Message from Managing Director, Emma Alexander - 16 September 2022
Published on 16 September 2022.
As I write it is almost exactly seven days since the news broke of the death of Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. It feels to me, from many conversations and from the near continuous news broadcasting, that considerable individual, collective and public reflection has taken place over these past seven days.
Some of those reflections were heard at Wednesday’s Full Council meeting. Normally it is a time for all 64 county councillors to engage in political debate on topical issues and to consider and approve a range of reports. This time, councillors decided that political debate did not seem fitting during this period of national mourning and so it was agreed that normal business would be deferred and, instead, the opportunity given for individual councillors to pay their respects to Her Late Majesty. Councillor after councillor stood up to speak and shared their thoughts about The Queen and the times they had met, seen or heard about her in Derbyshire and beyond. Sometimes funny anecdotes were shared but most often the heartfelt recollections were tinged with sadness, acknowledging that these precious memories were now facets of the past, rather than moments from a life still being lived.
Many of us have been surprised by our reaction to the news of The Queen’s passing – a sudden and visceral shock that the constant presence in our lives has come to an end. It has perhaps inevitably led to reflection about other losses in our lives, people to whom we were much closer and for whom the grieving process has been harder and sharper.
In whatever way the death of The Queen has impacted on you, do remember you are not alone. The solace in collective loss is that we can speak to each other, share how we feel and give and take comfort from that shared sense of loss, grief and sadness.
Working in the public sector means that we are familiar with the notion of duty and service, that we recognise that our roles are not simply jobs but are ways in which we can help and support those who need the services we provide. These may be services provided to individuals, to the public at large or services supporting the rest of the organisation. Whatever your role, the notion of public service means that as colleagues at the council you always go the extra mile, always with the people of Derbyshire in your mind. It is in this way that you embody the same approach to duty and service that The Queen demonstrated year after year after year.
Many, many thanks for your service to Derbyshire. I hope you are able to give and receive any comfort and support needed over coming days. No doubt, as the months and years pass by, this week will fade from our memories. For now, I urge you to seize this moment, to open your hearts to how this feels right now and by doing so you will be able to look back at this time, a moment in history and remember that it was through this sadness we were able to come together, comfort each other and find strength to meet the challenges we face, stronger because we are together.