Member(s) of the Royal Family

The dedication and professionalism of pharmacy staff has been clear, if I may say so, to see during the coronavirus pandemic.  Over this unbelievably harrowing period, you, ladies and gentlemen have kept vulnerable people supplied with medicines, played a key part in the N.H.S. vaccination programme. You supported testing and have been a vital source of healthcare advice to millions of people.

The photographs are both incredibly moving and inspiring. Moving - because of the depth of pain and loss that the survivors have endured at the hands of those who claimed to love them, and inspiring - because these photographs show us how survivors can, and do, take back their own identity and their own stories, which have too often been eroded and taken from them by the abuse they have suffered.

I was immensely impressed that you were all able to continue with your courses and successfully graduate, given all the complexities.  I know that this will not have been easy and at the end of the day is a great testament to the flexibility and determination of both the staff and every one of you.  This same dedication, adaptability and willingness continually to push yourselves will be required time after time in your future careers.

Ladies and gentlemen, whether it is by supporting Ukrainians in their time of need, designing the technology that has helped us fight Covid, developing the innovations that help us better sequester carbon in our landscapes, or teaching our young people how to build a more sustainable, healthier and more prosperous future, the people of Ireland stand alongside the people of the United Kingdom as an example for us all. 

If I may say so, It is a particular pleasure that we will be meeting so many people throughout the course of today who have helped this city, county and country throughout this dreadful pandemic – from those who have been on the frontline against Covid, to those who have cared for loved ones and through community groups, and indeed to those remarkable Waterford-based innovators whose Covid tracker app has aided your national response, you are owed a great debt of gratitude.

I cannot even begin to imagine the dreadful conditions, the suffering, the agony you have all had to endure on your way to arrive here in this country. I pray you have been welcomed.

Stories have power. I very much hope that you have all been able to speak to Fawzia, Ferozan and Alia, to hear them describe what life has been like for female judges in Afghanistan; and to Inna about the heart-breaking conditions in Ukraine, where democracy and freedom are under brutal attack. Their stories, of the humanity behind the headlines, are unbearably moving – but they must, and they do, have the power to stir us to action.

It is abundantly clear the Powerlist has become an immensely valuable resource that discovers and catalogues people from Britain's African and African Caribbean communities.  These communities have made and continue to make an incredibly positive difference to society as a whole and, in doing so, have built a real community spirit and cohesion.

In the aftermath of Sir David’s brutal murder, the people of Southend-on-Sea came together in a remarkable and inspiring way to bring good out of evil. In doing so, they demonstrated a deep truth: that what matters more than any name, whether of a person or a place, is the spirit.  Today, Southend becomes a city.  As we celebrate and honour that fact, we remember that it is always, and crucially, a community.

Indeed, it is fair, I think, to say that it has been when truly tested that the Trust has shown its most outstanding qualities of resilience and commitment to helping people across South Asia. When the pandemic first hit us, the Trust launched an Emergency Appeal to support migrant workers and those most in need across the region. I was delighted to be able to give my own support, together with so many in the diaspora, to help over 150,000 people.