ALTHOUGH my constituency is called Stroud – I am very proud of the Stroud area with all its diversity, history and special characteristics.

I think it is important to recognise all that happens around Stroud and beyond through referring to the Valleys and Vale.

Each of the Valleys and the Vale contain thriving communities.

These make fabulous contributions to the fulfilment of people’s lives.

Like so many of my weekends, this last one has been full of the rich variety of events, activities, commitment to helping people and enjoyment of the countryside.

It proves why the Valleys and Vale is a great place to live.

At least two school fetes took place at the wekend.

At Chalford Hill School, it was a pleasure to see such a fine school garden containing a patch of growing wheat (although not quite big enough for a combine harvester) and to see so many activities including martial arts.

Moving over to the Vale, I went to Longney School fete.

Here we enjoyed watching Irish dancing and football displays.

There were several stalls (I purchased some plants for my garden and a “Dr Who” cyberman helmet) and there was also an excellent tea tent.

While out and about, I met several Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). These officers make a massive contribution to our communities.

Crimes have now fallen by more than 10 percent and they also garner much useful information when they are out and about.

One interesting, and serious subject is speeding on our roads.

While we should never be complacent about reckless driving, it is clear that the vast majority of drivers are being appropriately careful and that's good to know.

Another fabulous visit I made was to the Nelson Trust in Brimscombe.

This organisation does hugely important work for people with addiction problems.

But the reason I went there was to see the National Citizens Service in action.

Young people through Stroud College were brightening up the Trust’s facilities and in so doing, were also learning about teamwork and contributing to society while also learning personal skills.

Finally, it was also great to see the newly Hog pub in Horsley and the Red Lion pub in Arlingham doing so well.

Our villages thrive with such facilities (nearly 1700 people work locally in our pubs).