Today we celebrate the incredible imagination and talent of every one of you who sent in a story. Your writing also celebrates the richness and variety of the English language, using what the Anglo-Saxons called ‘the word-hoard’ – your stories sparkle and ignite. And I must add that it has been a fascinating and, as always, a virtually impossible task to choose the winners…

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you again for this much-appreciated award. Above all, it will continue to inspire me to hope that we can see a future for this country in concentrating on developing a reputation for the most environmentally-friendly food production system in the world, with products that tell a really good story,  emphasize the importance of native breeds, support family farms and put soil health and fertility at the centre of the entire process.  We can but hope...!

It gives me great pleasure, therefore, to launch the ‘At Ease’ Appeal.  Through this Appeal, we shall be able to introduce new services and innovative treatments that will be accessible to more Veterans than ever before. 

Our visit to Germany this week has been an occasion to celebrate the myriad connections between our two countries and the countless partnerships between our people, which make the most profound difference to both of our economies and our societies.  

Today, we are so much more than simply neighbours: we are friends and natural partners, bound together by our common experience, mutual interests and shared values, and deeply invested in each other’s futures.

Your teams have been sent to work all over the world making each new deployment a different challenge. Often in arduous terrain and unfamiliar climates, your ability to adapt quickly to cultural and physical demands are an enormous credit to this formidable Battalion.

For me, Hillsborough has always been a special place: a place whose many stories reflect the complex history of this island. Thanks to the fine restoration work that we are marking today, future generations will have the chance to hear and experience these stories for themselves in restored and re-presented surroundings.  It is my particular hope that, as they do so, they will come to a renewed understanding of our past and a renewed resolve for our future.

As you take forward this vital work, I can only encourage you to be ever bolder and to support interventions and activities that take full recognition of each individual’s hopes, beliefs, interests and abilities, as well as their mind, body and spirit, as part of an integrated approach to health and well-being. 

For that to happen as many people as possible, across all cultures and languages, must understand the natural world and our place within it. We are Nature ourselves. “Our Planet” will be a critical part of that process and I hope and pray that it will catalyse an enduring determination to cherish and protect the Earth, “Our” only home.

St. Kitts and Nevis is a much-valued member of our Commonwealth family of nations, as we celebrate the Commonwealth’s seventieth birthday this year — as we celebrate it this year, it seems to me that this family of nations remains as vital today as it has ever been – bringing us together to address some of the most urgent issues facing us all.