Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

The Queen has paid tribute to “people who have made an extraordinary contribution to the lives of others” during the COVID-19 pandemic as she formally opened the new session of the Scottish Parliament.

The monarch, who has been in Scotland on her annual break in Balmoral, has delivered a speech in the debating chamber to mark the official start of the parliament’s sixth session.

The ceremony also featured music, poetry, and statements by Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the carrying in of the Crown of Scotland and the royal mace that sits at the front of the chamber.

After the ceremony, Charles and Camilla were due to join the Queen to meet Scots who have been recognised for their contribution to communities during the pandemic.

Ms Johnstone said: “Our local heroes initiative is all about celebrating people from across Scotland for their contributions to their communities throughout the pandemic and beyond.

“The many actions and achievements of those nominated are truly inspiring. So many of our local heroes have put others before themselves, for the good of others.”

Edinburgh shopkeeper Linda Williams, who raised money for her community during the crisis, is one of the “local heroes” who will take part.

The Queen addressing the Holyrood chamber when she opened the fourth session of parliament in 2011
Image:
The Queen addressing the Holyrood chamber when she opened the fourth session of parliament in 2011

She raised over £10,000 to help hundreds of locals pay for essentials such as utility bills and food, and was chosen by Ms Johnstone to join the ceremony.

Ms Williams said: “I am very happy to have been nominated, although I certainly wasn’t looking for any thanks or recognition.

“It has been such a hard 18 months for everyone, and I think we played a small part in making life a bit easier for our customers and neighbours by setting up a free same-day delivery service and starting a hardship fund to help those who slipped through the cracks of the financial help that was available.

“Our community rose to the occasion magnificently; people were incredibly generous with their donations, and the whole experience became a shining light of hope during a hard time.”

Before the ceremony in the debating chamber, the Queen will meet party and parliamentary leaders in the garden lobby.

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Wizadclick | WAC MAG 2021