Guardian of a nation

THE novelist J.G Farrell once asked: "We look on past ages with condescension, as a mere preparation for us ... but what if we are a mere after-glow of them?"

Few of us, after the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, will ask ourselves this question. As Winston Churchill’s passing marked the final dying breath of the Victorian era, hers marks the passing of our second great Elizabethan age. So strong is the sense of tradition, that future generations will dream of what they have never seen. There can be little doubt that the reign of Queen Elizabeth II will be the subject of such dreams.

With what words can we write the story of her service? She has been a model of devotion, of dignity and of dedication. They say the mother is the guardian of the species; likewise, Her Majesty has been the guardian of our nation. Amidst the tumult of the raging sea, she has represented a lifeboat.

Perhaps that is why we have clung to her so tightly, lest we be cast adrift. As a result of her devoted service, her selfless industry, her quiet constancy and her warmth in a world so often cold and cruel, a monarch has never represented so much to her people.

Only now do we realise how tightly she was wound around our hearts.

Tom Jones, Councillor for Scotton and Lower Wensleydale.

Shared sadness

IT is with the greatest of sadness that we received the sad news of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Our thoughts are with the Royal Family as they grieve for the loss of their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Our sadness at this time is shared by people across the globe as we remember with great affection and gratitude Her Majesty’s lifetime of service and unwavering devotion to her people throughout the United Kingdom, Commonwealth and other realms.

As our longest reigning monarch, the Queen was an anchor of permanence and stability and we will never forget her warmth, compassion and devotion to duty. She demonstrated extraordinary dedication and commitment to duty throughout her reign and did so with a graceful strength and admirable determination.

The Queen ruled throughout decades of change, from the dark post-war days through to the new horizons of the 21st Century, providing essential continuity for the nation.

Over the years, Her Majesty visited the County Durham Lieutenancy on many occasions and was much loved and warmly welcomed.

On behalf of the people throughout the Lieutenancy of County Durham, I have written a personal letter to His Majesty the King and members of the Royal Family offering our condolences and deep sympathy for the great loss they have sustained.

They will be in our thoughts and prayers.

May the sadness and grief that we all feel be overwhelmed in due course by the many happy memories we have of Queen Elizabeth II, of a life lived fully and well in duty and service.

As we look forward, the Queen has left a strong platform for the King to build upon and carrying forward his mother’s legacy, but also moving the monarchy forward with continuity, making it relevant to today’s society.

I have also expressed most sincerely to His Majesty our loyal devotion and service throughout his reign.

Sue Snowdon, Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham.

Queen's travel

I WAS saddened to learn the Queen's body was to be flown from Edinburgh to London because there are 51 railway stations between Edinburgh and London on the East Coast Main Line.

I believe significant numbers of people would attend each railway station and watch in quiet respect had a train carrying the Queen's body gone by. But as the East Coast Main Line has become so unreliable lately, I shouldn't be really that surprised the Earl Marshal flew her body from Edinburgh Airport.

Cllr Nigel Boddy, Darlington.

Life-changing event

THE passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II came as a great shock, and that is not surprising because she has been my Queen all my life.

Given that she was not only our monarch but the guarantor of our constitution, a role which she fulfilled with great skill and joyful duty, her loss is deeply felt. I hope and pray that she will rest in peace in God’s realm.

She has left a legacy of her thinking and advice to our new King, Charles III, and it is right that we support him and show our allegiance with joy and commitment as he leads the nation through a difficult time.

Pessimism is the death-knell to all attempts to succeed so let us be joyous and optimistic, and say from our hearts, “God save the King”.

It is a pity that, on too many occasions, journalists have attacked the Royal Family for no practical purpose. Since that is, in effect, an attack on our monarchy, which has a proud history of well over 1,000 years, it is also an attack upon our society. Any such attacks should be referred to the Supreme Court so that the monarchy does not become embroiled with the press.

Equally, we do not want to see our society changed by some pressure group who use their efforts to publish wrong and offensive information for the purpose of bringing the constitution into disrepute. If we want a republic, which we do not, there are constitutional ways of achieving this without fanatical crackpots manipulating our constitution.

I am a member of the Constitutional Monarchy Association and would encourage people to join so that we can work towards the future of our beloved constitutional monarchs.

Bernard Borman, Leyburn.

Royal memories

WHEN the Queen’s father died on February 2, 1952, l was in recruit training in RAF Bridgnorth and about to finish training. We were told that our squad was to take part in the King’s funeral by lining the route of the funeral procession in the capital, although that never happened.

On the day of the Queen’s Coronation, on June 2, 1953, l was stationed in Fayid, Egypt, on the Suez Canal, seconded to the Royal Engineers. We were given half the day off and one free pint of beer!

It all came back to me on the sad day of her passing away.

God bless the Queen. God save the King.

Harry Watson, Darlington.

Special moment

MY lasting memory of our late Queen is the day I received the Royal wave from her. I know it was for me as I was the only person present.

From 1960 until 1965 I was a runway controller at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire. Runway controllers were positioned in a caravan very close to the edge of the runway near the point where aircraft took off and landed and their duty was to make sure it was safe for aircraft to take off and land.

I was on duty in the afternoon when the Queen visited the station. I checked over the aircraft as normal as it lined up to take off. As I put the binoculars down I noticed the Queen at the aircraft window – she looked over in my direction and gave the Royal wave then turned to someone seated next to her and said something.

Malcolm Neesam, Thirsk.

School albums

WHEN the Queen died on Thursday, it brought back memories for me of my school days at Cockton Hill School in Bishop Auckland when I was eight-years-old.

We were having a lesson in the main hall via radio, as was the norm in those days, when everything went quiet, then came an announcement proclaiming that the King had died. I can remember it as if it were yesterday.

When the date of the Queen’s coronation was set, our teacher announced a scrapbook competition would take place and the winner would receive a book. I ended up doing three albums and finished up being joint winner with one of my class mates.

I still have all three albums after 70 years and they are still in a good condition. The strange thing is that the last time I looked through them was only three or four weeks ago.

John Rusby, Bishop Auckland.

Energy bills

THERE is huge debate about how we are going to pay for vastly increased energy costs, but little or no questioning as to why it is happening.

I understand that we now generate 40 per cent of our electricity in UK from renewable sources – solar, wind, nuclear, hydro and biomass. Why then is the cost of electricity governed by the price of gas? We produce some of that too so one is driven to the conclusion that the reason we are now expected to pay these outrageous prices for energy is that the production is all privatised and the companies are charging as much as they can. Clearly they are making vastly more than a normal commercial profit.

Contrast our situation with that of France. The French government controls EDF, their principal energy generator, and French consumers and businesses are being asked to pay a modest four per cent increase.

So we are in this situation , at least in part, because of the Conservative government's obsession with privatisation.

It makes a mockery of "taking back control".

Gerald Hodgson, Leyburn.

Street fair

GIVEN that the Football Association is cancelling most football matches as a mark of respect to our late Queen why is it that Stokesley Town Council is allowing the street fair to proceed?

It would appear that both the fair operator and Stokesley Town Council put their profit motives before appropriate observance unlike countless other organisations.

Alwyn Boulby, Stokesley.

New Prime Minister

JUDGING by the evidence so far, Liz Truss's approach to policy making seems to be sticking her finger in the air to find out which way the wind is blowing. This, coupled with having all the diplomatic skills of a bull in a china shop, does not fill me with confidence that she is the right person for the position of Prime Minister. Still, if this doesn't work out she can always get a job with the Post Office and deliver, deliver, deliver.

Graeme Cunningham, Ripon.

Efficient service

THE Passport Office has been the recent recipient of news stories of tales of woe and delay.

Imagine my surprise and absolute delight, being kept fully informed by the Passport Office of the application I made online on August 30 for a renewal, to hear the new one would be delivered on September 7, and it duly was.

So how about that? Well done Passport Office, you deserve three cheers, praise where praise is due.

Robert Walker, Middleton St George.