Friday, 26 September 2008

Lunch with Hazel Blears, MP.

Today I attended a Women's Business Lunch held by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, of which I am a member.

Initially I had a coffee and very interesting chat with Robyn from Robertson Fox.
She explained some of her individual coaching techniques which sound most impressive!

The venue was the new Ramada hotel at Salford - very plush! Great function room with a huge picture window over Salford Quays.

Due to taking a phone call I was late going into the function room and purely by chance ended up on the table with Angie Robinson, Chief Executive of the Chamber and the guest and speaker of the event Hazel Blears MP!

Also at the table was Sue Fogg from the hotel, Katherine and Arvid from Inspired Lives, Julie Finch from Axonbirch and Fiona Desmond from Martin Ward Anderson.

It was a very pleasant lunch with everyone sharing their businesses. I confess that I have been feeling rather tired since my jet setting but after listening to Hazel speak I was raring to go with such enthusiasm again!

Hazel described her start in life in the rather run-down Salford of years ago. At 14 she felt inspired to 'make a difference' in the world when seeing a 'tramp' in Manchester City centre. Now she has worked her way up to being in the Cabinet - her passion, humility and appreciation for her post shone through as did her utmost respect for her parents and their influence on her life. You are an inspiration Hazel - and write a book of your journey to the Cabinet! It would make fantastic reading!

When I was at college over 20 years ago my boyfriend Greg lived in Salford. Where we were today used to be industrial waste land. Now it is a buzzing place with the Media City being built along with real northern pride! Great progress and achievement.

My sadness about Salford though is that until recently there was a great system for mothers with postnatal depression as part of the Sure Start scheme. But funding has ended and so has the service, with the talented and dedicated staff dispersed. What a huge shame.

I called at my parents on the way home because they remain a great inspiration and tower of strength for me!

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