LAST week, I had the pleasure of attending the gala opening of the Maxime Cinema on Blackwood High Street. The cinema looked fantastic throughout – they have done a brilliant job of refurbishing it.

It also cannot go without saying that it is very exciting to see a new cultural venue opening in Islwyn, especially one which is so affordable.

After more thanover 25 years of the town being without a cinema, I am thrilled that the Maxime has opened again right in the heart of Blackwood.

I would like to pay tribute to everyone who was involved in bringing this about, particularly Croespenmaen-based business Four Seasons Entertainment for negotiating the purchase of the old Maxime. I would also like to extend my gratitude to Blackwood Rotary Club for raising an estimated £4,000 for local causes and charities during the evening. It was a brilliant night and a worthy opening for the much-anticipated cinema.

Chris Evans MP, Islwyn