Alun looks back on superb year for the Vale

Column by Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP for the Glamorgan GEM


As we enter 2019, I would like to begin by wishing everyone a very Happy New Year.

Readers will be aware from my column before Christmas, I’m incredibly positive and optimistic as we look towards the New Year. Locally, the regeneration of the Barry & the Vale is continuing, jobs are being created and we are attracting high level investment to the area.

Once again, I worked with many excellent community organisations on a range of initiatives over the course of the last year and I am looking forward to continuing this work in 2019.

This included raising over £3000 for the Royal British Legion through my 100 Wreath Commemoration, in which 100 local school children laid 100 wreaths to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War. I’d like to pay tribute to the local businesses who donated, the schools who got involved and the Royal British Legion who work tirelessly to support our service men and women and veterans.

I also ran my 7th London Marathon to raise money for local causes, which amounted to over £10,000. This was split between Atal Y Fro, a local women’s aid charity, and children’s charity NSPCC. This year I’ll be running the Marathon again to raise money for two more incredibly deserving causes, which will soon be revealed, and I will once again be very grateful for donations to support their work.

One of the key projects that I worked on last year involved helping to make the Vale a more Dementia Friendly community, so that those living with dementia do so within a more tolerant and understanding environment. Cowbridge has taken the lead on this locally and it’s excellent to see the positive impact it has had on the community there. With this in mind, I worked with the Alzheimer’s Society to hold Dementia Friendly training in Llantwit Major, beginning the process of creating a Dementia Friendly Llantwit. It was a great success, with many members of local community groups getting involved and we’ve now launched a focus group which will work on getting businesses and other members of the community involved. I’m also pleased that community members in Barry and Dinas Powys have been working towards this. For me this is just the start and I look forward to working with community groups across Barry and the Vale this year as we continue with this important initiative.

I want to take this opportunity to recognise the many people locally who do incredible work within our community. It’s always fantastic to see when their hard work is rewarded and that’s why I’m delighted that many excellent individuals from the Vale of Glamorgan have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for 2019.

Amongst those honoured included the following from the Vale of Glamorgan, Consultant Clinical Oncologist Professor Thomas Crosby OBE of Velindre Cancer Care for services to cancer services in Wales, The Crown Prosecution Service’s Area Business Manager Michael Grist OBE, for services to law and order, Stephen Marsh BEM of the Metropolitan Police Service for services to policing, Richie Paines BEM of South Wales Police for services to policing, and Catherine Watkins BEM for services to education and to young people in Rhoose. I was very sorry to hear that Catherine had sadly passed away before she could receive the award.

I want to pay tribute to these individuals, who have achieved their honours through years of dedication to public services in many different forms, all of which contribute to bettering our community.

Also recognised in the Honours list is Alan Peterson, who I worked with last year while I was raising funds for NSPCC Cymru through running the London Marathon. Alan is the NSPCC’s Appeal Board Chairman and has received a thoroughly deserved OBE for his services to charitable fundraising in Wales.

I’m very much looking forward to the next 12 months, championing the Vale and doing all I can to support regeneration and job creation. If I can ever assist you with any matters, please be in touch and I will be more than happy to help.

Best wishes for 2019!