The Frontline county

A seasonal message to all readers from the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Allan Willett CMG, The Queen's representative in the county

A seasonal message to all readers from the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Allan Willett CMG, The Queen’s representative in the County

TIMES are tough as we cope with the effects of the global recession but, as ever, the resilience of our Frontline County’s people shines through.

I see it in Kent’s wonderful army of volunteers who are the backbone of our County and add so much value to our lives.

I see it in our Servicemen and women – regulars and volunteers alike –on active service, and their families who wait with such fortitude.

And I see it in our young people, whose achievements we have again been celebrating throughout the year.

We commemorated the 70th anniversaries of the Miracle of Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain as befits the Frontline County, and we also celebrated the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Cadet movement. You only have to meet some of our fine young Cadets to reassure yourself that our County will be safe in their generation’s hands.

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Looking ahead, 2011 will be an emotive time for me personally as I retire as Lord Lieutenant on my 75th birthday in August. It has been wonderful to represent Her Majesty The Queen who has served our County, this Nation and the Commonwealth so well for so long.

When I took up the appointment I identified the Lieutenancy’s aim – 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.

Our aspiration is to celebrate Kent, its unique history and culture, serve its communities – and contribute positively to its future.

For me it has been a great decade, looking after members of the Royal Family on their many visits to Kent, presenting awards both to entrepreneurial businesses and to the volunteers, leading celebrations of notable anniversaries, visiting communities County-wide, and the like.

The coming year will be one of difficult decisions for many, but I believe it is also a year of promise. Nationally we have the Royal wedding to look forward to, and the excitement of the run-up to the 2012 Olympics.

And in Kent we will have the opening of the Turner Contemporary in Thanet, the new Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, and the Sikh Gurdwara in Gravesend – all expressions of great confidence in the future.

Over the festive season Servicemen and women from Kent will still be serving on demanding operations in Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Our prayers are with them – and especially with their families left behind in our care. 

Our thoughts, too, are with the emergency services, those caring for others, and those who are ill or alone.

My wife Anne and I wish all readers a happy Christmas and a peaceful and successful New Year.