It made me feel proud to be British | Burnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar column

The last couple of weeks there has been a very sombre mood across the whole country following the death of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
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Over the weekend it was a great honour to be asked to do a reading at St Peter's Church during the East Lancashire Commemoration Service. In my role as Chair of Building Bridges in Burnley, I was asked to read the words spoken by Her Majesty when she was HRH the Princess Elizabeth on her 21st Birthday.

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During that broadcast she made the commitment: "I declare before you all, that my whole life whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."

Burnley Council leader Afrasiab AnwarBurnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar
Burnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar
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Her Majesty stayed true to her word to her last day, and that dedication is the reason why the nation came together to thank her for her lifelong service. In doing so, we did the most British thing ever; we formed 'The Queue'. Those of us who couldn’t join it, watched it on television.

Like many of you, I watched the state funeral at home with my family. Observing the centuries old customs, we knew that this was history in the making. Although it was a moment of sorrow, we couldn’t help but feel proud to be British and celebrate the life of our greatest ever monarch. It must be said, when it comes to tradition, ceremony and spectacle, nobody does it better than us.

During the State Funeral the Archbishop of Canterbury said, "those who serve will be loved and remembered, those who cling to power, and privilege are long forgotten". Never has a truer statement been made. Her Majesty will be long remembered for her selfless service and her legacy will live on.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our staff at the council for the way they have responded and ensured all protocols were followed throughout. They will have planned and prepared for this but when called upon they executed the plans to perfection. Keeping us all fully informed, ensuring we could all be part of the occasion and pay tribute in our own way, in private or at public events held in Burnley and across Lancashire.

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Throughout the period of national mourning, staff have continued to maintain our core business in a respectful manner to ensure our residents were not affected, especially the most vulnerable. With the cost-of-living crisis looming we face a challenging time as a nation over the coming months. Officers continue to work with our partners to ensure existing support from government reaches those most in need to address concerns about the rising costs of food and energy.

The new Prime Minister has announced a package of support and we are expecting a mini budget from the new Chancellor later this week. Over the coming days and weeks, we should have more information on what this will mean for us as a council and for our residents and businesses.