Constituency matters… a weekly column by the Member of Parliament for Folkestone and Hythe, Damian Collins OBE 19 March 2024.

Ukrainian army recruits

Earlier this month I was in Lydd for my regular surgery in the Guildhall when I observed a large group of men, casually dressed, advancing along the High Street.

I quickly realized that they were Ukrainian army recruits who were staying at Lydd camp whilst they completed their infantry training. The Ukrainians have become such a fixture now in Lydd that the menu at the Brew at 32 café has been translated into their language.

It is humbling to see these men, most of whom were civilians before the war, training to fight in the defence of their country. As the new Russian attack towards Kharkiv continues we should continue to do all we can to support them in their struggle, as a free people, to live in independence from Vladimir Putin’s brutal Russian regime.

Brockhill Park

It is always a pleasure to speak to young people and students about their work and ideas about politics. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the chance to do that in a number of different settings. At the end of April I joined Charles Joseph, the Principal of Brockhill Park, to meet with some of the teachers and students at the school. 

The highlight of any visit to Brockhill Park is always the excellent school farm, and it was great to meet with students who were preparing to exhibit some of the livestock they have been rearing for the Kent Show at Detling in July.

I will look forward to seeing them again when I am at the County Show. I was also pleased to join some of the sixth form Politics and Government A level students to discuss a wide range of national and local issues.

Aldington Primary School

On 3 May I was delighted to visit Aldington Primary School at the invitation of its headteacher Ben Dawson. As well as holding a question-and-answer session with the members of the School Council, I was able to visit the other students who were working in their classrooms as well as experience Aldington’s excellent outdoor forest learning space. Last week I was also invited to speak and answer questions from students at the University of Kent in Canterbury.

MP’s new David Lloyd George book to be published

On 23rd May I have a new book being published, which is a biography of the former Liberal Prime Minister and war leader, David Lloyd George. In writing the book I was pleased to discover several local connections to Lloyd George.

I knew from my previous biography of Philip Sassoon that he was often a guest at Port Lympne and was frequently in Folkestone harbour during and after the First World War. I also discovered that he attended Baptist church services in Folkestone and Cheriton. Also in 1911, Lloyd George had an extended period of rest at Beachborough Park near Newington.

Maintaining Folkestone central library

We have such a rich local history it is always interesting to discover new things. Research archives, particularly those held in local libraries, are of vital importance for historians, just as they are those who are interested in family history.

That is one of the reasons that I am determined to do all that I can to maintain an excellent central library for Folkestone. Ideally at its home in Grace Hill.

By Ed

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