Amber Rudd Column

PARLIAMENT is bizarrely like school. There is the institutional feel, the strict timetable, the mediocre food ... and of course the “terms”.

As children’s schools and colleges went back this week MPs also returned on Monday after the summer recess.

The Speaker sported an impressive tan, and other MPs, when challenged on their Mediterranean blush, spoke loudly and positively about the good weather in their own constituencies.

I did take some holiday, but I also had the pleasure of attending lots of summer fairs, residents meetings, and charity events in Hastings and Rye.

Late August’s highlight for me was the launch of the first International Classical Composers Festival, brilliantly conceived by Polo Piatti and executed by him and his manager Diana Wallis. It was ambitious, bold and unashamedly focused at delivering the best of contemporary classical music. It was available to all, and took place at my favourite Hastings venue, St Mary in the Castle. Note to Council – make sure you keep this fabulous venue as a continued arts centre!

I attended the concert on the first night and many guests, like myself were unsure what to expect, but were absolutely delighted by what they heard, and gave the final performance a standing ovation. Many congratulations to the organisers of this original and outstanding event and I am already looking forward to next years.

Looking ahead I am excited about the upcoming JobsFair that I have organised taking place on September 27th at Sussex Coast College. Without the artistic content of the Composers festival, I nevertheless hope it will attract local people with an interest in Jobs.

I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to Barbara Rodgers who has brilliantly run St Mary in the Castle as a successful community arts centre. The Council have apparently found a replacement who can build on her success. But they must not let it close.