

Every year, it seems, our County Town comes out in even greater numbers than the last. Old, young and in-between, regardless of the great British weather, we all come together to pay our...


08 NOV 2018

Parliament Week

For our democracy to thrive, our Parliament must be relevant, open and accessible, and UK Parliament Week is aimed squarely at achieving those goals. Parliament Week is a series of events designed to...


01 NOV 2018

Budget 2018

Amidst the rowdy rhetoric and political posturing on Budget Day this week, the challenge was in unpicking how the measures will affect our everyday lives here in Kent. On health funding, I very much...