Column: In My View with Steve Duncan, chief executive officer, Community Foundation for Calderdale

What a momentous time to be alive and to join with communities across the UK, the Commonwealth and further afield to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and 70 incredible and dependable years on the throne.

By Zoe Drye
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 1:30 pm
Steve Duncan with Shantha Rao of Annapurna Dance
Steve Duncan with Shantha Rao of Annapurna Dance

The Queen already holds the record as the longest reigning Monarch in British history, and she can be forgiven for starting to take things a little easier in her 97th year!

At the time of writing this column Her Majesty was unable to attend the State Opening of Parliament due to mobility issues and Prince Charles stepped in to perform a ceremony that the Queen has only missed on two other occasions when she was pregnant. This is the clearest sign yet that that Our Queen is getting quite frail and won’t always be here ‘to reign over us’. Even more reason to make the most of the extended Bank Holiday (June 2-5) and celebrate her extraordinary life.

In Calderdale, across the four days, there will be so much to see and take part in across all four corners of the borough. Beacons will be lit, street parties, festivals and parades will bring communities together. Piece Hall boasts a flagship programme of culture and creativity, and they and eight other organisations have received grants through the Community Foundation for Calderdale via the Arts Council’s Let’s Create Jubilee Fund – these are Verd de Gris, Sowerby Bridge High Street Heritage Zone, Halifax Minster, Friends of Centre Vale P{ark in Todmorden, Wadsworth Community Association, Annapurna Dance, Halifax Chamber Choir and Age UK Calderdale.

Sign up to our daily Halifax Courier Today newsletter

I always feel with these special occasions they create many memories but it’s always good to create a ‘legacy’. I recently put forward the idea of commissioning a Jubilee Plaque to be sited at Piece Hall and various people including Holly Lynch MP, Nicky Chance-Thompson Chief Executive of Piece Hall and Hazel Brindle from Rotary supported the idea which included a successful school drawing competition, kindly coordinated by Holly Lynch MP and Craig Whittaker MP, to design the central emblem for the plaque. The standard was incredible, and four designs were shortlisted, and you can see the unveiling of the plaque by the Lord Lieutenant at 5pm on Sunday, June 5 in the Piece Hall leaving a permanent tangible reminder of the Platinum Jubilee. Plans are also well underway to site a Jubilee garden in Crow Wood Park Sowerby Bridge thanks to the vision and enthusiasm of Hazel Brindle from Sowerby Bridge Rotary Club.

I have to confess these planned Jubilee celebrations resonate with me even more because in 2008 Her Majesty gave her ‘non disapproval’ to my appointment as a Deputy Lieutenant in West Yorkshire and I feel so privileged to be in a position to support the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire (Ed Anderson) with his duties as the Sovereign’s appointed person in the Shire. In my capacity as a Deputy Lieutenant, I can put names forward of deserving people to receive Royal Garden Party invitations. Having recently done this for a very deserving Hebden Bridge couple my wife and I also received invitations to act as carers for the couple. This was a wonderful, surprise which we will enjoy later in May when we join others at Buckingham Palace regrettably without Her Majesty being in attendance but very special none the less.