I would like to send a very hearty thank-you to all who attended Saturday's Winter Dinner at Tavistock Town Hall. We were lucky to have in attendance Johnny Mercer MP the paladin of armed forces veterans and creator of the Office for Veterans' Affairs, who holds the position of Minister for Veterans' Affairs in the Cabinet. Also in attendance was our very own Sir Geoffrey Cox KC and despite being a little under the weather, he offered us his usual rousing, engaging words.
After a delicious two course buffet supper provided by Taylors of Tavistock, Tavistock Town Hall rafters were filled with the sound of laughter and you could’ve heard a pin drop as Johnny Mercer regaled us with the story of how he went from being an officer in the army, to an MP in a previously labour seat, with the help of his lovely wife Felicity who was also there. And finally achieved his ambition of making a difference for veterans by becoming the Secretary of State for veterans affairs.
Hearing from Johnny is always so humbling, his struggle and his journey into politics is truly unique. Johnny speaks from the heart and has achieved so much already for some of the most vulnerable and the almost forgotten, even in not too distant memory. And his achievements are many, despite not getting the widespread publicity they deserve.
For instance, through his work there will be no veteran on the street this Christmas... And, in the words of the man himself, "If there is, I will want to know why." This is a remarkable achievement, overdue but still a testament to what one very motivated and dedicated man can achieve; and he is not finished! He told us his next goal is to enshrine what he has achieved in law and I offer my complete support as he moves ahead, as I am sure we all do.
Once again, my heartfelt thanks to all who attended a very successful evening. This year's auction prizes were truly astounding and an extra thanks to all who donated. Our Deputy Chair Fundraising and Membership, Debbie Flint did an outstanding job as usual, aided by Susan Collins with the raffle. We’d like to thank in particular anyone who made a donation that helped provide a Young Conservative's table – far more under 26s than are often seen at Conservative events, well done all concerned including Helena Penfold the YC Regional Chair, welcomed by our very own YC Chair, Evan Williams.
Finally after the auction and the raffle, our relatively new but extremely accomplished deputy chair political, Ken Hind, gave the vote of tanks and presented flowers to our VIP guests. Having been an MP, and a barrister, and an experienced campaign, Ken is a very welcome addition to our association and we look forward to supporting him with the campaigning in what will be a very important year for the Conservatives next year.
Our Association felt very strong on the night with nearly 100 people in the room, and we are definitely together which fills me with confidence. That united front, that togetherness we have is what will see us well as we now move forwards and we need to be really careful that we don’t end up with Keir Starmer.
I hope to see you all at the next event. (TBC)
County Councillor Jeff Wilton-Love