Leader of the council’s blog

September 2022: Her Majesty’s spirit will forever shine brightly

Councillor Neil Emmott, Leader of the Council,  signing the book of condolence for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Councillor Neil Emmott, Leader of the Council, signing the book of condolence for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been a really sad, moving and profound moment in our nation’s history. There is a real sense of loss and will be for some time, following the death of our longest serving monarch.

Throughout her glorious and steadfast reign, Her Majesty was devoted to her role as the monarch. That sense of duty, of service, of being a comfort blanket for the nation at times of mourning, but also a shining beacon in our times of triumph, achievement, and those defining moments in our history are etched in our memories. She united the kingdom and brought people together in life and now, as we gather united as a community, in death.

A light has gone out throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, the Commonwealth, and the world. You can see in the reaction, across our borough, how people felt a deep sense of personal loss, the end of an era, in the passing of someone who has been a constant thread in our lives, spanning the generations with that natural ability to connect and resonate with people of all ages. Quite simply, Her Majesty was the best of us.

Her Majesty stood shoulder to shoulder with our Armed Forces community, something I know how much veterans across our borough are grateful for. I am sure everyone saw something in her Majesty that reflected their own life, family, friends and community. One of us, with those timeless human qualities of hope, love and charity.

People respected Her Majesty, they genuinely warmed to her, loved her and saw in her something that related to their own lives. They saw a family person, not just a monarch, but a great grandma, a grandma, mother, wife and auntie.

Let’s also remember her strong connections with our borough and the Middleton community. Visits to Rochdale Town Hall in the 1950s and to Milnrow at the opening of the M62 motorway. Her Majesty also opened Touchstones Museum in 1994, or the Arts and Heritage Centre, as it was known then. I was very proud to be there when Her Majesty opened Hopwood Hall College’s Middleton campus in 1992, and will forever remember the great admiration she inspired in everyone who was there. Moments in time, capturing our borough’s proud past.

I mentioned that a light round the world had gone out, indeed it has, but Queen Elizabeth's spirit will shine brightly and live on forever. A life full of service, of dignity, of duty and of being with us as a nation, a constant in our lives, throughout decades of change. Her Majesty was a remarkable person. It was a remarkable life. May she rest in peace.