Sir David Amess MP - image

Showmen’s Guild: the positive legacy of Sir David Amess MP, Chair of APPG on Fairs & Showgrounds

Following the tragic death of Sir David Amess MP on Friday, Showmen’s Guild President Philip Paris has paid tribute to the late MP’s work as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Fairs and Showgrounds.

The President commented on Monday:

“Although shocked, we shall all continue to have Sir David and his work of many years in our thoughts, following the special House of Commons Session that took place with Members’ tributes followed by the church service today.

“We are heartened that Sir David has had his continuing, campaigning wish, that Southend on Sea becomes a city, announced as a reality by the Prime Minister today; all the more so as Southend plays host to so many amusement businesses, both static and touring; all supporting jobs and wealth-creation for the local and regional economy.”

The Guild President added:

 “We continue to be reminded of all the hard work and determination that Sir David employed on our behalf, especially in the difficult eighteen months of the pandemic and always so with a cheery word and enthusiasm for our success and survival.”

He detailed:

  • “This included hosting an adjournment Debate in Westminster Hall, to discuss the issues that faced the Showpeople in their work and lives as a result of the pandemic and a meeting with the Tourism Minister, following this, in association with other members of the APPG on Fairs and Showgrounds.
  • Sir David steered the APPG through over eight years and more of issues for the benefit of Showmen and others in the outdoor and amusement industry.
  • The retention of the Red diesel tax concession to promote entertainment in less wealthy parts of the UK that the Showmen reach, was another more recent win, with Sir David’s strong support.
  • The closer working with DCMS and other departments, that we now enjoy, has also been greatly assisted by Sir David.
  • Taxation on Amusement Machines was another issue that Sir David assisted with in recent years;
  • as was the issue of Police Charges for attendance at fairs;
  • and the ability for Show-Children to have flexible learning with continuous access to education without penalty, with a restrictive clause in the Education Act set aside; accomplished with support from across the House.”

The President concluded:

“Our thriving and success in what we do shall be part of Sir David’s enduring legacy and we will miss him personally, as well as professionally.”

The Showmen’s Guild sent a message of sympathy on hearing the terrible news on Friday. A message of condolence was also sent to Lady Julia, Sir David’s widow, and her family.

On Saturday morning, John Thurston, Senior Vice President visited Southend with John Flack, former Chairman of the London & Home Counties Section and arranged a floral tribute to be taken to Lady Julia’s house, with a further letter of condolence and support.

Ahead of the tragic events of Friday lunchtime, the Showmen’s Guild’s newsletter had just gone out to members on Friday morning with details of the letter (below) which Sir David sent to the Chancellor just last Tuesday, with a plea to retain the reduced rate of VAT (at 12.5%).

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