SIR PETER BOTTOMLEY: A weekend and a half

Montague Moore VC commemorative stone ceremony
Montague Moore VC commemorative stone ceremony

After hours of desk work at Westminster and trouble free travel to Goring, I was with staff at the World of Books where the Lord Lieutenant Mrs Susan Pyper presented the CEO Stephen Boobyer with The Queen’s Award.

This local brilliant business recycles millions of books a year, helping charity shops and others with old or surplus stock while delighting seekers after out-of-print or well-priced second hand books.

They have added the Zifitt ‘cash-for-stuff’ website for people to sell their books, DVDs and CDs.

On Saturday Virginia returned from her trip to Japan, where she addressed the British Business Chamber in Tokyo – the fourth time in 30 years. Continuity matters.

I joined the congregation at the Westminster Abbey service that marked the 100th anniversary of the Blessed Oscar Romero, the martyred Archbishop in San Salvador, in central America. I was one of the few people who had known him.

There was a contribution by Cardinal Vincent Nicols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

The moving Address was by Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury. The service and the address can be found on the Abbey website.

I commend the Romero hymn written especially by Chris Olding to be sung to the well-known tune Abbot’s Leigh.

It is about true disciples, teachers, martyrs deep in faith, stirring us from apathy to help our suffering sisters and brothers, victims of oppressors – the call to devote ourselves to justice and the common good of all.

That evening we stopped in a farm halfway to the coast, joining our youngest grandchildren camping with friends a fence away from sheep.

Nearly 50 years ago, during one of the Isle of Wight pop festivals, my father-in-law John Garnett observed that never before in world history had a quarter of a million people been under canvas together for any reason other than war.

The Worthing-born holder of the Victoria Cross was, I presume, named after his family home. On Sunday I joined the crowd at the moving unveiling of the stone for Montague Moore VC in Montague Place.

The ceremony brought together the armed services, old and young, with students at Chatsmore Catholic High school and our civic leaders. It was an honour to be part of the occasion.

My team and I work with staff at Arun District Council, West Sussex County Council and Worthing Borough Council.

On Monday, we welcomed two to have a discussion during a light lunch before they toured the Palace.

Tuesday included my ‘flu vaccination – do remember yours – and an interview for BBC Inside Out on unfair terms for park home residents, before attending the AGM for the Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group. I admire the leadership and all those involved.

Their website and the information about the Sustainability & Transformation programme are encouraging.

After other local calls, I was impressed at the open evening held for prospective families at Chatsmore High School. The senior students are good ambassadors for the school community.

Later, as a member of the Worthing Society I was present at Worthing Library when the mayor cut the society’s 35th birthday cake.

Sky News called. I suggested that they could have a non-political chat with our young mayor, and a political one with Dan Humphreys, one of the younger council leaders.