This article was written for the News & Star.
One of the best aspects of being a Member of Parliament is to be invited to events in your local area that you might have otherwise missed, or which might have otherwise passed you by. There are so many individuals and organisations doing great work in Carlisle holding fantastic events that it would be impossible to attend them all, but I have in my time as MP met a huge number.
When meeting these interesting individuals and organisations, it is always enlightening to hear from them about what it is they are doing, what changes they are hoping to make, and how they came to be in the first place. It is an opportunity to see what is going on in Carlisle and it regularly brings home the great things going on in our city – as well as what we have to offer, not just to our local community, but also for those who visit.
One such visit was last Saturday, when I attended the Engine Lonning Discovery Day. The day was a chance to highlight and celebrate a unique and interesting wildlife haven very close to the city centre, established at what was once the L&NER railway yard by the River Eden. The day had principally been organised by the Eden Rivers Trust, who continue to do extremely great work in helping to look after, maintain, and improve the River Eden, but also involved the Waverley Viaduct Trust who have been campaigning to have the old railway bridge reopened for walkers and cyclists for a good time now.
I often walk my dog by the river, but the day gave me an opportunity to go to a part of the water I haven’t visited in a while. In some ways, Engine Lonning is a well-kept secret, but it certainly needs to be promoted more to bring greater benefit to our community.
On the day, we were blessed with lovely weather. It was nice to see families attending the event and to see first hand what opportunities there are in the area – and also what could be achieved in the future if the area in and around the Waverley Viaduct continues to be invested in and improved upon.
Full credit must be given to those involved in these organisations supporting the area, many giving up their own time for their community. The commitment that they make and their passion for what they are doing really did shine through that day.
I for one will certainly be getting behind these organisations and giving them as much support as I can. Many years ago, I used to run across the Waverley Viaduct. It would be fantastic if that opportunity was open once more for all who live in our city – while also providing an opportunity to showcase a hidden but beautiful part of Carlisle. It would certainly be a pleasure to be able to run across the Viaduct once again soon – even if the pace might not quite be what it once was!