Diary

A late return to Dorset last night meant a 9am start in the office this morning. After the paperwork, I headed to Weymouth to attend the funeral of one of our councillors, Peter Farrell. A delightful man, his service was held at the crematorium at 2pm. It was packed with friends and well wishers, many of whom had experienced Peter's kindness and generosity. All parties were represented and the Mayor, Cllr Margaret Leicester, was there too, bless her. She's a lovely lady. The Rev Brian Ellis took the service extremely well and sensitively, making us all laugh at times and reminding us of Peter's roots, which were embedded in Weymouth. There were many familiar faces and it was nice catching up with many people. From there, I headed to Bovington to meet with a family who are facing great difficulties, not least with their health. I was touched by their plight and a number of organisations are doing all they can for them. I think I can say that we are hopeful as solution to their problem, which is confidential, can be found. I raced back home, had a quick shower and then headed out to mark a special occasion for the Prince's Trust at Lulworth Castle. Organised by the Trust and run by Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, this unique project takes 12 young people through a 12-week course of self-discovery. The young people are all volunteers, although they have to be selected to attend. The instructors are firefighters and I cannot praise them enough. We were all impressed by their calibre and dedication to this cause, which they admitted was not easy to run. The Lord Lieutenant, Val Pitt-Rivers, was there, as were a host of DLs and Sheriffs, plus many other dignitaries. Val handed out framed certificates to the course - known as Team 100 (the 100th such course to be completed) - and to the instructors. The Chief Fire Officer, Darran Gunter, also received one and deservedly so. He has thrown himself into this project with gusto. After the awards and very moving speeches, I chatted to some of the young people and instructors. Their stories of self-discovery were very moving. There was no doubt the course had done its job and hopefully these 12 youngsters, who had been spending most of the day in bed, will aspire to achieve their potential. A wonderful and heart-warming evening.