Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day

 

Remembrance Sunday saw me attending my local memorial service at St. Michael’s Church in Rocester as I have done for many years. The church had a display of the life of all the men named on the memorial. The sense of pride found on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day in the people of our country is still an unmatched and inspiring tribute to the sacrifices of war.

This year is particularly poignant as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War and Staffordshire has particular memories at a local, national and international level. Besides our countywide war memorials we have the National Memorial Arboretum providing a focal point for the nation’s commemorations.  We are incredibly proud to have the NMA, a national and international centre of remembrance right here in the heart of the county.  It’s growing to be a symbolic place to learn, remember and celebrate and we will continue to fund it to help it achieve its aim of becoming a world class centre of remembrance.  This, along with the Commonwealth Graves and German Cemetery on Cannock Chase gives Staffordshire as good a claim as anywhere in the country to be the focus of the nation’s commemorations. We were also represented at the Menin Gate in Ypres by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and a new memorial at Arras by Brian Edwards of South Staffordshire District Council.

It was encouraging to see proposals for the multi-million pound investment in the A50 Growth Corridor take a step forward as the planning committee recommended to permit the scheme.  This is a hugely important piece of work that will help support new jobs and homes around Uttoxeter, improve connections between the East and West Midlands, ease congestion and crucially make journeys safer on this very busy trunk road.  We are proposing to carry out the work on behalf of the Highways Agency, and if endorsed by Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the work is expected to start in the spring.

Sticking with roads, keeping them safe has always been one of our top priorities and it was pleasing to read the latest statistics which show that Staffordshire is now the second best county for road safety in the country.  Last year we saw a major reduction around 25% in the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.  Collisions on the county’s rural roads are also down, with an overall reduction of 5% in the last three years.  These latest figures are incredibly encouraging and prove that the hard work and innovative campaigns we are running to make our roads safer are paying off.  We won’t be complacent though, and will continue to work with our colleagues at the Fire Service and Police and wider Safer Roads Partnership to make our roads even safer.

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