From: Elizabeth Peacock, Conservative MP for Batley & Spen, 1983-97.
IT is pleasing to see that the reception and welcome home for our “all conquering” Olympic team is to be held in the North – Manchester.
This clearly recognises the regional importance of Team GB’s many successes, which is better portrayed with an event outside London. We will therefore be able to honour the efforts which have produced a unique crop of Olympic medals and we will also be able to thank the back-up team of coaches, physiotherapists, nutritionists and managers. Additionally we will also be able to say a special thank you to all the athletes who took part but did not win.
There is, however, one man I hope we will find time to thank and that person is our former prime minister, John Major. It was John who was determined to find a way of supporting the arts, sport and all other good causes with adequate funding as he had realised that governments of any colour were unlikely to provide the necessary financial backing for success.
His dream became the Lottery, which we managed to get through Parliament under his guidance. By this means the nation could support and would painlessly provide a means of collecting the money on an ongoing basis. John’s Lottery dream has provided the funds, sporting management has used it wisely developing operational systems and our sportsmen and women have now provided the results. Thank you John for your vision and wisdom!
Within this great national success, we can also recognise the tremendous results achieved by competitors from Yorkshire. Yorkshire won more medals on its own than the majority of national teams and it is therefore fitting that they should be honoured locally.
I understand that Leeds will honour competitors from the city, but Yorkshire should be saying a wider thank you. There should be a greater Yorkshire Northern Powerhouse celebration. It is absolutely disgraceful that the local authorities in West Yorkshire, Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and Kirklees have not been able to pull together a Greater [whole] Yorkshire group with North and East Yorkshire, plus Hull, to manage the Government’s proposed regional devolution programme. The Brexit uncertainty is clearing and we can see that a “free standing Britain” can be a success on its own as demonstrated by Team GB. As part of this change, it is essential that we achieve a successful Yorkshire Powerhouse and the sooner the better.