The Chairman welcomed the Members of the Council to the meeting. The Chairman also
welcomed Andrew Farncombe, the High Sheriff, who was also in attendance, along with Sir Henry Aubrey Fletcher, Lord Lieutenant, who would be joining the meeting later.
The Chairman advised that unfortunately the number of Covid-19 cases had risen nationally and locally. The Council was very mindful of the effects of the pandemic on residents, members, staff and all businesses. On behalf of the Council, the Chairman thanked all who have and continue to respond brilliantly to support residents during the Covid pandemic.
The Chairman was delighted to announce that Buckinghamshire Council had not only signed the Armed Forces Covenant in July, but also had successfully retained the Silver Employer Recognition Award, held by the legacy Buckinghamshire councils.
The Chairman advised that, supported by the Armed Forces Champion, Cllr Ian McEnnis, and the two Deputy Champions, Cllr Mimi Harker and Cllr Duncan Smith, a number of successful socially distanced and virtual events had been held during the last few weeks. This included the VJ Day commemorations in High Wycombe;Merchant Navy Day Flag Raising in Aylesbury; and Battle of Britain commemorations in High Wycombe which celebrated and honoured the military’s serving personnel, veterans and their families.
The Council also remembered the end of World War 2, marking VE Day in May and VJ Day in August through social media platforms. In the case of VJ Day and Battle of Britain, the Council was able to lay wreaths in honour of those who gave their lives.
In addition, the Chairman was involved in or attended the re-opening of Court Garden Leisure Centre in Marlow, SERFCA HM’s Lord Lieutenant Virtual Awards Ceremony and Buckinghamshire Scouts’ Annual General meeting. The Chairman also had the pleasure of joining the ‘Afternoons’ programme on Wycombe Sound Radio, hosted by Cllr Mimi Harker.
Sir Henry Aubrey Fletcher would be retiring from his Lord Lieutenant role at the end of November, which meant that this was the last Full Council meeting he would be attending in the role. The Chairman paid thanks to Sir Henry on behalf of the residents of Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes and members past and present. Sir Henry had held the Lord Lieutenant role since 2006, following 9 years spent in the Vice Lord Lieutenant role. Sir Henry had been married to his wife Bobbie since 1976 and they have three grown up sons. Sir Henry takes a keen interest in the historic and natural environment and was a former Deputy Chair of the National Trust. Sir Henry has been the Prime Minister’s appointed trustee at Chequers since 1997. He believes Buckinghamshire is stronger and better when the county comes together and has encouraged good relationships between the councils of Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes. The Chairman highlighted some of Sir Henry’s achievements, including accompanying Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh for their trip to Stowe and Milton Keynes Stadium in 2007 and along with the Lord Lieutenants for Oxfordshire and Berkshire hosted Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh for a diamond jubilee garden party event on the banks of the River Thames in 2012. Sir Henry presented British Empire medals to many deserving Buckinghamshire residents, as well as the Queens Awards for Buckinghamshire’s businesses and voluntary services respectively. Sir Henry had supported over 50 Buckinghamshire charities and the Chairman recognised the special interpersonal skills and talent he has in communicating with people from all backgrounds.