Lord-Lieutenant: Remembering the sad - and happy moments

Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire Anna Turner provides a quarterly report on her duties.

Lord-Lieutenant Anna Turner with Margaret Hamer at the British Empire Medal awards presentation in the grounds of Shrewsbury Castle
Lord-Lieutenant Anna Turner with Margaret Hamer at the British Empire Medal awards presentation in the grounds of Shrewsbury Castle

Death of the Duke of Edinburgh:

As a Lord-Lieutenant, we are briefed on our duties should a member of The Royal Family die and so when the sad day came for The Duke, I expected to be given early knowledge.

Things went wrong when a friend rang and asked had I heard the news on the radio, and I knew nothing.

A lot of lessons were learned and the speed at which news travels makes secrets nearly impossible to hold.

Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, who died earlier this year

This experience allowed me to witness first-hand the rush of communication that happens when an event of this sort happens such as the amount of telephone calls and emails that fly around and demonstrated that there is no time to compose a well thought press release, change the website, or form a few words for a radio broadcast. Everything has to be push button ready.

Her Majesty’s Birthday Honours:

We have had a really successful Queen’s Birthday Honours for Shropshire and I get a warm glow of satisfaction when I know some of the people doing so much in the county are getting due respect and recognition for a diverse range of achievements but all with a common theme, their exceptionality.

The recipients I have met are always humble and believe they do not deserve the honour and often gravitate to the chance to excuse their achievements “but it was a team effort”, “but I love doing it” or “but nobody else would do it if I didn’t”.

A team effort and a boost to morale it may be, but someone has taken the trouble to nominate, and you wouldn’t take on the paperwork without being totally convinced!

Besides, it wouldn’t get past the rigorous scrutiny of the panel in London if it wasn’t thoroughly deserved.

The recipients were as follows: BEMs: Trevor Bates, Amanda Medlyn and Nigel Dugmore; MBEs: Martin Allen, Sue Hill-Trevor, Alan Olver, Glen Perkins and Peter Williams and Jay Blades; OBE: Roger Eaton and Eleanor Alberga.

CB: Warren James. This is a British Order of Chivalry founded by George 1 in 1725. The name is derived from the elaborate medieval ceremony which involved bathing as one of its elements. Sadly, that part of the ceremony is no longer upheld, and I was not present for my Deputy Lieutenant with a large loofer.

Shropshire QAVS winners, announced June 2, 2021 were: QAVS: The Red House, Bright Star Boxing, Shrewsbury Drapers and The Shrewsbury Food Hub

Shropshire QAE winners, announced April 29, 2021, were: QAE’s: Reconomy (UK) Ltd, Aviramp Ltd., Scanning Pens Ltd., Landau Ltd.

Due to the backlog of presentations for British Empire Medals which are presented in the county, the Deputy Lieutenants and I grabbed a window of opportunity to have a ceremony for 12 of the 2020 recipients at The Castle in Shrewsbury.

We grasped the chink of sunshine and had a lovely afternoon, reading citations and presenting medals in the most beautiful of backdrops. It was a true privilege to talk to people who are the backbone of our community, committing their time for the benefit of others, and consequently make a huge impact on our community.

To mark the suffering of Covid:

Along with everyone in the UK and many other countries, the people of Shropshire have had a harrowing time since the Covid pandemic hit us in early 2020.

Many people have lost loved ones, and everyone has had to make extraordinary sacrifices in their daily lives as well as in running of their businesses. Communities on all levels have pulled together to get us through.

From the dedicated and unremitting work of health and care workers, through to frontline workers in a wide variety of roles, to many people helping their neighbours, to our Council Executives, our communities have risen to the challenge.

To remember the many who have suffered and sadly died and to thank everyone for their enormous effort I would like to commission a public sculpture, which will be unveiled at Shrewsbury Abbey later this year if funding can be raised.

Artist Paul Kennedy with a maquette of his Covid memorial sculpture

Paul Kennedy, an artist, and bronze founder working in Shropshire has designed a beautiful and moving modern sculpture, to mark the occasion appropriately.

In due course, we will be starting a fundraising page and fundraising campaign to receive donations from all those wanting to be involved in the memorial.

Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations:

Next year is The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and celebrations will take place worldwide.

On Thursday, June 2, there will be Trooping the Colour, over 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians coming together in the traditional parade down The Mall to Horse Guard’s parade.

Platinum Jubilee Beacons will be lit throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories and also in the Commonwealth capital cities.

On Saturday, June 4, a Platinum Party will be held at the Palace. A live concert from Buckingham Palace which members of the public will be invited to apply to attend and a ballot made to secure tickets.

A big Jubilee Lunch in the heart of every community will be held on Sunday, June 5,

And a Pageant in London featuring more than 5,000 people from across the UK and Commonwealth will take place against the backdrop of Buckingham Palace. Combining street arts, theatre, music, circus, carnival, and costume, it will celebrate the service of Her Majesty’s reign.

The Queen’s Green Canopy:

A project which Shropshire has embraced wholeheartedly is that of The Queen’s Green Canopy, which invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”.

The aim is to encourage tree planting and tree preservation to thank Her Majesty The Queen for her exceptional service, celebrate her Platinum Jubilee and promote the importance of trees to the environment.

The Lieutenancy lead to this project in Shropshire is Rob Bland and should you like to know more please do contact him, Shropshire Council or Telford & Wrekin Council who are also very much taking part. You can email him at rjbbland1@outlook.com.

Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital:

I was present for the first “turf cut” marking the commencement of building at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, a brand-new Veterans Orthopaedic Centre, due to open in 12 months.

They have received a grant from The Headley Court Charity for £6 million, which happened by chance when military orthopaedic surgeon, Lt Col Carl Meyer met the Chairman of Headley Court Charity at an awards ceremony in London.

Turf cutting ceremony at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital

He failed to win the award but gained the momentous opportunity to talk about his troubles of raising enough funds for a new veteran centre at Oswestry.

This was the opportunity he needed to start the ball rolling for a grant for more money than he could have ever dreamt of, allowing him to achieve his dream of a new state of the art centre being built which will be a dedicated centre for veterans to deliver world class care for patients with severe skeletal problems, in an environment suitable for their complex needs.

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