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Three-quarters of Kent people 'identify strongly' with county THE SPIRIT OF KENT IS ALIVE AND WELL

THE spirit of Kent is alive and well and the people of Kent identify strongly with the county, the Lieutenancy heard at its annual meeting.

The Lieutenancy is an ancient office dating back over more than four centuries and originally concerned mainly with local defence and the maintenance of order. It is entirely non-political and involves no cost to the taxpayer.

More than 50 Deputy Lieutenants from across the county attended the session at the Royal School of Military Engineering at Chatham. It was led by the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Allan Willett, The Queen’s representative in the county, and the Vice Lord Lieutenant, Viscount De L’Isle.

There were briefings on the Shrievalty of Kent by the High Sheriff, James Loudon, and on developments in higher education in the county by Professor David Melville, vice chancellor of the University of Kent.

Sir Robert Worcester, chairman of MORI and himself a Deputy Lieutenant, revealed that recent research confirmed that Kentish people identify strongly with the County.

The meeting was followed by the annual lunch which was also attended by the new Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, Admiral the Lord Boyce, the former Lord Lieutenant, Lord Kingsdown, retired Vice Lord Lieutenants, Countess Mountbatten of Burma and Brigadier Maurice Atherton, and retired Deputy Lieutenants. The Lord Lieutenant told guests the modernised Lieutenancy aimed to provide a focus for County identity, unity and pride, give a sense of stability, recognise achievements, success and excellence, and promote service to others.

He said: “Our aspiration is to celebrate Kent, its unique history and culture, serve its communities - and contribute positively to its future. And above all we will protect and nurture the Spirit of Kent.”

Mr Willett said there could be no doubt of the great significance of Sir Robert Worcester’s poll findings which revealed that some three-quarters of the population identified strongly or very strongly with Kent.

The research also showed that there is a strong concern to continue to make the county successful in the future.

Mr Willett said it had been encouraging to see the county calling for - and the Deputy Lieutenants playing - an ever-increasing role at functions, occasions and parades during the past year.

Looking ahead, he said he had invited all Kent’s Mayors and representatives of the chosen charities to a civic service at Canterbury Cathedral and reception on April 29 to thank them for what they have done for the County during their time in office.

The Lieutenancy would be leading celebrations in Kent to commemorate the 60th anniversaries of Victory in Europe and Japan, and the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

“All of these events give the Lieutenancy opportunities to demonstrate once again that we are a county with a proud past and a great future, and that our generation can adapt to a changing world whilst protecting the essential character and spirit as our forefathers have done so many times in the 2,000 years of our history.”

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