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James Daly – 2022 Tribute to HM Queen Elizabeth II

The tribute made by James Daly, the Conservative MP for Bury North, in the House of Commons on 10 September 2022.

The 22nd of October 1954 was a rainy, cold day in Bury, but thousands of people lined the streets, waiting for hours in the pouring rain to see the young Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh on their post-coronation trip to the north-west of England, to see the great towns and cities of the north. There is a wonderful Pathé film of the occasion and one can feel down the ages the happiness, excitement, passion and pride of everyone from all the different towns in knowing that for one moment they might see their Queen, who meant so much to them.

Bury has changed greatly since 1954 in all sorts of ways, including socially. The buildings now look very different to the Pathé film, but the excitement, pride, love and devotion of the people of Bury for their sovereign has never changed. The young Princess Elizabeth first came to Bury in 1938—she was very young then. She came back with her father in 1945: Bury was one of the great towns of the north, producing armaments. She came again in 1954, and in 1968 she visited Radcliffe, another great industrial town just outside my constituency. In 1992, she came back again to visit Bury town hall, which she had opened on that rainy day in 1954.

To me, the Queen represents something that is unique and personal. She is linked to every household, every person, every village, every town and every street in this country. She means different things to us all, but she is a constant, and an example of a set of principles that she lived her life by, for which we all loved and admired her. She said to this nation many decades ago that she would give her life in the service of the people of this country and Commonwealth, and she did exactly that.

The Queen stands for something more than we are. She touched the lives of every single person in Bury, Ramsbottom and Tottington. We have all lived in the Elizabethan age, whether we are six months or 70 years old. We all share the same values, and we have been honoured to live through a time that has linked our towns, our heritage, our histories and our families in the same feelings of love, joy and pride in a unique, wonderful woman. May she rest in peace. God save the King.