MP's Column

Congratulations to Helen Glover for her Olympic gold medal win with rowing partner Helen Stanning. This is no mean achievement and to retain Olympic Gold from London 2012 must be a particularly proud moment for her and her family. It's good for West Cornwall to have our sporting champions. I missed most of the coverage of the Olympics because it clashed with an adventure camp that some friends and I started 20 years ago.

Survivealive Outdoor Adventure Camp is a residential activity for young people from West Cornwall. This year we ran a 'mini-Olympics' of our own with twenty different challenges such as shot-put with water balloons, long-jump with tiddlywinks and horse-riding with pantomime-style horses. There were some energetic activities such as high-jump into a water pool, indoor hockey and hurdles over straw bales.

We also went paddle-boarding with Vertical-Blue in Porthleven, played rounders on Perranuthnoe Beach, built a shelter and stayed overnight in woodland, and ran our 25 meter water slide which is always popular.

Many of our leaders are past campers and this year two were undertaking their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential Award. The DoE is an incredible programme and over the years the contribution of these Gold Award candidates has been invaluable.

Anyone who has ever taken part in a residential activity will know that there is something special and precious about spending this time with a group of young people. The leaders learn so much from them and this year was no exception.

Our Fire Service can easily be overlooked, largely because it has been so effective in educating us on how to prevent fires. As a result we rarely have firsthand experience of the essential work they do. The fire at the recycling centre in St Erth last week was an exception (thankfully) and I want to use this opportunity to thank all our fire fighters for their courage, skill and expertise.

Whilst none of us want to be in a position where we need them to respond, we can all rest more easily because of our fire fighters and other emergency services.

Derek Thomas
Member of Parliament for St Ives