This week the UK passed another COVID-19 milestone with 10 million people across the country having received a second vaccine dose. Locally, we have now seen over 63,000 people in this constituency receive at least one dose and so things continue to go well.
This of course continues to help us fight back against the virus and it has been such a relief to see our shops, hairdressers, and other businesses reopen their doors. It has been a real pleasure walking around town with people out and about again, seeing friends, family, spending money, and getting much overdue haircuts.
Our joy at reaching the next phase in the roadmap out of restrictions was however tempered by the very sad loss of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh who after 99 years of remarkable life and service, passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle. Like so many, I watched the deeply moving funeral on Saturday afternoon, not just sad for our country at the loss of a Prince, but sorrowful that a family had lost a husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather.
Many have said to me throughout the past year that they have an enhanced appreciation for time spent with family and friends, as well as the outdoors. Whether walking around Grantham’s Wyndham park, or sat in the sunshine on the Stamford Meadows - I have enjoyed seeing people come together in our parks and outside spaces and I hope their use will continue long after the threat from COVID-19 has gone.
Some of you may have seen my question to the Prime Minister about littering last week. This is something that unites us all in dismay and I continue to applaud those who give up their time to clear it up and keep our community tidy. I fully support the Grantham Journal's Great Grantham Spring Clean campaign and I love reading about local people of all ages, across the town and our villages taking to the streets to help pick up litter.
Ultimately though, these volunteers would not be needed if everyone played their part in keeping our area tidy by putting rubbish in the bins provided. These open spaces and parks are for us all, and their use comes with a responsibility to keep them nice and tidy for everyone else. So please, if you go out this weekend, take your rubbish away with you.
In addition to these groups keeping our local community tidy, there is another group who help keep Stamford in particular looking beautiful. The Stamford in Bloom volunteers do so much, planting flowers and maintaining many of our grass verges. I went to meet them and see their latest project and came away so impressed at their dedication.
Similarly, last Friday I went to hear plans for a new skatepark in Bourne, which after many years is finally coming to fruition with an impressive amount of fundraising activity driven by a small but incredibly committed group of local community volunteers. Their plans will provide an outdoor facility for young people to let off steam and hang out with friends and that is certainly something many will welcome.
As the nights get longer and the sun starts to shine brighter, I hope we will all continue to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate all the work that goes on behind the scenes, to make them enjoyable places to see our friends and family.