Working for the future of Bedford & Kempston

Please note: This site covers the period that I was a Member of Parliament from May 2010 to June 2017. 

Community Relations

Richard at the run for Sports Relief in Bedford Park

I took part in the Sports Relief Mile at Bedford Park on Sunday, running 3 miles in a disappointing time, but enjoyed the event immensely.

It’s great that people are willing to give up their time for such a great cause. The turnout was fantastic and the event organisers did a really good job of cheering us on as we went along – it really helped motivate me to do another lap!

As for my time – well let’s just say, I don’t remember the Park being so big when I was a kid running around.

Ben, Richard and Holly

Ben, Richard and Holly

With only 20 yards of bicycling experience in the last ten years, I was clearly looking for support from others for my “challenge” to cycle from Bedford to Oxford (a 66 mile route) on Saturday. 

I was blessed with support from many people.  First – and crucially – from the Mayor of Kempston, Cllr Steve Collins, who kindly loaned me his bicycle for the trip.  Thank you, Steve, and I promise to return the bike to you in roughly the same shape as you gave it to me. 

Second of all, thanks to the irrepressible Holly, from St Paul’s Church whose prayers for fine weather for the ride were answered in abundance. 

Thanks also to all of the riders who fulfilled the challenge – in part or in full – on behalf of the Beds and Herts Historic Churches Trust.  Please support this worthwhile cause by emailing them here

Finally, a personal word of thanks to Ben Waine who roped me in for this ride.  When I woke up on Saturday morning, I was full of dread at my lack of preparation. I knew I would be the “tortoise” in the race and Ben kindly encouraged me along.  At great surprise to myself and the people who sponsored me (thanks to them too) I made it.  So thanks, Ben, for the encouragement and support.  It turned out to be a great pleasure.

italian Festival

 Not a moment too soon, the people of Bedford had the opportunity to celebrate the unique and special contribution of the Italian community to our town. 

Growing up here, I remember vividly my family’s Saturday morning quests to various Italian stores for favourite breads, cheeses and other provisions.  I remember my first trip overseas – to Italy – as a child and my parents’ subsequent frequent trips back. 

Walking from the front of the Harpur Centre and around to the market square, it truly felt like you were in Italy.  There was dancing, great food, great drink and cars to impress! 

The new statue looks marvellous and will become a treasured addition to the town’s heritage.  The Borough Council deserves much credit for siting it in the heart of the town. 

Let us hope that we will have a second festival very soon.