Mark Fletcher MP for Bolsover says that against the firm backdrop of a pandemic, there are many reasons for optimism locally in 2022
First and foremost, thank you to all of you who got in touch after my last article in So Bolsover regarding the sad passing of my former colleague and friend Sir David Amess. Your generosity and kindness meant a lot in my period of grief.
Secondly, hello and welcome 2022! Usually we hope for the next year to be better than the last, but you’ve got to think the odds are very much on 2022’s side after 2021! We started last year with another lockdown and ended with Omicron, not exactly what we all hoped Santa would deliver.
We did have some good moments last year. England making the final at the Euro’s, brilliant success at the Olympics and Paralympics, Raducanu winning the US open, the brilliant vaccine campaign (I’m writing this a couple of hours before I get my booster!) and having a few months of normality after opening up in July.
But, even locally, 2021 felt a bit like being Lewis Hamilton in the final lap of the Abu Dhabi grand prix, even when you’re 12 seconds ahead and about to win, external forces take it from your grasp. The launch of Bolsover in Bloom saw a biblical amount of rain fall on the town. The Lantern Parade coincided with arctic style winds and cold. 2021 was just not kind to us.
Yet all around me I see the very best of our community. I’m a Governor at Bolsover School, and the staff and students there continue to show me that our future is very bright. I look at the Rotary Club and see the amazing work they do to bring the community together. Similarly, the Freedom Project, Boza Youth, the Woodlands Enterprise; our community rising up together.
I remember spending Armistice Day with the staff, children and parents of Palterton Primary, trying not to become too emotional as they delivered an impeccable service dedicated not only to our service men and women who have given their lives, but also to the animals who served alongside them. Or being part of the amazing parade on Remembrance Day through the streets of Bolsover and seeing the hundreds of people who’d come to pay their respects.
Or learning about ‘the Brockley way’ as I toured the school in Shuttlewood, meeting some of the most passionate staff and governors I’ve come across in my time in education. So yes, 2021 may have seen us with our backs against the wall, and you can argue that – like a lot of ex mining areas – we are too used to that, but there are also many reasons for optimism in 2022 and beyond.
Our high street continues to be busy, with new additions like the Sanctuary proving that businesses want to invest here. New housing continues to bring in people who can’t wait to tell me how much they love living here, and how our community is ‘so welcoming’. Our schools continue to work day in and day out to prepare our children for the challenges of the modern workplace. We are a town on the rise.
Being the Member of Parliament for Bolsover is the greatest honour of my life, for the very simple reason that the communities I represent are so brilliant. I see the very best in society and humanity in our area, tolerance, supportiveness, and aspiration, with nobody left behind. No amount of Covid, biblical rain or arctic winds will ever get in the way of that; and my only New Year’s Resolution (ok, other than trying to lose weight!) is to keep championing the very best in our communities and being positive for our future.
Article published in BolSOver magazine January 2022 issue 5- read more - So Bolsover Magazine issue 05 January/February 2022 (yumpu.com)