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Barbara Keeley – 2022 Tribute to HM Queen Elizabeth II

The tribute made by Barbara Keeley, the Labour MP for Worsley and Eccles South, in the House of Commons on 10 September 2022.

I want to say on behalf of my constituents in Worsley and Eccles South that we are deeply saddened by the death of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She has been the monarch throughout my lifetime, and this loss feels like losing a member of my own family. She was devoted to the service of the nation for 70 years, and she served our country and the Commonwealth with great commitment, deep devotion and dignity.

My constituency of Worsley and Eccles South lies within the city of Salford. One of our most famous artists, L. S. Lowry, was one of the official artists at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. His classic work from that momentous day is called “The Procession passing the Queen Victoria Memorial”. In October 2000, the late Queen officially opened the Lowry theatre and art gallery in Salford. During her visit, the Queen greeted staff and volunteers from the Lowry and spoke to local schoolchildren who had created an exhibition of photographs about life in Salford. His Royal Highness Prince Philip was the first chancellor of the University of Salford, and the Queen supported him in his role as a dedicated and active chancellor during his 24-year tenure at the university.

In 2012, during her diamond jubilee tour, the late Queen opened MediaCity, the home of the BBC and ITV Granada in the north, as well as other media service companies, and the media base of the University of Salford. It was an honour for me to meet the Queen on that occasion. The late Queen’s last visit to Salford was in July last year. She met actors and members of the production staff at the “Coronation Street” set in MediaCity, in celebration of the show’s 60th anniversary.

As the shadow Minister for civil society, I know that many charities hold the late Queen Elizabeth II in very high esteem. She was the patron of more than 600 charities, military associations, professional bodies and public service organisations, and tributes have been pouring in from many of them over the last couple of days. The late Queen’s patronages cover every area of the charity and voluntary sector, from charities for young people to the preservation of wildlife and the environment. The values that she possessed of selfless public service, compassion and leadership encompass the spirit of our civil society.

In her Christmas message of 2016, Her late Majesty talked of drawing strength from

“ordinary people doing extraordinary things: volunteers, carers, community organisers”,

and she said:

“On our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice, but the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine.”

Her own thousands of acts of goodness will be remembered for generations. I know that her legacy will continue to live on in the thousands of charities and volunteers dedicated to supporting communities across the UK and around the world, and that King Charles III will continue the traditions of selfless public service, compassion and leadership. God save the King.