Happy New Year

Column in the Barry & District News by Alun Cairns MP:

Just before Christmas we learned of the sad news that Lewis Davies had tragically and unexpectedly passed away in Cambodia, where he had been teaching English. Unfortunately, Lewis’ insurance had lapsed and his family needed support to raise the funds to repatriate his body.

I had known Lewis personally, through his work locally as a passionate community campaigner who was involved with many charities and organisations in Barry including Bro Radio and Atal Y Fro. He stood as a Conservative candidate in local elections in Cadoc and I was terribly sad to hear of his passing. I worked with Lewis’ family over recent days to support them in their dealings with the Foreign Office and their fundraising efforts.

I am touched by how our community in Barry rallied together to support Lewis’ family, donating generously to help them when faced with the most difficult of circumstances. With their help and the intervention of the Repatriation Service Trust (REST), the funds were raised before Christmas to bring Lewis home.

At this time of year when family is so important, the reaction to help Lewis’ family really demonstrated the kindness and compassion in our community. Thank you to everyone who reached out and contributed.

Speaking politically, just before Parliament closed for Christmas, we passed the Withdrawal Agreement which allows us to finally start the process of Getting Brexit Done. Last month, the Conservative Party stood on a manifesto to deliver Brexit and now we are repaying the trust put in us by the British people by acting immediately to do just that.

As we enter the new year, there is a sense of renewed optimism. Over the last decade, we have seen a number of positive developments in Barry and the Vale, with investment and regeneration. I believe that we are in a great position to build on this and enjoy even more success in the decade ahead.

I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. I hope you all enjoy a happy, healthy and successful start to the new decade.