A MEMORABLE year ahead is forecast by Viscount De L’Isle MBE, who assumes office today (Thursday 1 September) as the 29th Lord Lieutenant of Kent, pledging himself to work for the interests of the County’s young people.
On taking up his appointment as The Queen’s representative in the County he said: “I am immensely honoured to have been appointed Lord Lieutenant in succession to Allan Willett, who has done so much for Kent and its Lieutenancy during his ten years in office. I know everyone in Kent would wish me to thank him on their behalf and wish him and Mrs Willett a long and happy retirement.”
In his previous role as Vice Lord Lieutenant, Lord De L’Isle, of Penshurst Place near Tonbridge, was part of the team who modernised the Lieutenancy under Allan Willett’s leadership.
As he prepared for his first engagements as Lord Lieutenant – taking the salute at a military parade and presenting Queen’s Awards for Enterprise and Voluntary Service – Lord De L’Isle said he knew many would be asking: “Where do I go from here?”
He said the short answer was: “More of the same, but achieved slightly differently. The aims of the Lieutenancy remain unchanged: to provide a focus for County identity, unity and pride, give a sense of stability, recognise achievements, success and excellence and promote service to others.
“Everyone’s ambition should be to celebrate Kent, its extraordinary history and culture, serve their communities and contribute positively to our future success.
“Kent has led the way and we should continue to give our undivided attention to recognising our Armed Services and their families.
“Across the County and in Medway we are blessed with an army of volunteers working tirelessly to support others and particularly assisting our youth, the seed corn of tomorrow’s Kent. I look forward to visiting and working with these charities.
“We face changing times in the field of youth employment and it is my hope the Lieutenancy can work with all the agencies involved to ensure our children can find work suited to their set of skills.
“Within the next twelve months we will be celebrating Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics. The key time for the Jubilee will be the four-day weekend 2-5 June, when all our thoughts will be focussed on thanking The Queen for her sixty years of dedicated service to this Nation and the Commonwealth of Nations.
“In Kent we should focus ourselves on the events in which we can join Her Majesty in celebration. On Sunday 3 June it has been suggested that all of us across the land should join together in a ‘big lunch’ within our communities.
“This might take the form of a street party in urban areas or parties on the village green in other places, so I hope we will find groups of like-minded people putting their heads together and forming committees to deliver the biggest of Kent lunches across the County.
“The following evening, Monday 4th June, it is planned to have a chain of 2012 beacons across the United Kingdom the Commonwealth and Protected Territories. I have asked local authorities and rural business organisations to help co-ordinate the network within Kent. It is planned to draw up a register of all beacons which will be presented to The Queen after the event. In order to appear on it beacons must be registered and details for this can be found at www.diamondjubileebeacons.co.uk
“The 2012 Olympics are taking place on our doorstep in East London and a number of teams have decided to train in Kent leading up to the games. We must welcome them with open arms and also the many spectators who will have sensibly decided to stay in Kent and travel into the games by public transport. This is a great opportunity for us to showcase our amazing County and encourage visitors to return in future.”