The Lord-Lieutenant of Kent retires on 21 April with a message of hope and heartfelt thanks at a time of national emergency.
Her Majesty The Queen’s official representative in Kent steps down after nearly nine years in the role.
All members of the Lieutenancy are required to retire when they turn 75 and The Viscount De L’Isle CVO MBE reaches that milestone on the same day that The Queen celebrates her 94th birthday. He has held the office since 1 September 2011 and retires during one of the most perilous times for the world, nation and county.
In a farewell message, he said: ”As a former Guardsman, I have witnessed many difficult situations but none quite as challenging as the coronavirus pandemic. Everyone on the planet shares a common enemy and we have all needed to come together to prevent its spread.
“On behalf of Her Majesty, I thank all our NHS frontline workers, emergency services, care homes, carers, retail staff, delivery teams, the Armed Forces, volunteers, charities and everyone playing their part across Kent, Medway and beyond during a crisis unprecedented in our lifetimes. We owe you all a tremendous debt of gratitude.
“Kent people are showing admirable resolution and resilience despite the concerns we all have. I offer my condolences to those grieving for loved ones cruelly taken by Covid-19 but we will come through this crisis stronger. I believe this experience will bring us together, make us appreciate unsung heroes and remind us not to take anyone for granted. It will encourage us to look out for neighbours, to care more for the vulnerable, to be kinder and considerate to everyone, to do more for our community.
“We are proud to have Invicta (Unconquered) as our county’s motto. Our county has faced many crises over the centuries, not least in the Second World War, especially during the Battle of Britain fought in the skies above Kent. We came through with the same spirit I see in Kent and Medway today.
“I am leaving a role that it has been my honour and privilege to hold. I wish my successor Lady Colgrain every success and happiness. I thank fellow members of the Kent Lieutenancy for all their support, and my wife Isobel and family for their encouragement. Above all, I thank you, the people of Kent and Medway, for your support and all you do for our extraordinary county.
“I can do no better than echo the reassuring words of Her Majesty when she expressed the hope that “in the years to come, everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any.”