It’s one of those things isn’t it: did we meet him, or vice versa?
Gavin Williamson, that is; our local (south Staffordshire) M.P.
We were representing Cheslyn Hay Community Allotments at a South Staffordshire Community Voluntary Action celebration at Perton back in June – he was opening the event.
He was brief and amusing in his remarks and spent the day visiting each of the many stalls; where he demonstrated the knack of making each group feel special and showing an interest in what was on offer. That, of course included our “custom built barrow”*. And he mentioned that he would like to come and see the whole site, but was unavailable for the planned Open Day.
Several mails and ‘phone calls later we arranged it all and he duly turned up; smaller car than I had expected, but the same keen questioning enquiries and the ability not to always take himself too seriously. He was accompanied by the head boy of Cheslyn Hay High School , on a “work experience” scheme. He represented his school, himself and indeed, Gavin Williamson extremely well and was fully involved throughout.
Gavin himself had remembered his promise to provide a trophy for the Scarecrow parade, had a guided tour of the site, passing compliments on individual plots, plants and certain crops. He was happy to take up a spade and turn the first spadesful of soil to begin to prepare the ground for the composting toilet (our thanks to West Midlands Co-op for the funding) and pose for photographs.
He was accompanied by a young man named Jay, head boy at Cheslyn Hay High School who was mature, responsible and a great representative throughout, certainly deserving od special mention for his insight and the way he joined in while remaining respectful and interested. We had prepared a cup of tea and biscuit break and sat together sipping tea and chatting about a number of subjects: fracking, HS2, wine making, allotments, backgrounds and families. This was perhaps the first official informal (if such a thing is possible?) use of the community area for this purpose: sitting together, chatting, with refreshments and the wonderful sense of community-togetherness which, happily, pervades these allotments these days.
Leaving us to go on to an M.P.s surgery he complimented the style of management and praised the forward thinking that is going on (typified by the raised beds he saw).
The self-same “barrow” that was used for Cheslyn Hay Open Gardens Day and at the Age UK/Eat Well meeting in Essington … and we plan to use during the Open Day (this Saturday, from noon – 4).
See you there ?