On her 21st birthday Princess Elizabeth Windsor, the future Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed ''I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service". Over the last 60 years the Queen has been a shining example of duty, honour and service to our nation.
A lot has changed in the last six decades , in our own country and around the world but our Monarch has remained solid, steadfast a great symbol of the best of Britain and the Queen has always upheld the promise she made as a young woman.
Picture the 25 year old young girl who arrived in London, dressed in black, greeted by the then Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. Churchill declared the young Queen's accession to the throne as "a New Elizabethan age", and whilst the second half of the 20th Century was filled with many challenges for our country there has been an ever constant in our lives in the shape of a monarch who has lived by the vow she made; devoted to the service of her people.
As an MP I have been fortunate enough to see many examples public spiritedness in our local communities since my election two years ago. I recently visited the 1st Little Stoke Scouts who this year also celebrate their very own Diamond Jubilee and I become and honorary scout. They like the Queen extol the virtues of dedication, service, helping others and a love of country with civic pride. I also think of the many charities and community projects that I have visited and assisted – from the Stoke Gifford Royal British Legion, St Peter's Hospice, the Compass Project in Staple Hill that helps ex-offenders, the Alabaré Bristol Home for Veterans, the Southern Brooks Community Partnership and many more. The Big Society.
To me the Queen is a representation of duty, obligation and service that the volunteers and workers at all our local charities and community projects demonstrate on a daily basis.
As many of us join with family, friends and our neighbours to celebrate and enjoy the Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend perhaps we might reflect on the unwavering service that our Queen has given to this country and the example she sets to us all.
The Queen has said that in this special year as she dedicates herself anew to this country's service that she hopes we will "all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness." So this weekend let's also remember all those in our local communities who, like the Queen, dedicate their lives to helping others.
I wish everyone all the best for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations – and fingers crossed for some good weather or at least dry days!
Scottish Parliament: Labour Market Statistics (21 Aug 2014)
The Presiding Officer: Before we come to First Minister’s questions, members will wish to join me in welcoming to the gallery the Hon Richard Msowoya, speaker of the National Assembly of Malawi. [Applause.]
Scottish Parliament: Department for International Development (20 Aug 2014)
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