James with representatives of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards during a Welcome Home Event for 20th Armoured Brigade
James Gray MP with representatives from Google and The Countryside Alliance Foundation
James Gray MP welcoming representatives of 20th Armoured Brigade to Parliament
James at The Springfields Academy
What a weekend it was – nationally and locally. And what memories each of us will have.
I especially liked the Dunkirk Small boats battling against the driving rain on the Thames. What an example of dedication and duty they were to the Nation 75 years ago. And what a ‘Dunkirk Spirit’ there was evident throughout the River Pageant. We all felt for the Queen and Prince Philip on their feet for 4 or more hours, their strong sense of duty repaying the devotion of the 1.5 million who were braving the rain on the riverbank to see them. The Duke paid a medical price for it, and it was sad to see the Queen on her own at the concert and again at St Paul’s. But it came as no surprise to any of us that she was determined to carry on despite his illness. We know of the strength of her dedication to duty and that she would not count the cost of it.
And no-one locally was downhearted because of the weather either. Far from it.
I attended the unveiling of the most beautiful Diamond Jubilee Mosaic in Cricklade, and of the stone to commemorate 70 years of the RAF’s devotion to duty in Lyneham; I went to the Diamond Jubilee Service in Salisbury Cathedral on Friday, and after surgeries in Calne and Royal Wootton Bassett on Saturday visited the Flower Festival in Lyneham, the Church and veteran cars in Bradenstoke, and a rain-soaked concert at Lacock Abbey in the evening (where we had a very British picnic in a friend’s caravan which promptly broke down on the way home). I read a lesson at the service in St Barts, Royal Wootton Bassett on Sunday morning, followed by a look-in at the highly enjoyable events in Sherston and Purton; I judged the children’s Fancy Dress at Kington St Michael on Monday morning (they had a great day of celebrations planned), said a few words from the platform at Royal Wootton Bassett and looked in to a very jolly garden event in Brinkworth; and finally enjoyed a thoroughly glamorous and patriotic lunch in Neston on Tuesday. There were events of one kind or another in every town and village across the patch, and I was only sorry that I could not attend all of them. North Wiltshire was en fete, and nothing could daunt our celebratory spirits.
But it wasn’t just about having fun; nor was it simply Patriotism, although both things were much in evidence. Throughout the events we simply marvelled at Her Majesty’s dedication to duty (and that of all of the Royal Family). For sixty years she and her family have been tireless in doing things, attending events, carrying out functions – not necessarily because they wanted to (although I am sure that she makes a point of enjoying everything she does), but because she knew that it was her duty to do so. She dedicated herself to the Nation sixty years ago, and pledged that she would devote her life to her peoples and Nation and Commonwealth. And my goodness she has discharged that pledge – plus some.
The Queen’s Dedication to Duty; her Determination to serve; her truly ‘Dunkirk Spirit’ deserves all of our wholehearted Devotion.
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