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I am a Councillor on Sheffield City Council for Arbourthorne ward in Sheffield and a Labour Party activist.

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Sheffield to remember VC hero Arnold – 100 years on

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Sheffield will remember the last of its Victoria Cross recipients, whose acts of heroism saved hundreds of lives during the First World War, exactly 100 years to the day when he carried out his first acts of bravery. 

A commemorative plaque will be laid in honour of Sergeant Arnold Loosemore at the cenotaph in Barker’s Pool on Friday 11 August 2017 at 12.30 pm.  All are welcome to attend.

Sergeant Loosemore, who was in the 8th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment (Sheffield), was decorated for gallantry twice during the First World War.

His acts of heroism on 11 August 1917 saw him awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery and initiative in the face of the enemy, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

His platoon was under heavy machine gun fire when Arnold, then a private, crawled through partially cut wire, dragging his Lewis gun with him, and single-handedly dealt with a strong party of the enemy, killing about 20 of them.


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Immediately afterwards his Lewis gun was blown up by a bomb, and three enemy rushed for him, but he shot them all with his revolver.

Later, he shot several enemy snipers, exposing himself to heavy fire each time. On returning to the original post he brought back a wounded comrade under heavy fire at the risk of his life. He displayed throughout an utter disregard of danger.

On 19 June 1918 at Zillebeke Belgium, the now Sergeant Arnold Loosemore’s continuing devotion to gallantry and duty were again recognised, this time for the award of a Distinguished Conduct Medal.

On 13 October 1918, just 23 days before Armistice, Arnold was badly wounded by machine gun fire in France with injuries needing the amputation of his left leg above the knee.


Arnold Loosemore will have a commemorative plaque placed at the Sheffield Cenotaph on Friday.

Arnold Loosemore will have a commemorative plaque placed at the Sheffield Cenotaph on Friday.

After the war Arnold return to Sheffield, married his childhood sweetheart Amy Morton and thad a son named Arnold.  Following several years of ill-health and pain, Arnold died at home from tuberculosis in 1924 aged just 27.

Many of his surviving family will be in attendance on Friday.

 


Councillor Jack Scott, ward councillor for Arbourthorne, whose constituency covers Gleadless where Arnold Loosemore has a housing estate named after him, said: “This soldier was a true Sheffielder and war hero.

“He wasn’t especially well treated during his lifetime and we are delighted to be making amends in this way. I hope as many people as possible can attend during their lunch hour or with their own families to recognise a true Sheffield hero and mark his heroic contribution to our years of peace.”

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Sgt Loosemore is the third Sheffielder to be honoured in this way. Major William Barnsley Allen and Sgt Maj John Raynes have also been honoured with plaques.

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The Right Worshipful Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Cllr Anne Murphy, said: “We have recently marked the anniversary of the battle of Passchendaele and Friday’s service shows the importance of the gallantry displayed by so many Sheffielders in this terrible conflict.

“It will be an absolute honour to stand alongside his family to make a permanent memorial to his valour, in the city centre.  I invite all citizens of Sheffield to join me in commemorating Sgt Loosemore, one of Sheffield’s bravest sons of the First World War.”

Air Quality Interview – Sheffield Live Video

Council condemns government plan on vehicle pollution from Sheffield Live on Vimeo.

£18m investment speeds up Sheffield buses

A £18.3 million investment to speed up Sheffield bus routes and cut congestion has seen some city journey times slashed by up to 25 per cent.

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Highway improvements on key bus routes – including smarter signal controls, new bus lanes, junction upgrades, road widening and more cameras to better monitor the flow of traffic – in the city centre, north Sheffield, Gleadless, Meadowhead and on Penistone Road have also seen bus punctuality improvements of up to three per cent.

The work, designed to give buses priority and improve traffic management across Sheffield’s 187 bus routes, is part of the UK’s first designated ‘Better Bus Area’ scheme, delivered by Sheffield Bus Partnership since 2013 and funded by the Department for Transport.

Benefiting up to 55 million passengers a year, it combines money previously paid directly to bus operators with a Government grant, allowing the Partnership – made up of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), Sheffield City Council and local bus companies – to work together to improve bus journey times to provide regular and reliable services.

Sheffield City Council Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability, Councillor Jack Scott, said: “Public transport is key to helping people travel in and around Sheffield, and a good quality bus service is vital in offering people choices in how they travel, and helping the City Council manage traffic congestion.

“We all want more jobs and homes provided for people, and the Better Buses Programme has made major contributions to improving conditions on our main roads – for buses and for car drivers, by making a series of highway improvements that benefit everyone.”

SYPTE Director of Public Transport, Ben Gilligan, said: “Buses are a vital public service and an effective bus network is an essential part of a vibrant economy – linking people to jobs, education, shops and leisure. Through the Better Bus Area scheme, Sheffield Bus Partnership is helping transport to move more efficiently on key city corridors, and in turn improving bus satisfaction and increasing passenger numbers to reduce carbon emissions and congestion for everyone.”

Co-location of bus operator and Council staff at the city’s Urban Traffic Control Centre, a move made possible through the scheme, also means information sharing and the ability to minimise disruption caused by road incidents is greatly improved.

Future improvements delivered by the five-year Better Bus Area scheme, which concludes in March 2018, include widening Chesterfield Road at Heeley and further improvements on the Barnsley Road Corridor.

Kevin Belfield, Managing Director of First South Yorkshire, said: “We’re pleased with the latest results, which show that bus journey times are being reduced, however it’s important that we don’t become complacent, as what really matters to our customers is our ability to run services punctually. We welcome the continued work to improve road infrastructure for public transport in Sheffield.”

Matt Davies, Managing Director of Stagecoach Yorkshire, added: “We welcome these results and are really pleased to see investment and improvements are helping to deliver benefits for passengers and contributing to a more efficient and attractive city transport network.

“However, improvements in journey time can easily be offset by increasing traffic levels and congestion which means that we must continue to keep up the momentum. Focusing on improving bus journey times is now even more essential than ever.”

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Driving Forward: Better Buses for Sheffield

Air Quality Interview – BBC Radio Sheffield

I was interviewed by Radio Sheffield on the government’s shabby, shoddy, weak and wobbly announcements on Air Quality.

You can listen to the interview below.

My Reflection on Referendum Result: Speech to Full Council

*** Check Against Actual Delivery ***

The events of the last two weeks have clearly caused anxiety and distress for a number of people living in Sheffield. We all now have a role to play in helping our city come together after a difficult and divisive period, especially as it is clear that if we leave the EU we will be financially worse off–both individually and as a city overall. We have to reflect carefully on this result and respect the result.

We find ourselves in the ludicrous position where the vote for Brexit was caused by inequality and could now end up worsening inequality.

Sheffield City Region was scheduled to receive over £180 million through to 2020, in addition to the £1 billion we have received over the last 15 years.

Of course, as a city, we will and we must do everything we can to secure as much of that money as possible. But nobody should think it is likely we will secure all of it – or even most of it.

This is the harsh reality of Brexit. The manner in which the Leaders of the Leave campaign have behaved is atrocious and a total abdication of their responsibilities. They should be ashamed of themselves.

The UK government hasn’t acted much better. It is simply not good enough to say that they hope EU nationals will be allowed to stay in Britain.

These are people who have put down roots here, with children, families, caring responsibilities, who pay taxes and contribute to our economy and society. They deserve much better than being used by the Government as bargaining chips.

So for the moment, I want people from Europe who are living, learning and working in our city – some of whom are here today – to know that they are just as welcome here as they were before the referendum. European citizens make a huge contribution to both the economy and the vibrancy of our city, especially at our universities, and we are glad to have them contributing in this way.

In the global age, our city’s diversity is a strength not a weakness. We are them and they are us.

It is also quite obvious that many people feel that the economy doesn’t work for them; and we have to redouble our efforts to address the anxieties and insecurities that people understandably feel as a result of rapid global change.

I’d like to conclude by saying that Sheffield will always be a vibrant, welcoming and European city. The referendum result won’t change that.

I am sure that this city will not tolerate any actions that sow division in our communities or play people against each other. Certainly the Council won’t.

Sheffield has always prided itself on being a welcoming, inclusive and friendly city and we must all do everything we can to nuture and protect this treasured reputation.

Thank you to city’s volunteers

It’s Volunteers Week and a great time to find out about volunteering opportunities in the city, as well as thanking all volunteers like Alex who make Sheffield wonderful.

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Alex Thomson helps young people with learning disabilities

Alex Thompson, age 24:

Alex is Special Olympics GB athlete who helps young people with learning disabilities take part in sports. He won a gold medal for basketball at last year’s Special Olympics in Los Angeles and has a learning disability himself.

Alex has been volunteering from a young age. At 16 he became the first person with a learning disability to be a member of SAYLs (Sheffield Academy for Young Leaders in Sport). He now volunteers at The Burton Street Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that supports people with disabilities, and every Friday helps people play sport.

Alex said: “I volunteer to help people with special needs. I like being part of a team and helping out. I like being with all the staff and clients – they’re my friends as well.”
Alex is taking part in next year’s Special Olympic National Games which are being held in Sheffield from 7 to 11 August 2017.

The city will see around 2,600 competitors and an additional 6,000 of their family and friends all staying here for a week.

900 volunteers are needed to help make The Games a success. More than 160 people have already signed up. Visit http://www.sheffield2017.org.uk to volunteer and be part of something special.

Find out about volunteering opportunities in Sheffield:

Voluntary Action Sheffield (VAS) promotes and supports volunteering within the city. It helped 2,300 people volunteer last year.
To celebrate volunteer week and its 90 birthday, VAS is holding a Volunteer Recruitment Fair and street party on Thursday 9 June at The Circle on Rockingham Lane in Sheffield (S1 4FW)

  • The recruitment fair runs from 10.00am to 3.00pm
  • The street party runs from 12.30 to 3pm

Sue White, Chief Executive at VAS, said, “The value of volunteering in our City can’t be underestimated and we are delighted to be celebrating the work of volunteers as part of national Volunteer Week, and VAS’s 90th Anniversary.

“Volunteering makes a huge contribution to our City’s economy – an estimated £500 million per year. And added to that is the social value in terms of the individuals and organisations who are helped and supported, and the value to individual volunteers themselves in building skills and confidence, and improving wellbeing. All that is certainly worth celebrating!”

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Community Services at Sheffield City Council, added: “I would like to thank everyone who volunteers in Sheffield and provides valuable support in a huge number of areas, from libraries to lunch clubs, literacy, litter and more.

“There are lots of ways people can get involved and help support their city. It’s rewarding work and can make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Visit http://www.vas.org.uk or call VAS on 0114 253 6600 to find out about volunteering opportunities in Sheffield