Monday, 15 January 2018

Hexham's Chris is King of the Course!

I would like to send my congratulations to Hexham-born Chris Paisley who has won his first European Tour event of his career at the South African Open in Johannesburg. Chris had six birdies in a six-under final round to finish three shots clear of South Africa’s Branden Grace. Chris’ achievement is especially remarkable as his regular caddie was on holiday and Chris’ wife Keri stepped in instead, clearly doing a brilliant job! Chris will now climb to a career-high ranking of just outside the top 120. Congratulations Chris on your amazing achievement- I'll be following your career achievements with interest.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Preparing our hospitals for winter

Winter is the busiest time of year for the NHS, with huge additional pressures on staff and resources. It is therefore great news for patients and residents that the Government has invested millions of pounds in our local NHS hospital trusts this winter, with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust allocated up to £1,019,000 and the Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust receiving up to £2,235,746. This additional funding, along with the most extensive preparations ahead of the winter season ever, will ensure that our hospitals are able to cope as well as possible with the pressures that cold weather and flu can bring. We all want to know that the NHS is there for us and our families whenever we need it, so I'm pleased the Government is giving the NHS extra support at this critical time of year. A heartfelt thanks to everyone who works in the NHS for everything that you do.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

A Racing Certainty

It was a pleasure to spend time in Otterburn recently visiting Girsonfield Stud & Racing and celebrating its successful expansion with the support of a grant from a European rural funding Scheme.  The LEADER programme grant, worth over £9,000 has helped Girsonfield Stud & Racing increase the number of stables and improve training facilities with the addition of a new horse walker. The LEADER scheme is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). 

Racehorse owners and members of the Northumberland Uplands LEADER Action Group joined owners Susan and Frank Corbett for a tour of the stables and facilities, and I was thrilled to be asked to ride eight year old Harleys Max, who was born at Girsonfield and hand reared after his mother died, and has already won over fences.  

Girsonfield employs eight full time staff and two part-timers, with an average age of 19, and encourages all the staff to attend training courses to increase their skills and employability.  With 32 horses in training, and a number of syndicates available to make ownership more affordable, the yard is going from strength to strength under the stewardship of Susan.  Girsonfield’s resident Stallion - Kutub - is leased from Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum and is a triple Group 1 Winner.  

Girsonfield is a real example of a successful, expanding rural business, which is offering real jobs and career opportunities to young people from the area.  I wish them every success, and look forward to visiting again.