May 2016: Budding authors, a curate, a marathon runner and an MP


Breakfast May 2016 Jo Churchill MP and Allan ScottOur guest speaker Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket, has evidently survived both her first breakfast with us a year ago and her first year as an MP.

Presentations were on the whole short and sweet, possibly in eager anticipation of her “potential revelations”.

Your Next Big Idea book - Teather & Morrison OnlineWe did learn that we have a pair of new authors in our midst as social media and graphic design experts, Kim Morrison and Sammy Teather of Teather & Morrison Online, invited us to beta test their first training book “Your Next Big Idea”.

Kevin Kent, of Kevin Kent Wealth Management, stated he did no training but still completed the London Marathon in 5 hrs 48 minutes and 50 seconds and brought the medal to prove it. His effort raised £2,500 for Clic Sargent.

Danny Cuff, of Gipping Press, reported that his company’s support for the Woodland Trust has resulted in the planting of 40 square metres of trees in the first quarter.

Pete Stanway, of Project HR, has been an occasional lecturer at UCS and come to the conclusion that while people may not mean to discriminate, they “just don’t see discrimBreakfast Networking May 2016ination, they just do stupid things”!

We were also happy to welcome not one, but two local authority councillors, Gerard Brewster, Mid Suffolk’s representative for Business Growth and Productivity, and Leslie Mayes, who is both a District and a Town Councillor.

And finally, we were “blessed” by the presence of curate Rachel Cornish, who moved to Onehouse ten months ago from Felixstowe. Having been involved in Felixstowe Chamber she is keen to continue with us at Stowmarket and District.

So what’s being an MP like then Jo?

25 members and guests were at the Golf Club to hear what life is like for a new MP during her first year in Parliament.

Jo Churchill has experience of being in small businesses and is a passionate advocate for them but that is only a small part of the many things she has been involved in during her first year.

She told us it took about six weeks to find her feet and that she had had to suffer the inevitable practical jokes from some of the more established members, including one memorable occasion when, lost in a corridor of identical doors an allegedly kindly senior parliamentary figure invited her to “follow me”.

She did, until she found herself following him into the Gents’ loo, from which she beat a hasty retreat having seen “more of the gentleman members than I might have wished”.  Parliament, she said, had some elements of Hogwarts about it.

She describes her daily diary as a “car crash” thanks to a combination of attending the Commons debates, attending committees, dealing with around 200 daily emails, requests for meetings and spending time in her constituency dealing with constituents’ problems,

She said the Commons was not the place for informed debate, largely it was about “point scoring”. There is a more moderate and thoughtful alternative, however, in the debates in Westminster Hall and on the various Select Committees.

So far, she has been asked to sit on the Environmental Audit and the Women and Equality Select Committees.

On the subject of red tape and businesses, she said she had realised that there is such a huge diversity from micro businesses, partnerships and SMEs to huge corporations that it can be difficult to legislate for them all.

At a local level, she is particularly interested in promises to improve the A14 and rural broadband, both vital to the success and growth of local business.

She is also a firm believer that there is still too much of a silo mentality in Westminster and in local government, where people get trapped into a particular area of thought, with very little co-operation between departments.


Tell us what you want

Chairman Allan Scott is happy to receive any suggestions for what members want to see the Chamber doing in the future. Please send your ideas (and your want lists) to [email protected] or a

Tell us what you want

Chairman Allan Scott is happy to receive any suggestions for what members want to see the Chamber doing in the future. Please send your ideas (and your want lists) to [email protected].

Dates for your diary:

June Coffee Morning June Breakfast
Needham Market Community Centre Stowmarket Golf Club 
Friday, June 3  Friday, June 17
10am-noon Starting at 6.45am

For more information contact Keely Taylor

phone: 01449 770965

e-mail: [email protected]

Anyone who has a story to publicise should contact marketing officer Alison Withers:

[email protected]

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