STEPHEN LLOYD MP: Our lifeboat service does us proud

Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon SUS-170614-095516001
Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon SUS-170614-095516001

There was an announcement on our section of the A27 this week by Highways England regarding the proposed £75 million upgrade to improve journeys for those who use the eastern section of the road.

Four junctions along a nine-mile section of the A27 between Lewes and Polegate are to be improved, with a section of the Polegate bypass upgraded to a dual carriageway. I welcome the news as frankly any improvement of such a shocking road is good for Eastbourne. This does not mean though that I will stop pushing for what we all know we really need - and that is a dual carriageway between Polegate and Lewes, so I will continue to press the government over the issue.

It was an absolute pleasure to go out with our Eastbourne RNLI a few days ago. Their boat is absolutely stunning, and with 103 call outs already this year (88 in the whole of 2016) it certainly needs to be.

Many thanks to coxswain Mark Sawyer and all the team for making me so welcome. I am enormously proud to represent a town like Eastbourne, which values its lifeboat service the way we do. I even got to drive the boat for a bit, which was enormous fun.

Our lifeboat service does us proud. And it is ‘our’ service. They emphasised to me just how much the RNLI, unlike other country’s, relies wholly on the support of the public. All part of the great tradition of volunteers stepping up selflessly to watch out for those who use our seas. It was a privilege for me to spend just an hour and a half with them. See their website here: http://www.eastbournernli.org

I’ve also been out and about in Willingdon and Langney this week gauging the public’s views over the county council planning to close our two community libraries. And the response has been overwhelmingly opposed to the decision. Residents appreciate that libraries play a crucial role in the community and for County to close them is a classic example of, as my dear old Dad would have said; knowing the price of everything but the value of nothing!

It was good to visit the Jubilee Eye Suite in the DGH this week to meet staff and observe first-hand the work of the unit. It was absolutely fascinating to visit the ward and talk to the dedicated team. And a full-on team they are, often doing upwards of 15 eye operations a day, six days a week. Having had cataracts myself over 30 years ago, it was astonishing to see just how far the discipline has advanced. I was privileged to witness the work the nurses and doctors do in the ward and even watched a live-feed of an operation being done, which was quite extraordinary. I know from personal experience and from my own extensive casework just how much we as local residents appreciate the work our hospital and community NHS staff do for us, so it was a enlightening to see for myself just how effective and caring they are at the sharp end.

On a similar note, one of the local charities that I’m a Trustee of is Care for the Carers. They had their AGM this week and in the course of it a short film was shown illustrating real life examples of local carers. I thought it captured beautifully the extraordinary efforts so many put in every day on behalf of the person they look after. See the link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU_GCu1rkLw

A powerful and humbling story of the daily work people do, and with an estimated 60,000 carers in East Sussex alone, there’s an awful lot of residents looking after their partner, child or in some cases with young carers, their disabled parent. It’s good to do my little bit to support Care for the Carers. They’re a fine organisation, always ready to advise anyone and as the film shows, it can be a bit lonely sometimes being a carer. If you would like to see what support is available please give them a ring on 01323 738390.

That’s it for this week folks. Have a good weekend and I hope to see you around town.