I’m the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex. There’s one Lord Lieutenant in every county and Lord Lieutenant’s are the Sovereign’s representative, I represent Her Majesty, The Queen in the county. I look after, well technically I kind of look after her interests so anything handled with a Royal tag will be handled by me or my office. We organise things like Royal visits, we’re involved with honours and garden parties, Queens awards, all that kind of thing.
I was just in post and I was asked to speak at a Diamond jubilee and I got to meet a little lady who was, well she was quite an active elderly lady and I said to her, “How long have you been volunteering?” and she said, “Oh, only 50 years, dear”. I said, “Good Lord, only 50 years. There’s a young lady over there who’s probably not more than 30 years old, you’ll have done 20 years of volunteering before she was born.”
She thought about that for a moment or two and she said to me, “Well, that’s as may be but, I can’t really stand here talking to you, I’ve got to go look after the old folk”.
And that really brought it home to me, that volunteering keeps you young, keeps you active, keeps you involved and gives you a purpose in life. I think that without volunteers, our whole society structure would probably collapse. So I think we’re very grateful for volunteers, because not only are they giving something to the community, but they’re also getting something from the community as well.
I just hope that individuals; perhaps who aren’t engaged in volunteering at the moment, perhaps a little bit lonely and want to meet a few friends or try something different, I just hope that they give volunteering a try because there’s always something, somewhere, the right kind of volunteering for you. Don’t ever feel like you can’t get involved because I can assure you that you can. There’s so many marvellous things going on across the county, and you can be part of it.