Remembrance events were very different this year and of course it was disappointing not to be able to have a service in the Abbey. But I did place a wreath in the Memorial Park and at the Cenotaph in Southampton early on Sunday morning to pay my respects to those who gave their lives in the service of our country. I was also sent some absolutely beautiful poppy face masks which I not only wear with pride, but also subsequently went online and made a donation to the RBL who have not been able to have their usual poppy sellers out in force around the town.
This week we have heard the good news from Pfizer about progress on the vaccine against Covid-19, but that does come tempered with the caution that it has to go through a number of absolutely essential safety tests yet. I asked Matt Hancock a question in the House about prioritisation of any roll out of the vaccine. He is right to say this must be done based on clinical decisions, but we also need the economy back up and functioning, and part of that will be about making sure teachers and childcare professionals have access to the vaccine, if children are in school parents can continue to go out to work.
We also had a debate in Westminster Hall about obesity and Covid-19. We know that people who are overweight are at greater risk, and the new national obesity strategy is crucially important in empowering people to take control of their own well-being. I spoke to Megan Batchelor of Focused Personal Training, based in Swaythling, on Monday about the importance of physical activity as part of overall wellbeing. I know that the further lockdown period is taking a serious toll on people’s mental and emotional wellbeing, and staying physically active is a very important part of mental health as well.
I am looking forward to a virtual breakfast at the Southampton University Science Park and being able to talk to business leaders there about the challenges they are facing in the current climate. I am painfully aware of how the pandemic has impacted our local economy and as ever will keep pushing the Chancellor to do all that is possible to help the economic recovery.