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Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: Victory in Europe Day 75 years on

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At 11am on Friday, 8th May, our nation will fall silent for two minutes, to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day and in honour of all those who gave their lives for our freedom.

As the Royal British Legion have said, there is no right or wrong way to take part in the silence. Some people may choose to stand at the window or step outside the front door, and I encourage all in Crawley to spend this time to think of the events which took place three quarters of a century ago.

Alongside a host of television and radio broadcasts, the Royal British Legion have also developed a VE Day learning pack which is designed for seven to 14 year olds, with first-hand accounts from the Second World War generation, interviews with veterans and a variety of activities to help families explore and commemorate VE Day together.

I am grateful to Crawley Borough Council and West Sussex County Council for their work to ensure this important anniversary can be marked remotely given the current COVID-19 pandemic social distancing restrictions. This will include posting items on social media from the Crawley Library archives, as well as a range of resources available online from the West Sussex Record Office.

My thanks as well to St John’s Church, whose celebration service will also take place remotely on Friday.

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the general election where I was first elected to Parliament. It is not lost on me that were it not for the bravery of those who defeated the threat to our freedom in the Second World War, we would not have a functioning democracy and a free country today.

When the clock strikes 11am on Friday my thoughts will be of the individuals from the UK and right across the free world who stood up for our way of life, including the service of those from what would soon become the New Town of Crawley.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: Get vaccinated against the flu

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As our national response to COVID-19 continues, 30 million people will be asked to get vaccinated against the flu this year.

In England, the largest ever flu vaccination campaign is being launched, with all those eligible for the jab playing their part in saving lives.

Those able to receive the vaccine will be all primary school children as well as Year 7s for the first time; two- and three-year-olds; the most vulnerable people including adults aged 65 and over, those with long-term health conditions and pregnant women; and household contacts of people on the NHS Shielded Patient List and all health and social care workers who have direct contact with the people they care for.

After uptake has been maximised for the most at-risk groups, invites will extend to 50- to 64-year-olds later in the season, eligible for the first time in recognition of the scale of the healthcare challenges posed by the pandemic.

With research from Public Health England suggesting that those testing positive for both flu and COVID-19 were more than twice as likely to die compared to people with COVID-19 alone, the importance of getting your flu jab cannot be underestimated.

Those with co-infection of both viruses are also more at risk of severe illness. I urge everyone in the eligible groups to get the flu jab this winter.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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