DECEMBER 2021: News from our local MP Jack Lopresti

November 22 2021

A time to remember and reflect

THE act of national remembrance which flows through all our communities and lives for me is  poignant and personal, just as it is for most people.
We must never take for granted the fact we live in a free country and this is only because of the sacrifice and service of previous generations, and the willingness of our current servicemen and women who are doing all it takes to keep us free.
This is personal to me because I had the honour of serving in Afghanistan with 3 Commando  Brigade on Op Herrick 9, where I saw the fantastic service and sacrifice made on operations by many of our people.
One of my sons, Michael, serves with 1RHA Royal Artillery and last year was deployed overseas in  Estonia, as part of NATO's enhanced forward presence, and I am very proud of him.
There are currently more than 6,000 military personnel deployed on 39 operations in 46 countries around the world. The job of protecting our freedoms is constant, and we must always be vigilant  and prepared.
I would like to pay particular tribute to the Royal British Legion, who raise £50 million a year for  veterans’ welfare. I’m vice-chairman of my local RBL Stoke Gifford branch, and I have seen first-hand the great efforts made to raise money by poppy sales. Thank you to all the local volunteers who  have worked very hard during this year’s appeal. If anyone knows any veteran in difficult  circumstances, the RBL have local outreach teams which can help. Not only does the Legion do an  amazing job with its welfare outreach programme but it brings together a huge community of  people with over 40,000 volunteers across the country out in force this month – myself included - collecting donations for the Poppy Appeal.
I would also like to offer my congratulations to the Downend Round Table team on the fantastic 50th anniversary of their fireworks display at the King George V playing fields. I remember attending the Downend Round Table as a small boy with my dad, so I always try to ensure I attend this wonderful event – and this year’s spectacle did not disappoint.
Well done to all involved for putting on a great  show for our community: I particularly enjoyed the mulled wine from the Great Western Brewery Tent!
I was however appalled to learn that, later that evening, the generator used to light the event was  stolen, leaving a significant dent in the proceeds raised for charity. I do hope that by the time you  read this, the generator has been recovered. A JustGiving website where you can make a contribution towards the cost of the stolen generator is at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/abimiles92.
Lastly, in the final edition of the year, and with the festive season approaching us, I would like to  take the opportunity to wish all readers of the Downend Voice a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
I think this festive time of year is a chance for us all to pause, recharge and reflect, and really  appreciate and enjoy spending time with those closest to us.