Robert Walter Blog - 15th July 2013

Parliament may close its doors over the summer, but it's still a busy time for MPs, with most continuing local surgeries and taking the opportunity to attend events in the constituency.

The North Dorset parliamentary constituency that I was elected to represent – which confuses many by stretching all the way east to Alderholt and south to Sturminster Marshall – hosts two major events every summer, come rain or shine. 

First off is the annual Gillingham and Shaftesbury Agricultural Show at Motcombe Showground on 21st August. I've attended the G&S Show every year since my election in 1997 and last year was probably the wettest ever, reflecting the hard times many farmers and rural food producers faced with the deluges of 2012. I'll be meeting many of them at this year's show to find out how they've faired this year and what more might be done to support them as key drivers of Dorset's local economy. I'll also have my fingers firmly crossed that recent good weather holds for all the hard working organisers of events taking place across Dorset and for this summer's harvest, which impacts on all of us through the price we pay for our food.

The following week sees the arrival of the internationally renowned Great Dorset Steam Fair (pictured) at Tarrant Hinton, near Blandford Forum. This hugely popular five-day event kicks off on 29 August and attracts vast crowds of enthusiasts year on year. Sadly, due to the common sense of the powers that be, this year's GDSF is set to clash with the much newer, but equally popular, Bournemouth Air Festival, despite holding the slot for 45 years! Let's hope that fans of aircraft and vintage steam engines will manage to enjoy both.

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