The Armed Forces of Staffordshire – before, today and tomorrow

I attended the Remembrance service at St. Michael’s in Rocester for Armistice Day. As has happens every year, the names of the villagers who lost their lives during the two World Wars, inscribed on the church’s lych gate, are read out followed by a two minute silence.  The community spirit of Rocester is touching and a proud moment to have been a part of. A whole country falling silent together in respect of others is a powerful concept, and I’m glad I was able to join a service where the meaning runs deep. I hope everyone was able to attend a Remembrance service last weekend and pay tribute to this country’s armed forces.

Thinking of our serving soldiers, it is good news that the Mercian Regiment, who will have its title changed soon, will retain the ‘Staffords’ name. The Mercian Regiment was formed in 2007 as the amalgamation of the Cheshire, Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters, and Staffordshire regiments respectively- many of you might remember the Staffordshire regiment as just ‘Staffords’. It was announced in the summer that the regiment would be disbanded as part of a reorganization of the MoD.   I’m happy to say that, after many people spoke out about it, it’s being proposed that the battalion’s official title is changed to ‘The Mercian Regiment (Cheshires, Worcesters and Foresters, and Staffords)’ to retain the tradition of the regiments that formed it. The Staffordshire knot will also feature on the arm of the uniform. This is a victory for the people who have a connection to the Staffords. It is a long standing tradition that means a lot to many from this county, including me. Here’s to the Staffords regiment, and let’s keep our connection with our brave serving men and women in the Armed Forces.

I’m pleased to see the national headlines surrounding the Deal for our area i.e. the co-operation of a “Labour-led city authority” and a “Conservative-controlled county council”. Top alliteration there. They also recognize our growth in UKjob creation, our top priority for the people of Staffordshire.  I’m very excited about the “Deal with Government” – we have a good strong lead in our efforts to with the bid, the work with Stoke will benefit us both, and there is so much we can achieve should we be successful.  This scheme is a brilliant move by the Government and it promises to push the counties of Britainto greater efforts for our people. You can read an excellent article on the Deal from The Guardian here. (see link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/local-government-network/2012/nov/14/city-deals-stoke-on-trent-staffordshire?CMP=twt_gu)

I hosted some delegate visitors from the Russian city ofIvanovo recently. They’ve come to Staffordshire to see our healthcare services and to learn from our general care service structures. It is an honour to receive the delegates and knowing that our county is considered worth learning from by far-away cities is something to be proud of.

A busy day started with attending a West Midlands Transport Summit at Molyneux, Wolverhampton. Speaking on I54 with Leaders from across the region and LEP Chairmen pic.twitter.com/P2uVbH4t

I also saw Danny Alexander Chief Secretary to the Treasury lobbying the highest levels of government about Transition Zone status ERDF which could be worth €116m a year to Staffordshire andShropshire. 

Finally, I attended the Stafford NFU AGM speaking about Farming – the essential of life. A global view of the future.  Some interesting thoughts which triggered much debate.

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