I was privileged to have a tour around Peterborough’s expansive Perkins Engines site in Eastfield this week.
The company was founded in Peterborough just over 80 years ago. Since then, the name Perkins, and its growth and success, has become synonymous with the city.
When Perkins became part of Caterpillar Inc in 1997, it created the world’s largest diesel engine manufacturer. A truly global enterprise.
Some of you may work or have worked there yourself. If you haven’t, then I’m sure you know someone who has.
Alongside Councillor Peter Hiller, the city council’s cabinet member for growth, planning, housing and economic development, I was shown around the site, including the fascinating research and development centre, by divisional manager Matt Coleman.
Matt, who later told us he used to be a Formula 1 engineer, said the company continued to make a significant investment in its Peterborough facility.
We were impressed by the high-tech operation and cleanliness of the site. Also the company’s commitment to recruiting apprentices – more than 30 started roles last year.
Perkins and Caterpillar are demonstrating real confidence in the city of Peterborough and its people. This is something to shout about.
When it comes to individual success, there’s no doubt gymnast Louis Smith is one of Peterborough’s biggest stars.
His televised performances on the pommel horse have captivated sports fans across the globe since he sprung in to the limelight just under 10 years ago.
Louis is an icon to many, so therefore I am very pleased he has agreed to turn on Peterborough’s Christmas lights in Cathedral Square on Saturday 14 November.
Following the switch on, people are inviting to meet Louis at the Town Hall, where they can buy his calendar and get it signed.
The Mayor’s charities will also be staging a mulled wine and mince pie event to raise funds for good causes.
I think it’s fair to say my best pommel days are behind me, but I will also be switching on festivity lights in the city centre.
This is because the Peterborough Diwali committee has kindly asked me to turn on the Diwali lights at 5.30pm this Saturday, to round off a busy day of
festivities that start at 10.30am.
It won’t be my first involvement with this year’s Diwali festivities as I also took part in Bharat Hindu Samaj’s Navratri Festival earlier this week, getting to wear the traditional dress for the occasion.
On the subject of this week’s visits, I would like to thank everyone for the very hospitable welcome I received at the launch of the ‘Our Big Expression’ art exhibition at City College Peterborough, where I am also a governor.
The work was created by people who have a learning disability, with the objective of the exhibition, supported by Mencap, being to give people the opportunity to participate in a project that stimulates them in a new way. Some fantastic work to view.
Of course, October 31 is also Halloween and an opportunity for people to have fun over this celebratory period.
Take care if you or your family is out trick-or-treating, with the clocks going back the evenings are now darker and, as I tell my grandchildren, make sure you wear bright clothing to be visible to drivers.