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Shropshire Star Blog – March 2023

Shropshire Star Blog

Shropshire Star Blog – March 2023

Shropshire’s Lord Lieutenant Anna Turner reflects on a busy royal start to the year.

What a great start to 2023 it was with the wonderful news that nine Shropshire residents had been recognised in the New Year Honours.The county is blessed with such amazing people whose hard work and dedication does so much to help bind our communities together. They truly are an inspiration, and I am delighted that their efforts have been recognised.

It was my pleasure to be able to award one of the last Queen’s Awards for Enterprise (QAE) to i2R a Telford based company. This was the second time they had been awarded a QAE, having also been awarded the QAE in 2021.

Shropshire was pleased to hear that the Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) initiative was extended to the end of March 2023 to give people the joint opportunity to both plant trees in memoriam to honour Her Majesty and reduce their carbon footprint. The initiative also served as an opportunity for communities to come together. A recent example of this was in the village of Clive where 5 local charities and community groups planted trees on community land in freezing temperatures.

Shropshire Day fell on February 23 and this year I visited the beautiful Shropshire secret of Much Wenlock Priory. As the sun disappeared in the afternoon those present enjoyed the Service of Supplication for St Milburga. You cannot help but mop up the glory and beauty of this historic setting, the backdrop to my first Orthodox service. The day was concluded with tea at The Abbey, lovingly restored by the de Wet’s, this is a jaw droppingly beautiful work of art, I am in total awe of the intricate detail they have gone to in restoring such a massive project. I can also say it would be silly to leave Much Wenlock without a delicious St Milburga pie, purchased from Ryan & Sons, I am not known as a massive pie eater, but these are exceptional.

Church Stretton has embraced several Ukrainian families and I wanted to show solidarity by attending a vigil on February 24. It was lovely to hear how they are settling and steadily integrating. As it drizzled with rain it made me think of what it must be like to be homeless, living in makeshift accommodation with danger of attack from Russia every living moment.

We were delighted to welcome our new Queen Consort to Telford. Originally planned for February, the visit was postponed, through seasonal illness. After all the rain we have had lately, we got a few hours unbroken sunshine for the visit, where HM The Queen Consort walked around Southwater Square meeting many of the hundreds of schoolchildren and adults that had stood patiently waiting for her. Children waved union flags and presented posies to her before she moved into the Library to meet eight local organisations, mainly from the voluntary sector, and heard from volunteers about the amazing work they do to support people right across the borough.

Once again – history is in the making with the Coronation of the King and Queen Consort in May.

There is a full itinerary of suggested activities for the Coronation Bank holiday weekend that we can all get involved with and preparation has been at maximum capacity in London since Her Majesty’s funeral.

For myself, I am delighted to have been invited to the Coronation and I know I will enjoy every single moment of the build-up, atmosphere in London, pomp, uniforms, ceremonial dress and service. Lord-Lieutenants from my region, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands and Herefordshire have plans to sit together to make it more fun, we will gather outside Westminster Abbey having not had anything to drink for hours as there is no opportunity to visit conveniences for hours.

Their Majesties will arrive at Westminster Abbey on the morning of Saturday, May 6 in a procession from Buckingham Palace. After the service they return to Buckingham Palace and accompanied by Members of the Royal Family, will appear on the balcony to conclude the day’s ceremonial events.

On Sunday, May 7 is “The Coronation Big Lunch” where neighbours and communities are invited to share food and fun together. Parks, Streets, Village Halls, Community centres and other public places will host parties for us all to get to know each other.

In the evening of May 7, a special Coronation Concert will be staged and broadcast live at Windsor Castle, we have several attending from Shropshire, the nominations were made because they have done something to help their communities. I have asked members of the public who form a committee to recruit and interview new magistrates. They had to adapt to an on-line interview system and have had a tough time with morale low during the pandemic, they give hours of their own time, making sure they find suitable people to sit as lay magistrates.

Monday, May 8 is The Big Help Out. Local events will take place to highlight the positive impact volunteering has on communities across the nation.

Do join in the Coronation Celebrations and mark this historic occasion – I look forward to hearing all about the festivities taking place.