Friday 16 August Driving back from holiday and receive a call from Westminster. Hurray! The Chancellor has approved our funding bid. The massive £218 million is the largest successful bid in the whole country. It will pay for the second railway station at Beaulieu Park and the Chelmsford North East Bypass. I have been working on this since my very first day in the House of Commons. I’m desperate to share the good news, but I am told that I can’t tell anyone until the official announcement tomorrow morning.
Saturday 17 August Wake up early to check my inbox. The email from the Treasury is there, the money will be confirmed at 9am. I draft a Facebook Post and as soon as nine o’clock hits I hit “post”. Then on the phone to tell the County Councillor John Spence and City Councillor Neil Gulliver the news. I ring BBC Essex let them know and send a recording to Heart Essex. My Facebook page is going crazy with happy comments. I answer lots of questions about the plans - whilst also cooking a Birthday feast for my youngest son who is celebrating his 18th today. Cousins, Aunts and Uncles are on their way over for a celebration.
Sunday 18 August Beautiful service in Chelmsford Cathedral this morning before heading up to the station to meet camera crews from BBC Look East and ITV Anglia. They are reporting about the funding for our station and want to record an interview.
A large crowd of teenage boys are on bikes, cycling around the station on the pavements and doing wheelies between the pedestrians, some of whom come to tell me that they feel threatened and ask me to help. I ask the boys to move on and explain that cycling on the pavement is against the law. I’ve had lots of emails from concerned Chelmsford residents about dangerous cycling recently and when the group continue with their wheelies I decide to call the police and start to take some photos. A squad car comes quickly, and the cyclists disperse. Please, if you think you know any of the teenagers involved could you help to prevent this? Email me or tell the police.
Monday 19 August Early start on BBC Essex recording from Beaulieu Park before heading up to Westminster. I have been appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Department for International Development and go to meet the Secretary of State, Alok Sharma. We talk about the work Britain is leading in some of the poorest parts of the world to improve education, protect the environment and build their own economic capacity. This helps reduce instability. It also protects our own UK security and trade. Alok is on his way to Africa to meet the brave UK medics who are fighting the Ebola outbreak, vaccination programs that are so crucial to eliminate diseases. This morning’s news that Measles is now a threat in the UK again reminds us why it is so important to have a global effort on problems like this. Britain plays a vital role.
Tuesday 20 August I visit the headquarters of the Internet Watch Foundation. This inspirational charity removes images of child sexual abuse from websites, thus protecting children from the most hideous crimes. I’ve supported their campaigns for eight year now. We discuss the frightening increase of young girls being groomed into sharing sexual videos they take of themselves and a plan I am working on to strengthening the law against “cyber flashing”. More than one in four younger women have been affected by this. It is often highly intimidating and violating. On the way back to Chelmsford I join scientists at the Human Genome Campus with the Wellcome Trust, one of the largest charitable funders of medical research anywhere in the world. I answer questions about the work of the Science and Technology Select Committee in Westminster and how MPs can help medical research policy.
Lovely evening in Galleywood, delivering my annual report and sharing my summer survey. Thank you to everyone who filled this out – it will really help me to have this feedback when making the case for Chelmsford in Westminster next term.
Wednesday 21 August Great atmosphere at Broomfield Hospital for their Summer Staff BBQ. I pop on the apron and join volunteers from the charity RRT serving up hundreds of burgers. I meet many of the staff from so many different departments. The team at Broomfield help the people of Chelmsford all year round and every day. It is good to be able to say “Thank You” to them. Big smiles.
Thursday 22 August Getting ready to launch my new e-mail newsletter. Thank you to literally hundreds of Chelmsford residents who signed up overnight to receive it, if you would like to be added to the list you can register on www.vickyford.uk.
Over to BBC Essex again – this time to discuss the Science and Tech Select Committee report on what actions the government will need to take to achieve its Clean Growth climate targets. This has been a huge piece of work with over 70 different recommendations - good news that government has started on some of the polices we suggest!
I write letters to the Transport Secretary asking him if we can fast track the building of Beaulieu Station now we have the money agreed, and another with my concerns about train fare rises. Its GCSE day and many Chelmsford students are celebrating, I write to the Chancellor about the need for fairer funding for Chelmsford Schools.
Another balmy summer’s evening talking to residents and doing my summer survey, this time around the Moulsham area.
Friday 23 August I join a super group of children who have been taking part in the Sainsbury’s Active Kids Summer Camp in Springfield. They tell me they have met great friends, learnt new activities and been extremely busy all summer. Its clearly been a great success.
I hold my first “supermarket surgery” at the Sainsburys store. Lots of people stop to talk, many happy comments about the funding for Beaulieu Station, and some nice stories of praise Broomfield. There are some concerns about the problems with BT and I have a very helpful discussion about the impact traffic congestion is having on Chelmsford small businesses which will be helpful for next week’s meeting of the Army and Navy Task Force. Thank you so much to the Sainsbury’s staff too!
Saturday 24 August Such a lot of fun playing real life Cluedo in Chelmsford. There were over a hundred teams out enjoying our super city. I do hope my team beat the Police Commissioner’s - but I fear I may have stopped to chat too many times.
I stop at the newly opened “Gadget Solutions” in Chelmsford. I watch the test match in their store whilst they change the battery in my I-phone giving it a second life - so much better for the environment and the wallet than getting a new one! I get back home and my husband has spotted that there are last minute tickets available for tomorrow’s cricket. Even though he is on call at the hospital and won’t be able to come himself he has bought a pair as an early birthday present for me, and a late 18th treat for our son. I’ve never been to Headingley before, but the ground been etched into my memory ever since watching the famous Ian Botham Ashes performance on TV when I was a child.
Sunday 25 August Put on my lucky Essex cricket cap, set of early up to Yorkshire and OMG what a day for cricket! Unbelievable…. I am lost for words.