And now, as we look forward to the next ten years of ASTUTE’s service, please know that, wherever you may be, I will be holding you all in my thoughts and prayers. I am certain that, just as you have always done, you will continue to carry out your duties with the pride that comes of being at the forefront of our Naval prowess.
Today, in this hallowed place, and in the presence of all those gathered here, or in their homes, or wherever they may be, let us affirm that they and the surviving veterans are not forgotten. Rather, you are respected, thanked and cherished with all our hearts, and for all time.
What we are witnessing here I think, is a whole community working together to help each other. You are a shining example of what is possible and, I need hardly mention, of what we should continue to strive for when this dreadful virus is over.
I need hardly say that I can well imagine just how much effort and commitment you must have put not only into this very smart and impressive parade, but also above all into your time at Cranwell and I pray that it will stand you in good stead as you now continue into your professional training and transition to front line operations.
In times of war and times of peace, whether seen or unseen, the Armed Forces support and strengthen our nation, just as each one of you Chelsea Pensioners did throughout your careers. I should like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done for us. Ladies and gentlemen, you are a source of inspiration, reassurance and pride to this country, and as a fellow pensioner I salute you all.
Through the years, whether in the hallowed cemeteries of Northern France, or on the beaches of Normandy; or through witnessing our contemporary co-operation in the fields of business, the arts, academia and more – I have frequently been struck by how much our relationship means to us both, and how it makes us more prosperous and more secure. Above all, like so many British people, my wife and I have long had the greatest possible fondness for France and her people.
Thank you, all you young authors who sent in such a wonderful rainbow of stories. Each one of you has brought enthusiasm, originality and a passion for words to this competition. You have made us laugh, you have made us cry and you have made us hope.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we have an unparalleled opportunity to reimagine our future.
We have the chance to determine and shape the world we want, not just for ourselves but for the generations which follow. But this opportunity only exists for a short time and the window is rapidly closing.
As we move from rescue to recovery, therefore, we have a unique, but rapidly shrinking window of opportunity to learn lessons and reset ourselves on a more sustainable path. It is an opportunity we have never had before and may never have again. We must use all the levers we have at our disposal, knowing that each and every one of us has a vital role to play.
To reflect and inspire the world to action, while aiming for a green recovery, I would ask you to join me by sharing your vision for a more sustainable future (socially, environmentally and economically) using the hashtag #ReimagineReset. Together, I am confident that we can use this crisis to reset our course by putting people and planet first.