REFLECTION OF 2020 BY THE LORD LIEUTENANT
Many of you will look back at 2020 as one of the most difficult and challenging years of your lives. So much of what we take for granted was no longer possible. Who would have thought that when we held the happy evening to celebrate the appointment of David Russell as our Citizen of the Year on the 10th March that within weeks our lives would be fundamentally changed and we would be locked down and unable to see friends and family.
I last wrote a message in the Alloa Advertiser in May when we had already spent 2 months in lockdown. I commented then that we had seen an amazing community response to help the sick, lonely, vulnerable and elderly. This has continued throughout the year and already one member of the Wee County has been honoured for all he has done during this year. David Sharp was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the latest Honours List and I look forward to presenting the medal to him as soon as I am able to do so. There will be many others in the Wee County who have gone “beyond the call of duty” and they can be nominated on line by anyone. It would be wonderful to see a few more people from Clackmannanshire being recognised for all their hard work.
The young seem to have been least affected by the pandemic and fortunately schools and colleges have been able to continue, albeit with restrictions. Two of my 3 children, both at university, tested positive for Covid but both had few symptoms except they lost their taste and smell for some weeks. This is an issue and the young must be careful to follow social distancing and wear masks as much as possible in order not to pass the virus on to older friends and family.
rities and voluntary organisations have all been working hard but will be short of money as they have not been able to hold fund raising events. There is no doubt that as soon as the virus is beaten we will all have to help these important organisations. I look forward to visiting many of them as soon as is possible. The charity that will be the very first to see me is the Breathe Easy Clackmannanshire Community Group which was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This highest award within the voluntary sector has arrived and I much look forward to meeting all the volunteers and presenting them with the award. There will be other voluntary organisations who meet the criteria and are deserving of this special award. You can go on the QAVS website to nominate them or you can get in touch with me and I will help you.
Apart from the Citizen of the Year, CTSI awards and Sports awards, most of the awards and County events were cancelled due to the Pandemic. I was very disappointed that we were unable to hold our annual Armed Forces Day. This was the second year in a row, 2019 being cancelled due to the weather. It is too early to know what will be possible in 2021 but we will do all we can to hold these events.
One of my most important duties is to welcome new citizens to the Wee County. These short citizenship ceremonies take place about once a month and I enjoy meeting individuals with their families who have decided to take up British Citizenship and move to the County. The pandemic and associated restrictions have meant that these have had to be cancelled this year but I look forward to these ceremonies being started again at the earliest opportunity.
A provisional date has been put in the diary for the Garden Party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in the Summer. The 80 residents of the County who were sent invitations for the cancelled 2020 Garden Party will be invited again in July 2021. They should get their new invitation in May 2021 if it is possible to hold the event next year.
On Remembrance Day all communities organise a church service and event at the war memorials throughout the County. It was sad that this November we were unable to hold formal services in the usual way. On a damp November day I and a few others laid wreaths at the war memorial in Alloa and this was the case throughout the County. We must all hope that next year we will be able to meet and remember in the usual way at 11am on Sunday 14th November.
The start of the roll out of a vaccine gives us all hope that our lives will revert to some form of normality sometime in 2021. Stay well and stay safe in these very difficult times. We will all get through this and there will be better times again in the future.