Our coastline is what makes Cornwall so special and attracts thousands of visitors each year. However, the tragic loss of six lives along the British coast, including that of Rudy Bruynius who died in Newquay last week, serves as a wake-up call to the dangers of our coastline.
When I heard the news I was reminded of an online service called BeachWise that was launched at the start of this summer's season. BeachWise is supported by a number of organisations including Cornwall Council, the Environment Agency, RNLI, South West Water and Visit Cornwall.
The website offers advice on the best ways to enjoy a safe trip to the seaside and encourages all of us to do our bit for the beach. You can visit this new online tool (with '20 top tips to help beachgoers enjoy a safe, fun, healthy and relaxing day by the sea') at www.beachwise.uk.
Our coastline provides the opportunity for all of us to pursue outdoor activities but we can never take for granted the dangers associated with the coast and the sea.
Please excuse me for using this column to go further afield and bring attention to one of the great unsung success stories of our time.
Polio is now all but eradicated worldwide after a concerted international effort to rid us of this disease. Polio remains in Afghanistan and Pakistan (largely due to tribal groups opposed to this international programme) and in Nigeria where two cases have occurred in two years. However, in the past, hundreds of thousands of people had been crippled or killed every year by polio and, thankfully, we are close to reaching the target to vanquish polio forever by 2019. This is something to celebrate and it should spur us on in our efforts to address other preventable conditions and illnesses.
On the 9th and 10th of September I am hosting health fairs in Helston and Penzance and our emergency services, Cornwall Council, health professionals and a number of community organisations will be on hand to offer advice and help, particularly as we head towards another winter.
Further details are available from my office.
Member of Parliament for St Ives