Honour of opening John Dew building

LAST Friday I had the honour of opening The College of Richard Collyer's new John Dew Building.

This was a special occasion – not only because the Horsham college has a great new resource but also because the life, the achievements and the immense contributions made by Dr Dew have been recognised in such a wonderful way.

John Dew, whom I got to know after I came to Horsham, was not only a much-loved local GP, a Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Sussex, a co-founder of the West Sussex Philharmonic Orchestra, a stalwart of St Mary's choir and of course, for 47 years, president of Horsham Cricket Club but he was also a governor of Collyer's for some 30 years.

John was passionate about cricket. He knew that it's not a matter of life and death – it's much more important than that!

It seems fitting that generations of students will benefit from the state of the art media studies studio and classrooms, psychology, social science and music rooms and the Peter Pointer Laboratory which was also unveiled on Friday.

Peter Pointer was a physics teacher at the college for many years who was well-known for inspiring students with his passion for his subject. The funding for the lab and its IT rooms and studio, was a result of a very generous bequest from his estate.

The whole event, which was attended by members of the families of John and Peter, showed what a vibrant institution Collyer's is.Every year it seems to build on past successes and offer its students even more opportunities.

It's a great local institution and I'm proud to have it within my constituency.

I thought I'd also update readers on the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill – which I have been very involved with and which I wrote about in this column a couple of weeks ago.

The Bill covers many topics which are as varied as the make-up of the House of Lords, the appointment of the new Supreme Court judges, the transparency of government financial reporting to Parliament. It also covers the civil service, which is one of my responsibilities as Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office.

Last week the Bill was back in the House of Commons for the Committee Stage of the process from Bill to Act of Parliament.The whole House sat in Committee and I tabled a number of amendments to clauses in the Bill which referred specifically to the civil service.

I'll continue to keep readers updated as I hope it's interesting to chart a Bill's passage through the House of Commons and House of Lords.