This week sees the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, when the war in the Far East came to an end.
While Nazi Germany had capitulated in May, 1945, some of the most ferocious fighting of the war took place in the following months, until the use of two atomic bombs finally convinced Japan to surrender.
Even after the war, many lost their lives due to the brutal treatment they received as PoWs, including a relative of mine.
Sadly, the threat of Covid-19 means the large events planned to commemorate VJ75 and thank the remaining veterans for the service and sacrifice of their generation have had to have had to be cancelled.
Yet the biggest tribute we can play is to ensure their stories of endurance and bravery are remembered for generations to come, hence I will be joining a service of remembrance in the Burma Star Garden in Paignton to mark 75 years since victory was secured.
BUILDING OUR FUTURE
The sight of two cranes over Paignton’s seafront is great to see and for many summer visitors will be a sign of our bay moving forward despite the current challenges.
The bid for Paignton’s Future High Streets Fund and the Town Investment Plan for Torquay’s Town Deal could see long-neglected sites regenerated, such as Crossways, while helping revive some of the places which make our Bay unique, such as the Torquay Pavilion.
Both these initiatives are possible due to the Government offering unprecedented levels of support for the regeneration of our Bay, with the potential amount being over £40 million, and the level of private sector investment available.
If we can get these projects underway we will not just rebuild to where we were before Coronavirus struck, but create a brighter future too.
In my ministerial role, it is not uncommon to see those who have been here for five years and have a UK ancestry given the right to permanent settlement.
Yet there was a local example of a very different kind as the family of beavers on the River Otter were confirmed as permanent residents after a study showed their presence benefited the environment overall.
The decision is not just significant for beavers, it is the first time the Government has given permission for the reintroduction of an extinct native mammal to England.
I welcome this news and it is good to see this animal, once hunted to extinction, return on a permanent basis.
Following recent changes in public health guidance, I have restarted my regular advice surgeries, although they must be by appointment only.
My next surgeries are from 3pm to 5pm on Friday, August 21, and 11am to 1pm on Saturday, August 29. Both will be held at my office in East Street, Torquay.
Social distancing measures will be in place and please bring a face covering with you unless you have a medical condition which means you cannot wear one.
To book an appointment, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01803 214989.
Daily drop-in sessions from 10am to 1pm weekdays are also available at my office at 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD for residents with urgent queries.
Please be prepared to wait outside if more than one person attends at the same time.