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Sunday, 14 October 2012

PKWA Cricket Club Celebration Event

As always, it was a great pleasure to be at the PKWA this evening, celebrating another successfull year for their cricket club. Seeing them all reminds me what an immense privilege it is to represent along with my ward colleagues, this marvellous community.
Cricket is a great sport, which people young and old (up to a degree), can participate in and all enjoy. It’s a great way to stay fit and healthy and let off steam without causing any harm, meet different people take part in what amounts to ritual battle with its various aspects but at the end of the match, remain good friends. It’s a sort of conflict where everyone sticks to the rules and no one gets hurt, usually.
Cricket has become ingrained into our culture and language. We make fair play and “playing the game” a priority in all we do. If we think something is not fair, we say its just not cricket.
Would it not be great if we could resolve our disputes through a cricket match. Instead of elections, a cross-party cricket tournament would n’t that be more entertaining? I think Labour would be pretty save in Batley! In international conflict, a cricket match instead of war, so in Iraq, a President Bush 11 against Saddam Hussain’s 11 would have saved a lot of blood shed.
Cricket has become very popular in Afghanistan so why don’t all the political factions have cricket teams instead of armies so that foreign powers would have no excuse to invade. A Taliban cricket team might get a lot of support in a match against a Government 11 even if it was infiltrated by the CIA!
We are a long way off using cricket to resolve disputes but it can be used to build bridges and we should continue to use cricket as a way to bring communities closer together. It is good to see its popularity growing locally and our teams continuing to do so well. Many congratulations to the PKWA cricket team for becoming champions this year, we are very proud of you all.
On another note, it’s good to see this community centre being used. It is a great asset for the community and needs to be used fully for it to remain viable, so please support it as much as you possibly can.
Thank you.

25th Anniversary Celebration Service for West Yorkshire Ecumenical Council

This was a service to celebrate 25 years of WYEC celebrating Christian Unity, at Batley Methodist Church. The service was introduced by Rev Deborah Wainwright, conducted by Rev Dr Clive Barrett, County Ecumenical Development Officer. Church leaders present included Bishop Steven Platten of Wakefield, Bishop Tony Robinson of Pontefract and His Grace, Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster who gave the sermon.
The introductory joyous hymns from the choir and musicians and the wonderful piano player, set the scene for what was to come and the Wesley Singers excelled throughout the service. In the symbols and stories of churches working together, it was humbling to hear of the marvellous work of church groups who go out and give service to the community. These included Dewsbury Care, which offers food and comfort to vulnerable people, the Street Angels in Huddersfield, Batley Care, which provides a drop in facility at Batley Methodist Church as well as a number of other groups.
Archbishop Nichols in his sermon, said that as well as this year being the year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of WYEC, it was also the 25th anniversary of the Swanwick Declaration which led to the “Churches Together” groups which have since appeared. It’s also the 50 years since the Second Vatican Council opened, which led to huge change in the Catholic Church which reverberated throughout the Christian Faith. Pope Benedict has said recently, that the emotional tension during Vatican 2 from the need to proclaim Christ afresh in a new age without conceding the spirit of the past.  Vatican 2 confirmed the stance to offer society a secular outlook, to science, autonomy, to other religions including other Christian denominations, open relations of respect for each other in an exchange of views and convictions. A shared means to communicate a single story for all to hear.
We heard in the Reading from St Paul to the Thessalonians, Be at peace, admonish the idlers, warn the quitters, encourage the faint-hearted to be brave. Help the weak, don’t let them drift away without being noticed, the approached will take up the journey. The three key messages are: Be happy, rejoice! Be full of prayer and always be in the presence of God. Remove self-satisfaction; be thankful for there are always blessings to count.
John’s gospel said that prayer reaches out beyond the inner circle of disciples, prayers of evangelism. Christ, the first evangelist was sent so that through him we may see the face of God and through him enter God. Christ said the glory you have given me, I have given them so they may be one in the glory of Jesus. We learn three things: the glory of Christ is our suffering, honour and witness; obedience to the Father, not our own will is essential; the relationship with the Father and Holy Spirit. We pray our witness to Christ will be to share his pain and sorrow and to be one in the glory of Christ is to be one in God.
It was an extremely uplifting occasion and the joy on everyone’s face in the congregation, was evident for all to see as they shook hands with the Archbishop and left the church.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Saturday Live Youth Club

I had an interesting Saturday afternoon at Young Batley at the Saturday Live Youth Club for young people with additional needs Video games and pool were the most popular activities. It was good to see the young people getting on well, doing things together and having fun. I enjoyed the lively atmosphere and the home-made pizza they made.

I then visited the Sportz Factor multi games session for girls 13+ at Batley Baths and that was also hectic, with about 20 girls in attendance. Most were enjoying the arts and crafts activities which included making jewellery, nail decoration and henna type hand decorations. Dance mats were also available and are usually very popular as is the multi-gym and the swimming baths which are all available for only £1. The first session is free and if a friend comes along its half price. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon for girls 13 and over.

I just caught the back end of the Youth Futures lab activities class at Batley Cricket Club. This is another fun Saturday afternoon activities session for primary school aged children. It is run by qualified teachers and gives youngsters an insight of science in a fun way, and shows the types of jobs it leads too. This week, chemistry was the topic and the children made lava lamps and carried out  a chromatography experiment on inks, to find the pen of a crime suspect and gain some understanding of forensic science. The kids were eager to learn but also had a lot of fun.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Wilton Park Water Cascade

The final act of the centenary celebrations for Wilton Park, was the switch on of the the water feature, the cascade at the park lake and I was privileged to be involved and to welcome people to Wilton Park.

It was a beautiful day, which made it easy to see what a marvellous resource this is for the community in Batley. It’s the most popular, best used park in Kirklees and attracts people from far and wide.
I’ve been a visitor to the park for the 40 years I’ve lived in Batley, I brought my children here when they were young and I now bring my grandchildren. My two year old grandson is on his way to Batley from Cheltenham and he will certainly want to play in the park this weekend.
The park has been a great family attraction this it opened and during the past 12 months, we have been celebrating the centenary of the park and Bagshaw Museum at the top of the hill. There has been a programme of events which we have enjoyed, funded by a lottery grant and run through a partnership of Kirklees Council and a volunteer group in the park, led by Gerry Hird, one of our local heroes and my personal hero. There are some lasting reminders of the centenary, such as the centenary memorial stone outside the museum, the nature trail, the new duck houses, the new planting and the final act is the renewal of the cascade, bringing it back into use in its former glory. All this makes our park an even greater attraction hopefully, for many years to come.

The council will need to work in partnership with community groups increasingly in future and we need a group of volunteers here in the park, if we want it to remain a great family attraction in future so if anyone is interested, please get in touch. Gerry is moving on to pastures new. I’d like to thank him and the Friends of Wilton Park for the good work they have done, particularly over the last couple of years and best of luck for the future Gerry.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

National Citizen Service Programme


I was delighted to attend The NCS graduation ceremony for the first Kirklees cohort. Over 30 groups of young people spent three weeks of their summer holiday with the University if the First Age, firstly training, then working out a project and then finally delivering it. The groups gave a brief presentation of their projects and received their certificates and rapturous applause.
Some groups spent time in care homes offering support and entertainment to older people, others held events and sold food they had made, to raise money for charity, some very successfully. I bumped into one group at the Pink Picnic’s little picnic. They had made elaborately decorated iced buns which they were selling with cups of tea. I bought half a dozen and my grandson enjoyed  them.
The NCS programme gave young people the opportunity to get to know other young people from different parts of Kirklees. It was a chance to have fun whilst also learning life skills, transferable skills needed for employment. It was an opportunity for transforming learning which will make them well rounded individuals, bring benefits which will serve them well in the future and also a chance to contribute to society.

Health Matters

I attended a health awareness raising event at Batley East Children’s Centre today, which focused on health issues that are significant for communities in our area.
The wonderful Expert Patient Programme was represented, as was Locala, weight management advice, KNH sow n grow programme to encourage residents to grow their own vegetables, in their own gardens and on community allotments. There was advice on eye health from an optician and Ravensthorpe Community Centre Learning were there to publicise the learning they offer at their own centre and at other locations. The young children were entertained and healthy snacks and fruit were available. Staff and volunteers gave information on local health issues, prevention and identification by health checks.
The event was very well attended and much credit is due to Khatija, the Children Centre manager for that. The best way to raise health awareness is to take it out into the community so I welcome this approach.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Tree Planting in honour of Sir Robert Edwards 22nd September 2012

Jenny Joy and I, in front of the tree planted in her father's honour 

Batley History Group today, honoured one of Batley’s brightest sons, Sir Robert Edwards, by planting a tree in celebration of his outstanding achievements.
Sir Robert was born in Batley and spent his early years living in what is now Wilton Estate. It was only fairly recently that the history group found out that Sir Robert, one of the pioneering scientists along with Patrick Steptoe, who developed in-vitro fertilisation, had a Batley connection.
It was lovely to see one of Sir Robert’s daughters, Jenny Joy, representing her father and speaking about her father’s life as an academic in Cambridge and of his memories of Batley.
I was particularly pleased to be at the tree planting, along with the Mayor and our MP yet again. Sir Robert lived in what is now Wilton Estate, whose residents are my constituents; as a member of Friends of Wilton Park, I am very pleased that the tree is being planted in the park, near the museum, in the centenary year. Finally, I have a grandson who is a miracle baby conceived by IVF so I really appreciate the achievements of the great man.
The tree is a column copper beech, ideally situated, and though the Mayor joked that it would in years to come, take the tiles off the museum roof, we need not worry. The tree was chosen by our Parks and Open Spaces experts to ensure it was suited to its location and will not damage any part of the museum. Sir Robert’s daughter Jenny agreed, it was a fitting tribute to the great man.