The death of a friend, new schools, festivals and remembrance.
By Albert Owen MP/AS, Ynys Môn
My early return home for an extended time in the constituency was overshadowed by the death of my colleague and friend, Carl Sargeant. I am still both shocked and upset. Carl was an authentic community man, an astute politician and was great to work with. He was a strong voice for North Wales and I worked closely with him on sensitive matters relating to Anglesey County Council and local communities. He cared about people and he wanted them to have a say in their future. My love and thoughts are with his wife Bernie and his family and friends.
Carl would have wanted us to get out and about in our communities, and I had the pleasure of attending the opening of both Ysgol Cybi and Rhyd y Llan on the Island which are part of the 21st century schools programme by the Welsh Government. I understand the controversy of school mergers and closures and have myself expressed concern. However, I am pragmatic enough to look at outcomes and was impressed by the environment the schools provide the pupils, staff and local areas.
I attended local events including Diwali - the festival of light in Benllech Community and Ex-Servicemen’s Hall, it was great to join in the festivities. Many there play an important role in our health service and in our communities.
On Remembrance Sunday, I took part in a special service and honoured our active service personnel and veterans especially those who gave their lives in war and conflict. This year there was a special tribute to Captain John Fox-Russell VC MC, who was posthumously decorated for outstanding bravery. A local Holyhead man, it was appropriate that a commemorative stone was unveiled at the Cenotaph with a massive community turnout for the Remembrance Sunday commemoration. Following the event I met the family of Capt. Fox-Russell and had a pint with ex-service members of the Royal British Legion who with community partners organised the weekend events to their usual high standard. I was taken aback by the number of young people who supported the remembrance as a mark of respect to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. It is important we never, ever forget.