Last week I joined friends and family at Telford Crematorium to say goodbye to much loved community campaigner, John Salt, following his sad and unexpected death.
At times of loss we pay our respects and give thanks for a life well lived. It is also a time for reflection. We think about our own lives, the time we have, and what we appreciate and value most.
John, a long time Telford resident, embodied the Telford spirit - that spirit of hope and optimism, of thinking big, overcoming obstacles, and never giving up whatever the odds.
When I first came to Telford in March 2013, John showed me so much warmth and kindness. I learnt so much from him as I got to know him and got to know Telford. John loved his community. He worked hard for the causes he cared about. He gave so much of his time to voluntary groups and to making life better for others, always with a smile and impish humour.
There are many people like John across Telford. People, who without show or fuss give so much, who lift the spirits and lives of others and make our community strong. It is my privilege to know many of these inspiring people. We must celebrate their contribution and thank them for all they do.
In life we all experience loss and sadness, as well as the challenges and uncertainties of everyday life. No matter what happens in the world around us, our sense of community and connectedness helps us come together and move forward. It has always been that way in Telford.
Over the summer Parliament stops its work, so I will have the chance to again speak to people across Telford to find out what matters most. I will continue work for Telford’s future: ensuring better rail connections, securing investment into local services, making sure we have good access to GP services, getting young people the skills and jobs they need, and supporting local businesses to boost growth in Telford.
I would like to thank everyone, who like John, works hard to build a better future for their community and for Telford. Thanks to John and so many good people like him, we can together continue, in its 50th year to make Telford a great place to live and work and a community of which we can all be proud.