Nick's Week

I mentioned last week that the wine served to the guests on the royal barge in the Jubilee celebrations was produced in Sussex.  By coincidence, last week was English Wine Week - so I had two great reasons to visit Stopham Vineyard, near Pulborough, to see their winemaking in action.

Stopham was first planted in 2007 with 21,000 vines by winemaker Simon Woodhead.  There are many very good new local wine producers in my constituency alone, and I hope that English Wine Week will have helped to raise awareness of them.

English wines continue to go from strength to strength, and Nyetimber's sparkling wine - which was served to The Queen and was also served to heads of state when they visited for the G20 - is a national award winner, beating leading French champagnes.

I enjoy visits in my own constituency, but my ministerial job also takes me around the country, and on Sunday I visited the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire for the first time.

The National Memorial Arboretum opened in 2001 to commemorate those who have given their lives in the service of their country.  As well as the armed forces, it is also a place of remembrance for others who have fallen in the line of duty, including the police. 

I was there for a service organised by Care of Police Survivors, a wonderful charity dedicated to helping the families of police officers who have lost their lives.

They are raising money for a permanent memorial to the 4,000 officers from all of Britain's police services who have died in uniform.  It was salutary to be reminded, once again, of the dangerous job that police officers do and the difficulties faced by the families that they leave behind.

Back in Westminster, Parliament has returned from its recess and in this week alone I am making six speeches in and outside Parliament.  On Tuesday, it was a particular pleasure to attend the 50th anniversary celebrations of the St Giles Trust.

The Trust provides a mentoring service that supports thousands of offenders being released from prison to rebuild their lives and become useful members of society.  This work is vital to the rehabilitation revolution that the Government is driving.  I wish them my very best for another successful fifty years.

Christopher N Howarth