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After airlifting 15,000 people to safety in two weeks, I pay tribute to our military personnel and all those who worked with them in Afghanistan, and at home, who worked 24/7 to make this possible.   

Afghanistan was certainly spoken about all around the constituency this Bank Holiday weekend where I had a full three days of engagements meeting and greeting people and enjoying the cultural and sports events and festivals we have here. 

One of the highlights included a celebration of diversity at Willingdon Trees Community Centre. There was music, art, food, children’s activity and lots of good conversations. The wonderful Hampden Park Shed, which I visited in May, donated arts and craft materials. It was a great event to bringing people together and recognising the truth that we all have so much in common than anything that divides us. 


I don’t remember a busier Bank Holiday, much is highlighted below, but time has already moved swiftly on with September’s big ‘Back to School’.  

I’ve written to our primary schools to ask them to nominate a Child to represent Eastbourne and Willingdon for the Children’s Virtual Parliament. This event, sponsored by Microsoft and Wakelet, is taking place on Friday 29th October.  

It is being organised ahead of the COP26 Climate Change Conference to be held in Glasgow. It will give children the chance to debate issues relating to climate change, with some time also dedicated to other issues such as COVID-19 and technology.  

It will be a ‘first past the post election’, so the first school to get their nomination to me will be duly elected! 

On Saturday Afternoon I spoke at the Tommy Tomlin Memorial event at Eastbourne Rugby Club. This Royal Marine Veteran and rugby player was a much-loved local figure. He fought lung cancer with his customary bravery and passed away when so many of his friends couldn’t travel. It was an event Tommy would very much have enjoyed, rugby, a drink and especially the fancy dress! It was good to speak to veterans, families and to club officials about a big uptake in the number of junior players. My thanks go to Brian Gilbert (one of three Freddie Mercurys at the event), who knew Tommy from the 70's and a fellow ex-Marine, for inviting me.
On Saturday evening I popped over to the Devonshire Quarter too for the Music for Rooftops event. This was a premier of melodies from Eastbourne composer Clive Whitburn and it was performed by internationally acclaimed Onyx Brass.  A new experience for me!  

Where to pick them up and how to do the test.

Our vaccination programme is rightly a big driver in getting back to normality but so is testing and we need to make it as normal as brushing our teeth to protect our progress against the virus and community transmission. 

Recent openings will inevitably mean more cases, but free testing for those without symptoms is an important new line of defence to protect our recovery.  I now TEST regularly.  It is pretty easy and comforting to see a negative result when so many can have the virus without symptoms.  You still have to keep the usual safety measures but it feels good to step out knowing.

✅ Testing will help us
✅ Keep on the roadmap to freedom👣
✅ Stop the spread
✅ Protect the NHS 💙

TESTS: Now available free to all without symptoms and you can do 🏠 at home, order online or collect locally.

You can get a pack of 7 tests sent to your home. Order rapid lateral flow home test kits on GOV.UK
If you do tests at home, you'll need to report your results online or on the phone.

The video below explains how to do the test.

How to do a COVID-19 Self Test (rapid antigen test)

Community Collect Site

Fort Fun Princes Park Car Park, Royal Parade, BN22 7LQ site is operating as a test site for symptomatic testing  but only in the mornings.  In the afternoons 2:30pm – 8:00pm, following a clean down, it is operating as a Community Collect site for people to collect home test kits and supports the Government statements on providing universal asymptomatic testing.

Eastbourne Pharmacies

✅ A.E. Pharma Limited, 11 Grand Hotel Buildings, Compton Street, BN21 4EJ - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ A & S Shillam Limited, 82 Seaside,  BN22 7QP - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ Asda, Crumbles Harbour Village, BN23 6JH - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ Boots, Princes Park Health Ctr, Wartling Road, BN22 7PG - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ Day Lewis, 2 Furness Road, BN21 4EY - Test site for people with no symptoms - a booking is required

✅ Day Lewis, 10 Freshwater Square, BN22 0PS - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ Osbon Medicals Limited, 116-118 Cavendish Place,  BN21 3TZ - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ Tesco Stores, Lottbridge Drove, BN23 6QD - Pick up site - for at home test kits

You can find further details 

Vaccination Information
How & Where to get a Test
Community Help & Support
Free Transport for Covid-19 Vaccinations
Vaccination Scam Information
Mental Health & Wellbeing
Support for Businesses
Test & Trace Support Payment
The Festival of Accessible Sport in Princes Park organised by Defiant Sports was a new experience for Eastbourne. There were a great number of local groups – information and campaign work designed to get everyone active. 

It was great to speak to Liz at Eastbourne Access Group and Jenny at Dementia Friends. I had a go at adaptive archery but declined the chance for some boxing!  
Continuing the sports theme, on Sunday evening I was delighted to present the prizes at a Charity Golf Day, a fundraiser at Willingdon Golf Club in aid of the Friends of Eastbourne Hospital.

It was organised by the wonderful Don and Abbey McPhee and  I would like to join them in thanking all the businesses across the town who supported the event, Club Captain John Court for his hospitality, Tom Fitzpatrick for entertaining everyone in the evening and of course,  the winning team - Joe McPhee, Chris Winnie, Toby Collins and Jack Tattersall.
There was another town first in Eastbourne’s Vintage Festival which was on throughout the Bank Holiday weekend in Gildredge Park – an event with film, music, food, fashion and furnishings. It showcased the work of lots of our local organisations like Chaseley Trust and groups like Plastic Free Eastbourne.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit on Monday and particularly enjoyed my go in a fabulous vintage car. Congratulations to the organisers. I do hope this is the first of a regular and developing event for the town.  

And finally...

Highlights this week include a meeting with Greenpeace on the high seas and a trip to East Sussex College to hear more about their  ‘Hospitality Rocks Swap’. This morning I will be attending a Macmillon coffee morning in Kingsmere. More about these next week.

Monday sees me travel up to Westminster as Parliament returns to the House. I will, of course, be back in Eastbourne later in the week and look forward to meeting many more people from the town.

Until then, take care and with my best,


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Caroline Ansell MP · Eastbourne Town Hall · Grove Road · EASTBOURNE, EAST SUSSEX BN21 4TX · United Kingdom