MP’s column: Praise for young footballers and local postmaster

Disappointment over the result of the Euros is tempered by the pride in England having gone so far and played a good game. Football is an English creation that has become the world’s favourite sport and it still plays a central role in our society.

MP Sir Edward Leigh. EMN-210806-071759001
MP Sir Edward Leigh. EMN-210806-071759001

The future of English football relies on the young, so I was pleased to see that Market Rasen’s U14 squad have risen to the top of their league and even managed to end the season undefeated.

The pandemic has thrown up challenges to all levels of sport, and earlier I wrote to ministers on behalf of Gainsborough Trinity F.C. pointing out the devastating impact that closing football to supporters was having on our local clubs.

£10 million in lottery funding is being provided to 66 clubs in the National League to help recover from the pandemic, in addition to £300 million Sport Winter Survival Package announced last year.

The Premier League and English Football League have also reached an agreement honouring the Premiership’s commitment not to let any EFL clubs fail due to the pandemic. Championship clubs will get a £200 million loan in total, with League One and Two clubs getting a £50 million grant.

The Government has also acted against the proposed European Super League by initiating a fan-led review of football governance. This will be a root-and-branch examination of football in this country, looking at finances and regulation with the aim of giving fans more say in the oversight of the sport.

I’m glad to see Gainsborough Old Hall is up and running again and receiving visitors. It is one of the most important historic buildings in West Lindsey and, like many sites, was closed during the pandemic.

With the success of the vaccine rollout, life is continuing to return to normality.

Our push on behalf of Caistor Grammar School has paid off as well.

Their recent bid for nearly £1 million pounds to improve their buildings has been approved. Head Alistair Hopkins and all the staff deserve our congratulations for their hard work.

I recently visited East Barkwith, where David Ward is one of Lincolnshire’s friendliest subpostmasters, to mark Save Our Cash day.

Covid has accelerated the move from cash to card and other forms of payment, but cash still has an important part to play. This is all the more so in many of our rural communities.

With banks across the country closing more and more of their branches, I’m glad post offices like East Barkwith’s are keeping open for people to get cash and to pay in it.