Monthly Archives: February 2019


Rory has welcomed The Royal British Legion’s launch of the first Handy Vans Service in Cumbria.

This service, which is delivered free of charge, gives home repairs and maintenance to eligible Armed Forces personnel, veterans and their families, dependents or carers, allowing them to remain safe in their homes. It is available to both serving and ex-serving personnel and will be delivered in Cumbria by Neil Pantin from Carlisle, who is the first fitter to be employed by the Legion in the county. There are now 23 Royal British Legion Handy Vans operating across the UK, and it is one of the many services supported by funds raised by the annual Poppy Appeal in Cumbria.

Mr Pantin said, “Our aim is to help people live independently in their own homes – a lot of tradesman might not want to come out to change a light bulb or fix a tap, put up a shelf or fit a grab rail, but it’s those smaller jobs that give people the freedom to remain safe and independent in their own homes. I’ve seen the service work in other cities and people are so appreciative and I’ve met some amazing ex-servicemen and women along the way. I’m excited now to be replicating that service in Cumbria.”

Commenting on this, Rory said: “We owe our soldiers and veterans the most profound debt of gratitude and I very much welcome the news that Handy Vans in coming to Cumbria. The Royal British Legion does the most fantastic work in supporting our Armed Forces Community and I would like to pay a huge tribute to them and to Neil, for bringing this service to Cumbria and for all that they do”.


Rory is to unveil a plaque commemorating the site of the Lycée Francais, which relocated to Cumbria during the Second World War.

The unveiling will take place at Another Place on Friday 1 March at 16:10pm, with speeches by Mr Stewart, Claudine Ripert, the Director of the French Institute and French Cultural Counsellor of the French Embassy, and Professor Gilles Kepel, the distinguished French academic, whose father was evacuated to Ullswater during the war. The decision to commemorate the school’s site was made by both Mr Stewart and Professor Kepel in recognition of the welcome that Ullswater gave to refugee students from war torn Europe.

The Lycée was founded in 1915, in order to provide an education to French-speaking evacuees from Europe. During the Second World War, seeking to protect its students from the horrors of the Blitz, the school relocated, first to Cambridge and then to Cumbria. Students from across Europe, whose families had fled the horrors of the war, lived and studied in four hotels in Ullswater, which are today Another Place, Waterfoot Park and an Outward Bound Centre. After the war, the Lycée returned to London and remains there to this day. Many of those who studied at its Ullswater site went on to become prominent public figures in France, including Claire Tomalin and Pierre Mendès France.

Mr Stewart said: “I am very much looking forward to this unveiling, which will commemorate a powerful example of the strong, historic connection between Britain and France. The story of how the Lycée Francais came to Ullswater, and the sterling work that its staff did to educate a generation of refugees and evacuees, is an inspirational one and it is right that we should mark it in this way. I very much hope that this monument to that work will encourage others to reflect upon our area’s deep history and its proud role during the Second World War”.


Eden Valley Friends of Dementia UK

Rory is encouraging people to get behind a new dementia support group launched in Eden.

The Eden Valley Friends of Dementia UK became an official Dementia UK fundraising group at the beginning of February. The group’s aim is to raise £50,000 to pay for an Admiral Nurse in Cumbria.

Fran Flower, of Culgaith, was inspired to set up the group as she is determined to get an Admiral Nurse in Cumbria. While caring for her husband, John, near the end of his life, Fran found Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse Helpline invaluable. She received practical advice and suggestions for her husband’s treatment but most of all, they gave her support and calming reassurance.

The Eden Valley Friends of Dementia UK has now set about fundraising with gusto. On Saturday, March 2nd, they are holding a Dementia Awareness Day at Langwathby Village Hall. Everyone is welcome at the event which will run from 10.30am until 3pm. There will be homemade cakes and soup available.

Mr Stewart and the Dementia Group met at Temple Sowerby Medical Practice to discuss how caring for loved ones can affect families and friends and how an Admiral Nurse could make a real difference.

After the meeting, Mr Stewart said: “Throughout my constituency people are affected by dementia – whether suffering from it themselves or caring for a loved one who is. And for those carers, it can be incredibly tough.

“It was fantastic to meet Fran and her team who are so determined to make a difference to people’s lives – it would be great to have an Admiral Nurse in Cumbria.They have my full support and I hope many other people will also get behind them.”


Save Penrith psot office

Rory has launched a petition to save Penrith Post Office from its planned closed.

The Post Office management is currently planning to relocate its Penrith operation from a standalone site on Crown Square to the WH Smith on Angel Square. A consultation has been launched, to gauge the community’s opinion on this, with many raising their concerns about the space selected.

Mr Stewart, who has championed the importance of rural post offices since his election in 2010, declared himself opposed to these plans when they were announced and met with Post Office representatives on Friday to voice the community’s concerns. After this meeting, he launched a petition to save the Post Office, which, since going live, has received over 1,100 signatures.

Commenting on this, Rory said: “I would like to urge everybody who uses the Post Office, to submit a response to the enquiry and, if they agree with me that the loss of our Penrith branch would be unacceptable, to sign my petition. My team and I will be circulating physical petitions around Penrith, and there is also an online petition that can be found at or by Googling ‘Save Penrith Post Office’.

“I’m hopeful that, by demonstrating the strength of local feeling on this issue, we will be able to make the Post Office management think again. I’d like to thank everybody who has signed, so far, and encourage everybody else to do so. Our Post Offices are far too precious to lose”.


Rory appeared on the Today Programme this morning to discuss Brexit, the state of negotiations and the nation’s prisons. Watch it here:

Sky News with Adam Boulton:

TalkRadio with Julia Hartley-Brewer:

And Good Morning Britain:

And BBC Breakfast:

And LBC:

And ITN:


Save Penrith psot office

Dear friend,

I hope you are very well.

I have just launched a petition to stop the “relocation” of Penrith Post Office to WHSmith, as I do not want to see any of its services downgraded. Post Offices are vital to our local communities and I would be extremely grateful if you could sign my petition to stop it from happening.

(We will present the petition to the Post Office consultation on the relocation, which closes in March)






Time to Talk Day

Rory met with Suicide Safer Eden (SSE) to discuss issues around suicide and the importance of talking about mental health.

Mr Stewart had an in depth discussion with a group of volunteers in Eden, who work towards reducing loss of life to suicide within the area. SSE explained how they believes suicide is a community wide public health issue and everyone can do something to help. It encourages people to be ‘helpfully nosey’ – to ask people how they are feeling, listen to them and direct them towards help.

SSE often hosts public sessions that look at the facts and figures around suicide, why suicide should be talked about and what people can do to help prevent suicide by being aware of the ‘signs’ that someone may be having thoughts of suicide. The charity also has local champions around Eden who raise awareness of suicide.

Thursday, February 7th, is Time to Talk Day – when people are encouraged to talk about their mental health. Time to Change, which started the initiative, argues conversations about mental health helps break down stereotypes, improve relationships, aid recovery and take the stigma out of something that affects everyone.

After the meeting, Mr Stewart said: “Talking about mental health is so important and can make a real difference to people’s lives.  It was really interesting talking to the volunteers at Suicide Safer Eden, who are doing some great work to raise awareness of suicide, and learn more about how everyone can help prevent suicide.

“If you are struggling with your mental health, I would encourage you to contact your local GP or contact Samaritans on 116 123.”


Rory appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions last night to discuss knife crime, Brexit, Venezuela and the importance of kindness. Listen to it here: