TIM LOUGHTON: Children’s Parade is biggest and best yet

Tim Loughton
Tim Loughton

One of my favourite constituency events of the year is the Worthing Children’s Parade now in its 11th year and this time it was by far the biggest and best yet.

No fewer than 23 schools and a debut entry by the youth mayor and the Worthing Youth Council paraded around the town from the promenade to Steyne Gardens and for the 11th time I was privileged to play the part of compère and welcome them to the waiting crowds.

The theme was Harry Potter and some amazing Hagrids, thestrals, hippogriffs, Voldemorts and much else besides survived the stiff breeze, helped by some heavily perspiring parents and teachers who had done most of the heavy lifting.

An enormous amount of work goes into creating the stunning centrepieces and it always strikes me as such a shame that they are nearly all dismantled once the parade is over rather than going on display for more people to see.

Congratulations to art teacher Carolyn Woodward and all her team who once again showed that what Brighton does Worthing can do a whole lot better.

On Friday I once again came across one of those local charity gems that makes East Worthing and Shoreham such a special constituency, namely the youth charity ESTEEM based at the Old School House in Shoreham. ESTEEM aims to empower young people, aged 14 to ­26 years, who have been either through the care system or are classified as ‘NEET’.

Through confidence building events, activities, courses and volunteering opportunities, ESTEEM provides a platform for young people to help themselves to achieve employment and their own goals.

The charity was set up a few years ago by Val Vizor whose family grew up helping children in the care system and is now run by her daughter Cat. I have met some of the people they have helped for who their intervention has been transformational, some of whom have now gone on to get engaged with the local community and act as mentors and volunteers in their own right.

They are always on the lookout for new volunteers, trustees or just new opportunities to get involved in community projects.

On Sunday I joined a packed St Mary de Haura congregation in Shoreham to bid farewell to Rural Dean and long-time priest in the diocese the Rev Terry Stratford. Terry’s connections with the church in Shoreham go back to the 1960’s and there were many there to reminisce and wish him and his wife a happy retirement in Seaford. Not that vicars ever really retire as I know from my father, a retired vicar in Seaford who was confirmed at St Mary de Haura in the 1940’s.

If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or email me at loughtont@parliament.uk

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