It is with much regret, as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 virus, it has proved necessary to cancel The Lord-Lieutenant’s Civic Service which was to have taken place 17th March, 2020, at Canterbury Cathedral.
I pass on my sincere apologies to all those who have worked hard towards this service, and especially staff involved in the planning at Canterbury Cathedral.
My very best wishes to you all, and for your information here is a transcript of my speech which was to have been given at the service:
We are extremely fortunate to be here in Canterbury Cathedral for our annual Civic Service, thanks to the Dean and Chapter.
The restoration work on the fabric of the building is continuing apace, a building of the cathedral’s age requires constant care, attention and adaptation to fit the requirements of successive generations. This year is the 850th anniversary of the murder of St Thomas à Becket, which will be commemorated fully later in the year.
This Civic Service which has been held in the Spring of each year, was instituted by Allan Willett, my predecessor, it has moved year by year from Canterbury to Rochester Cathedral and All Saints, Maidstone.
Over the last 20 years it has afforded many people from all parts of Kent, and the many organisations which they represent, an opportunity to meet, which on many occasions has led to opportunities that have formed new alliances, the outcome of which has given rise to closer co-operation in the projects where help is needed.
Kent is a county which is well endowed with charities and most importantly, many people who give their time and energy in supporting the work in which they are engaged. I have learnt, during my time in the Lieutenancy of the many communities who bank on the support of many of you here, and without the generous gift of time, expertise and some finance, Kent would be a much reduced county in prominence. I would like to thank everyone who gives their time, energy and resources to help others who are in need of assistance. I hope that all the wonderful work which is given will encourage the generations who follow you to keep up this very important work. Our county needs to continue to show a caring hand to our fellow residents, who may be less fortunate than us.
I will be retiring on 21 April and I am certain you will give the same excellent support you have shown me to my successor Lady Colgrain, who is already known to many of you. This is the last opportunity I will have to publicly thank Richard Oldfield my Vice and all the other Deputy Lieutenants for supporting me during my time in office, without their assistance it would have been impossible for us to plan with others the events we felt needed celebration or commemoration. There are too many people to thank individually but those who have been involved will know who they are.
The role of Lord-Lieutenant is to be the personal representative of the monarch in the county, this can only be successfully achieved if all the residents, through their loyalty to Her Majesty The Queen, lend their support to their Lord-Lieutenant. I would like to thank all of you for the generous backing you have shown to Lady De L’Isle and myself whilst I have held this ancient office.
May God continue to bless all the men of Kent and Kentish men and their families into the future.
With Best Wishes,