View from Westminster - Ripon MP Julian Smith reports back

Julian Smith at the gritter museum
Julian Smith at the gritter museum

What a month June was with pouring rain and bright sunshine – a typical British summer.

Thankfully the sun came out when the Olympic Torch came to Ripon, as did thousands of people ho greeted the flame which started in Greece and will make its way to London and the Olympic stadium later this month.

For those like me who have been keen to ensure the Olympics brought benefits for North Yorkshire but also keen to ensure North Yorkshire got behind the Olympics, it was a really important moment and established a close link between what will be taking place in the capital and our part of the country.

We also have other links – such as the great achievement by Ripon’s Jack Laugher who has been selected for the UK diving team. He will be competing at his first Olympics in the 3m Individual event.

He won gold in the event at the 2010 Junior World Championships and finished eighth in his first senior World Championships last year. Let’s hope he can emulate that success in London.

June started on a less dry and sunny note but with plenty of celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I was among those who attended the official North Yorkshire celebration of Her Majesty’s 60 years at Ripon Cathedral and pay tribute to the organisers of that event and the many others that took place across the area.

Also on Jubilee weekend, I joined the thousands at the Yorkshire County Show in Nidderdale. I met with some of the young farmers who were behind the event and my wife and I enjoyed looking at the high quality of entries in the competitions - it’s not just livestock as these ranged from flower arranging to cake baking.

We have excellent tourist attractions in our area from Fountains Abbey to the Lightwater Valley and Newby Hall. Within Ripon there are also excellent places to visit – Ripon Museums, the cathedral and many more. The co-ordination between these venues is led by Ripon Ring which does excellent work to bring people together, discuss shared challenges and put together plans for the future.

I joined Ripon Ring for one of their meetings at Newby Hall and heard the need to ensure better co-ordination of transport, the desire for more support from tourism bodies like Visit England and the importance of weather forecasts on tv. Following the meeting I am asking Parliamentary Questions on the issues raised and writing to broadcasters to ensure they don’t put people off going to outside attractions if they’re not certain of rain.

I opened another groundbreaking attraction in Ripon – the Gritter Museum. Econ Engineering employs almost 200 people at their base and to celebrate its history, and its work producing highways maintenance vehicles, it has put together a collection of information and vehicles in the new museum. It is the world’s first such attraction and, once again, shows how Ripon can lead the way!

I have also been to Ripon Community Link to hear about its work and the issues they are encountering which I can help with. It’s an organisation which does excellent work for people with challenging needs and I am sure it has a strong future.

All in all, June was a very busy month. I hope that during July we may finally see summer arrive!