This week people across the U.K. and the Commonwealth are celebrating Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee; 70 years on the throne, dedicating herself to a life of public service. This includes here in Hastings and Rye where many events and activities are taking place during the extended Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend.
I was delighted to attend the Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra’s ‘Proms for All: A Jubilee Celebration’ at the White Rock on Sunday 29th May – a wonderful way to kick-start the celebrations locally. Yet again, I was so impressed with - and proud of - the talent of our residents. The choir and the musicians were fantastic, and we heard music and singing ranging from the beautiful Cello Concerto by Edward Elgar, Handel’s Zadok the Priest, to Proms music including Land of Hope and Glory - the audience gustily joining in.
This and other events happening around the country this long weekend are to celebrate the Queen and her lifelong commitment to public service, to Britain, and the Commonwealth. On her 21st birthday, the then Princess Elizabeth made a commitment - “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”
This dedication to her country, the Commonwealth and peoples is exemplary, and a rarity in today’s climate of self-interest and discontent. Public service, whether through election or employment, has never faced a more difficult and unsympathetic time as in the present. Here in East Sussex, we witness every day the hard work and dedication of volunteers, faith leaders, public sector employees and elected Councillors and MPs, often carrying out their work and duties against a barrage of abuse and criticism. Service to our communities is not a responsibility or an obligation, but a commitment made with good intentions - to give back to the communities where we live.
Volunteering and entering public service is an honourable thing to do, where real change can be made, and a good idea can improve the lives of many. The Jubilee coincides with Volunteers Week, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank both The Queen and all of the volunteers and public servants in Hastings and Rye for their invaluable work and service.