Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Front Bench visitors to Rugby

We have had the pleasure of welcoming two more members of David Cameron's Shadow Cabinet to Rugby over the past couple of weeks. The first was Jeremy Hunt MP, Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport who, in the home of the game, visited players and officials from Rugby Lions Rugby Club. Jeremy heard about the challenges of encouraging youngsters who start off playing the game as Mini Rugby to keep on playing as they get older and the pressures on a club with aspirations in the professional era where it is increasingly hard for a club to find the money to meet the wages bill. With two sons having worked their way through the Minis and Juinor section, I know just what a good job the Lions do with young people, despite limited facilities caused by the restricted site. The press who joined us on the visit were keen to play up Jeremy's vote as most fanciable male MP, when he was keen to point out that the competition was pretty limited!

Our second visitor was Francis Maude MP, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who is no stranger to this area, having been MP for North Warwickshire between 1983 and 92. Francis and I visited the Benn Partnership in Railway Terrace where we saw the drop-in and training facilities they offer to many groups in the town.
Having been established with Lottery funding, the centre has recently recieved grant aid from the Borough Council which is enabling the good work to continue. Afterwards Francis joined Association members at the Romna Restaurant in Regent Street where the owner Mr Sidque and his staff provided an excellent lunch.