15th October, 2014.  

Open for Applications!

I am delighted to announce that the Shadow Helen Competition 2014 is now open. Young people from Maidstone & the Weald will have the chance to 'Shadow' me through the remainder of this Parliamentary Term and into the General Election on May 7th 2015.

The competition winners will gain valuable work experience inside Parliament and have the chance to watch debates in the House of Commons, attend committee meetings and network with a wide variety of politicians and officials. They will also follow me throughout the General Election, seeing first-hand the excitement and complexity of a national campaign.

I am also thrilled that this year we will be offering all finalists a day of work experience in Westminster.

If you are aged between 16-18 in November of this year then please do fill out an application form, available to download below together with some guidance notes.

Please note the closing date for applications is Sunday 30th November 2014.  (n.b. This has been extended from the original closing date to allow for the fact that several schools were closed for half term when the competition was launched).

Best of luck!





Candidate Application Form

Guidance Notes  

We will remember them

In the age of the social media and smartphones, moments of silent reflection are rare. In a bustling town like Maidstone or a city like London, the hum of activity is constant. So those moments where people stop and come together, disconnect from the digital world, and towns and cities come to a standstill; are particularly poignant.

Standing there as I did at eleventh hour in Maidstone on Sunday or at the Cenotaph in central London on eleventh day of the eleventh month on Tuesday, that silence was incredibly moving.

It wasn't just imagining the haunting contrast with the deafening roar of war. It was, in this Centenary year, seeing young and old standing united to remember the courageous men and women who have served our country, defended our freedoms and kept us safe. It was that silent recognition and reflection, which was so powerful.

I've experienced it several times this year, having been granted the huge honour of leading the Government's commemorations of the First World War Centenary.

I felt it marching with service men and women from the Town Hall in Maidstone. I felt it as lights went out across Britain on August 4; and with Commonwealth nations after an amazing games in Glasgow. At Football and Peace Day at Maidstone United marking the iconic Christmas Truce of 1914, and on Sunday with 'Help for Heroes' veterans in St Peter's Street, raising money through a sponsored bike ride.

I felt it, so emotively, at the Tower of London, taking in the fields of poppies amid the thousands of visitors. The stunning sea of red juxtaposed with 888,246th poppy planted to remember a life lost of a British or Commonwealth soldier during the Great War.

So although we can never repay the debt to previous generations who made the ultimate sacrifice, as we mark this milestone in the history of our nation, we will remember them.


This column is published in The Kent Messenger each Friday where it may be subject to editiorial change.
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With very best wishes


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