Traditionally, November is a month to reflect and remember all those men and women who have served our country in the Armed Forces as well as those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the two World Wars and other conflicts. This year is particularly poignant given that it is 100 years since the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest and largest conflicts of World War One.
Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) continues to mark the centenary of the Great War by distributing large poppies to communities across Mole Valley to be displayed in our town and village high streets. As we go about our daily lives, these are a touching reminder of the sacrifices made by so many to keep us safe.
MVDC also continues to support annual commemoration events on Remembrance Sunday at Leatherhead and Dorking. This year they will be held on Sunday 13th November and I do hope that you will show your respect and appreciation by supporting these and other local remembrance events in your communities.
Mole Valley is home to many serving personnel and veterans and I am proud to be Mole Valley District Council's Armed Forces Champion and to serve on Surrey's Civilian Military Partnership Board. The Council is particularly proud that Mole Valley has been home to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) at Headley Court since it opened shortly after the Second World War and, in 2010, to acknowledge the DMRC's commitment to the nation and role in our community, we granted the Freedom of Mole Valley to the Centre. In June 2013, we supported their Armed Forces Parade through Dorking High Street which was watched by 5,000 people. We are currently working with the personnel at Headley Court to mark their move from Mole Valley to Stanford Hall in the Midlands. The move is scheduled for 2018 and we have invited the military and civilian staff at Headley Court to participate in a Farewell March through Dorking on 29th September 2017. I hope that many of you will turn out once again next year so that we can celebrate together the commitment DMRC Headley Court has made to the Armed Forces and the role it has played in our local community.
In 2013, MVDC, together with community and business partners, signed the Armed Forces Community Covenant. The Covenant is a promise to Armed Forces personnel and veterans that we will ensure they are respected and remembered for their roles in the military. As the Armed Forces Champion, I have also been ensuring that the Council's policies support veterans and serving personnel so that they are not disadvantaged as a result of the lifestyle they have led during their time in the Armed Forces. We have already amended some of our housing and employment policies to help ease the transition from military to civilian life and we will continue to explore what more we can do. Our work in this regard has been acknowledged by the Ministry of Defence which has awarded the Council the Bronze Award within its Defence Employer Recognition Scheme. More information about our commitment to the Armed Forces is available on our website.