04 Dec Shropshire’s Lord-Lieutenant Anna Turner looks back on a year full of proud moments
Last Christmas family Turner had to wade their way through two turkeys because I panicked on Christmas Eve when the ordered one arrived and I thought it was too small, a friend of a friend knew where another one could be sourced and said bird arrived just in time to be cooked but guess what, we didn’t need one slice of it, so Boxing Day was spent making creative turkey dishes for the freezer.
This year has seen the coronation of the new King and Queen and we have all settled into the new norm that is the Carolean era.
We have had the pleasure of welcoming numerous royal visitors to Shropshire this year. In March we greeted Her Majesty the Queen who visited Southwater, Telford. She was amazing and had conversations with several voluntary organisations and then concluded with the unveiling of a commemorative stone for Telford Veterans’ Trail.
In April we welcomed Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Edinburgh to Shropshire. She arrived at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital for an official visit, made an unscheduled loop via a crowd of staff and children who had gathered by the helicopter landing and marked the official opening of the pioneering Headley Court Veterans’ Orthopaedic Centre by unveiling a plaque. The Duchess also took time to meet staff from the hospital and veterans. She showed an enormous amount of interest to all those she spoke to.
July saw Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal visit Harper Adams University. The Princess is Chancellor of the university and the visit was a chance to update her on some of the excellent projects currently under way at Harper Adams.
A few weeks ago, in November, we welcomed His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. He spent a full day in Telford, firstly he visited Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) where he was given a tour of the facilities and updated on equipment changes. He then visited the Army Reserve Centre, before joining a tea party at Dawley Town Hall. Both events were military-themed, with the Duke meeting cadets at the reserve centre, before meeting agencies and groups which support veterans, gathered together by Telford & Wrekin Council at the town hall.
I love to see Shropshire being showcased, and the places and organisations visited receive publicity in the media – both locally and nationally. Also it is a fantastic opportunity for my Lord-Lieutenant Cadets to be part of something special.
As a county we have been blessed with a good number of honours this year and one of the best parts of my role is presenting BEMs to those awarded with a national honour for their outstanding service in the community, announced in the honours lists twice yearly – this year this has been a total of 10. We have also received a good number of other honours such as OBE, MBE and military recognition.
There has also been fantastic recognition for the volunteers of Shropshire – an amazing eight organisations have been recognised by being awarded the King’s Award for Voluntary Service (the MBE for the voluntary sector) – well done to you and thank you for all you do!
This year has seen our lieutenancy forging links with many different sectors especially businesses, churches and interfaith communities, charities and schools. We have particularly enjoyed going into schools and talking to the pupils about the monarchy and the work of the lieutenancy. The children are always keen to hear how they can get involved too.
In November the county ‘remembered’. Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday is so very important to the Lieutenancy. Myself and my Deputy Lieutenants ensured that the Crown was represented, on a cold and wet weekend, by laying wreaths and paying our respects at services throughout the county. Remembrance can take many different forms and we were delighted to be invited to a Remembrance art exhibition and to also see the wonderful post box toppers that have been created by incredibly skilful Shropshire citizens.
I have recently visited the two Shropshire Veolia Recycling sites to reassure myself that Shropshire was not exporting rubbish to Third World countries. We don’t export rubbish because if we recycle here there is money in it, whereas shipping it abroad would cost money. I learnt so much and came away with a renewed enthusiasm – batteries are bad news in your rubbish, cause fires in the hoppers and need separating. The more recycling we do the more money the council make from it and hopefully the less our rates will need to increase.
The year generally has not been without its struggles economically, but we have also had cause for celebrations too, for the many honours and awards recipients in the county. My 30 brilliant Deputy Lieutenants will continue to search the county for those unsung heroes who work tirelessly to make life better for others and successful businesses who deserve recognition for outstanding achievement.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas.