I HAVE been overwhelmed with messages and cards from people across Stroud constituency following the election result in December and would like to use this opportunity to say how grateful I am for your many messages of thanks and support.

But the real thanks should be to all of you. Firstly, it has been a privilege and honour to represent you for a total of 15 years.

During that time, I have got to know many of you well and stood alongside you in Stroud’s successes and challenges, whether that’s been saving our community hospitals, working to tackle climate change and improve air quality, or supporting our schools, employers and environment.

I’ve also met many of you through my casework, which in the last two years has involved supporting almost 2,000 Stroud families often in the most difficult circumstances, and I’m sad to not be able to continue this work on your behalf.

I do hope that those families and individuals in desperate need of help with housing, accessing health services or benefits and all kinds of other issues find the support they need, and that these issues are properly addressed.

I’d also like to thank everyone involved in the election campaign.

It was incredible to see so many people, including many new faces, from across the constituency volunteering their time, skills and energy.

Our Labour HQ in Stroud was a hive of activity with a warm, welcoming atmosphere and in Cam, Dursley, Nailsworth, Stonehouse and across the villages, many people braved all weathers to run stalls, deliver leaflets and talk to constituents.

The vibrancy was evidence once again of the incredible community spirit and energy of the constituency.

I have seen that energy time and again in our charities, community groups, schools and businesses.

I’ll now be able to spend more time here and look forward to new endeavours working alongside Stroud people.

David Drew