I was surprised to read a letter from Wing Commander Nigel Branston ( News Views, July 12) suggesting I failed to offer strong enough support for the Armed Forces in my As I See It column, and I was ‘almost entirely focused on the city and its suburbs.’
I accept that being council leader brings great responsibility and sometimes criticism, but I think even many of my harshest critics would admit that I am a staunch advocate of all of our Armed Forces, and anything but a city-centric politician.
Wg Cdr Branston appeared to be annoyed that I did not specifically refer to the Newark Armed Forces Day and similar events in Retford and Mansfield, and to the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force, but the overall theme of my message was clearly one of support for all such events taking place across the county.
In my column I mentioned some of the events I had attended personally.
I am chairman of the policy committee at County Hall, and in January we agreed to commit £190,000 of council funding to events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war.
It is my intention to attend as many of these as I can, including at RAF Syerston in August and Southwell Minster in November.
I shall also be attending the dedication of a new memorial in Bleasby on September 1.
We further agreed in policy committee in May to commit £10,000 funding towards the RAF Centenary Bomber Command Memorial, which will stand next to the A46 between Newark and Lincoln at Norton Disney.
A short column or letter cannot cover all of the initiatives Nottinghamshire County Council is supporting to ensure that the work and sacrifice of our Servicemen and women, past and present, is recognised.
However, the spread of such events is designed to make sure that no part of the county is overlooked.
The council created the role of Armed Forces Champion to do exactly as the title suggests, supporting as many Forces-related events around the county as possible.
The current incumbent is Keith Girling, former Grenadier Guardsman and current councillor for Newark West, who chairs the Newark Armed Forces Day organising committee.
Nobody should be in any doubt about the high esteem in which Nottinghamshire County Council, and this council leader, hold all of our Armed Forces, not least the RAF. — KAY CUTTS, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council.