From wartime heritage to modern dentistry: MP's summer in Norfolk

Jerome Mayhew with Ian Brown at RAF Sculthorpe.

Jerome Mayhew with Ian Brown at RAF Sculthorpe. - Credit: Jerome Mayhew

In his latest column, MP Jerome Mayhew gives the latest goings-on, from his visit to RAF Sculthorpe, and hold surgeries. Plus his chat with Health minister Jo Churchill about dentistry.

As an MP the visible part of your job happens in parliament, with the debates in the House of Commons and the detailed committee work scrutinising proposed legislation. It operates on a similar timetable to schools, so August is free to spend on the less visible part of the job, working in my constituency.

Every MP does this differently, but my approach has been to make myself as available as possible to residents and organisations, holding up to six separate village surgeries a day on village greens or in pub car parks.

One of my village green meetings led to an invitation to visit the RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre: what a fascinating story they tell! I had no idea that nuclear warheads were operated from Sculthorpe during the early part of the Cold War.

Jerome Mayhew visited Pensthorpe and met with owners Bill and Deb Jordan.

Jerome Mayhew visited Pensthorpe and met with owners Bill and Deb Jordan. - Credit: Jerome Mayhew

The display there is unlike any museum I have been to – you are actually encouraged to touch the exhibits, all brought to life by the knowledge and enthusiasm of the volunteers.

Our military history in Norfolk reaches far deeper than most other counties, and this heritage centre is a real eye-opener for the local work right here in Fakenham that contributed to our defences.

This morning I held one of my regular constituent surgeries in the back of Christ Church, Fakenham. I always enjoy spending time in this very special building, with its peace and reflection right in the heart of the town. The church does so much good work supporting people in the town so it feels like a very appropriate place to hold a surgery.

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One of the key issues raised over the last few months has been the loss of access to NHS dentistry with the decision by Wensum Dental Practice to go private.

I have been on the case to the health minister Jo Churchill MP, making sure that she knows how important an issue this is, so I am really pleased that an additional NHS dentistry contract has now been announced to improve access to a dentist.

Wensum Dental Practice on Norwich Road.

Wensum Dental Practice on Norwich Road, Fakenham. - Credit: Teresa Kleinhans

With the new school year starting it is back to school for our children, and back to Parliament for me. Our children have been incredibly resilient over the last year dealing with all the disruption of Covid. I know from my own children that the pleasure of not going to school soon wore off and it has been tough at times.

Recently I was out walking a beat with a community police officer and heard how mental health issues have spiked over the last few months.

As the new term starts, we should do all we can to bring a degree of normality back to schools and I am very grateful for all the preparatory work that teaching staff have done over the summer in readiness for this new academic year.

As ever, if you do wish to raise an issue with me by email or speak to me in person about a local or national issue then please do write to me. You can email me directly on jerome.mayhew.mp@parliament.uk.

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