All our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine as Putin and his evil cronies wage their terror campaign against a democratic and free nation. I know I speak for us all when I say we stand with Ukraine. I am Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Ukraine and am so proud to represent a vibrant Ukraine community here in Huddersfield and Colne Valley. It was an emotional afternoon at the Ukrainian club in Edgerton when local politicians of all parties came together to listen and speak with dozens of members of our local Ukrainian community. I know our local vibrant Ukrainian community really well having celebrated their Christmas with them for over a decade. I have made good friends. It was heart breaking to hear the personal stories of worries and suffering of their friends and family back in Ukraine.
Our whole country is united in support of the Ukrainian people. Local people are asking me how they can help in many different ways. I was at Marsden Junior school last week and one young girl asked how she donate 3 of her toys to children in Ukraine. This week I went to St James’ Church in Meltham to thank the volunteers who’d help pack essential supplies donated by the community ready for shipping to Ukraine.
I met the Ukrainian Ambassador in the Houses of Parliament and he thanked the UK for everything we are doing in terms of military support, humanitarian aid and for the sanctions we are unleashing on Putin and his cronies. I was honoured to be in the House of Commons chamber when President Zelensky, the inspirational leader of his people, addressed Parliament.
Recently hundreds of hardy folk braved the elements to support six year old Eden Smith, who lives in Holmfirth, to raise money for the care she needs. In April 2021 Eden was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer that carries just a 40% to 50% chance of long-term survival at diagnosis and affects fewer than 100 children in the UK every year. The aim is to raise £250,000 for Eden to travel to the US for specialist treatment which will give her a much better chance of the cancer not returning in future. The ‘Gardens of Eden Walk’ raised money as volunteers walked 22 miles in the pouring rain to highlight the campaign. At the time of writing this I was delighted to read that over £165,000 was raised over that weekend alone, taking the total towards the target. I’ve donated and have been in touch with Eden’s Dad to offer my support. Please support Eden in any way you can. If you would like to donate please visit https://www.solvingkidscancer.org.uk/Appeal/eden
I am delighted to announce that I am hosting my first Older Persons’ Advice and Information Fair on Friday 18th March 10am – 2pm at the Briar Court Hotel on Halifax Road in Birchencliffe. This will be an enjoyable and informative event, which is free to attend and aims to provide residents who are retired or heading towards retirement with information about the facilities and services available to them in Kirklees. If you’re retired, know someone heading towards retirement or want to know more about what’s available in our local area, please do come along and feel free to bring your family and friends to accompany you. I’m pleased that we already have over 25 exhibitors confirmed for the day, including Age UK, Department for Work and Pensions, West Yorkshire Police, Kirklees Council, Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust and many more, including local groups and societies. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. I hope to see you on Friday 18th March at the Briar Court Hotel.
Finally as I write this column Huddersfield Town are still keeping up our promotion challenge so it’s set to be an exciting run in whilst I’m also been cheering on the Huddersfield Giants who have had a really promising start to the Superleague season.
As ever, my team and I continue to deal with hundreds of issues every week so please get in touch if you need my help with any issue. The phone number for my constituency office, which is being answered remotely, is 01484 443975 or you can email me at [email protected] alternatively you can write to me at the House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA.