Our Man in West­min­ster

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View - By Damian Green

Iknow every­one com­plained about the weather hit­ting the Queen’s 90th Birth­day cel­e­bra­tions over the week­end, but is it not en­tirely ap­pro­pri­ate that the re­sponse was to en­joy our­selves any­way, what­ever was thrown down from the skies?

This was part of a per­fectly Bri­tish re­sponse.

Equally ap­pro­pri­ate were the var­i­ous re­sponses around Ash­ford. When you are cel­e­brat­ing some­thing as mo­men­tous as the Queen reach­ing 90, you need to make a per­ma­nent mark. That’s why it was good to see so many trees be­ing planted.

It was a great plea­sure to sup­port Ash­ford mayor Ge­orge Koowa­ree as he added a new tree to the town’s Me­mo­rial Gar­dens. It should also be said that Ge­orge man­aged to do this in al­most the only halfhour it wasn’t rain­ing over the week­end.

We were slightly more soggy in Bethers­den on Sun­day, when I helped the chair­man of the parish coun­cil, Keith Bran­nan, in a sim­i­lar but sub­tly dif­fer­ent com­mem­o­ra­tion.

Bethers­den had al­ready planted an oak tree to make the Queen’s Di­a­mond Ju­bilee. To en­hance it, they com­mis­sioned a local black­smith to make a dec­o­ra­tive guard with an in­ge­nious carved band around it in lieu of a plaque. The rain made no dent on the en­thu­si­asm with which we all sang the na­tional an­them af­ter the cer­e­mony.

I know that sim­i­lar events were hap­pen­ing all over Kent, and in­deed over the whole coun­try, as every­one took time off to mark this his­tor­i­cally ex­tra­or­di­nary birth­day.

The fact that the Queen and the Duke of Ed­in­burgh were both able to play a full role in the na­tional cel­e­bra­tions shows all of us how a sense of duty can drive peo­ple on at any age. We are very lucky as a coun­try to have her as head of state.

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