A community full of good people
A recent newspaper article laid out in detail what it claimed were the fears of many people for the future of their town.
Now I would never claim that Ashington is perfect, but checks and balances have to be in place when publishing such an article.
Ashington has had more than its fair share of knocks over the past three decades.
For a start, we lost the industry that had been the mainstay of the town for well over a century when Ashington pit closed in 1988.
That robbed the town of its economic base for the present and the future, and the closure not only affected our miners, but many others in the town who relied so heavily on the pit – the butchers, the bakers, if not the candlestick makers.
It also took away the hopes of many young people to learn the skills that could not only equip them for work in our collieries, but that were transferable to other forms of employment.
Years later we lost the jobs the Alcan smelter provided.
Despite best efforts, all those jobs have not been replaced, which has had a devastating impact on the town, as well as other communities around Wansbeck, which had seen their own pits closed.
But we are a resilient bunch and we have faced four-square the challenges put before us.
Despite the picture the article painted, Ashington – as well as Bedlington, Newbiggin and communities in between – are decent places to live.
They are full of good people; people who work diligently on behalf of others less fortunate than themselves, as well as providing for their own families.
We also have wonderful young people striving to make a solid and sustainable future for themselves who are so far removed from the few who make the headlines.
What they all need, however, is a government that will support them; that will invest in their future and ensure they are proud of the places they call home.