Observer column 16 September 2022
A Moment in History
The last week has been dominated nationally and also here in Hastings by the reaction to the sad death of Queen Elizabeth. That is partly due to the very unusual and for the first time public process of transferring power to a new monarch, partly the extraordinary length of the Queen's reign, but mostly I think by the personal connection many many people feel to someone who has been a calm and steady presence throughout most of our lives.
To me she has demonstrated, even through the ups and downs of political and family life, what being a public servant means, putting us, and the good of the country, ahead of her own profile or feelings. I know some disagree and feel you can't separate the person from the position she represented, but clearly the country as a whole has been shaken by her death, and wanting to find varying ways of reflecting on this.
So here we have, as with most towns, postponed public meetings and made sure there has been no use of any media for political advantage. I have stopped publishing my daily blog, and others have gone quiet on social media too. This doesn't mean work has stopped of course, and as well as the time we have spent on arrangements for the week of mourning, plenty of normal business has been achieved, including an important workshop to launch the new multi-agency commitment to tackle Health Inequalities in Hastings. I will write more about that another week, but wanted to publish my column this week to let you know that the funeral next Monday will be broadcast on a big screen in Alexandra Park.
The funeral starts at 11, but the screen will be on from 10am. It will be on the grass near the café, but there will be no seating, so bring your own, or sit on the grass, or stand. Toilets will be open as usual.
Thanks must go to Love Hastings for sponsoring, and the Bonfire Society for volunteering to steward.
Some indoor venues around town will also show the funeral, and of course many will choose to watch at home.
One of my earliest memories is of the funeral of Winston Churchill. This has stayed with me all my life, and I think the same will be true on Monday.
And of course, Monday is also a Bank Holiday now, so whatever you choose to do, I hope it proves a memorable and unique occasion.
Council Leader's column