When it comes to the Queen, I’m a big fan. It’s become fashionable to mock the pomp and circumstance and to view her Highness as a dusty old relic of a bygone age, but to do so is to misrepresent a monarch that has done more to modernise and adapt than any predecessor – and she’s had to, reigning through the Commonwealth’s must turbulent and transitional period.
When asked to attend Oldham’s Jubilee celebration at Oldham Parish Church I jumped at the opportunity. I was hugely privileged to represent Oldham Business and light a candle, alongside the Lord Lieutenant of Manchester and Mayor of Oldham. A last minute addition also saw me representing one element of life in borough when I got to present two parts of a PC as symbols of Oldham’s history as the first town to manufacture and build computers at Ferrantis. I had a quick look as I took my seat, and both were PCI-133 cards, one a modem (circa 2003) and one an aging SCSI connector (circa 2004).
Earlier in the day we hosted the Olympic Torch on it’s way around the country in advance of the upcoming games. Just like the Queen it’s easy to point at Oldham and see a town of past glories, of little relevance in the modern world. Cynics bore me with their lack of imagination! When I see Oldham, I see a town full of talented and great people, full of optimism about our collective future. These new Oldhamers are the only people I want to associate with.
As the Oldham Choir and Oldham Music Centre Brass Ensemble blasted out Handel’s “Zadok the Priest” I was taken back to a time when community mattered and coming together in acts of celebration were commonplace. Too easily we sit at home throwing stones when what’s needed is a willingness to step out of our comfort zones and work together to make something truly special. If our Queen has taught us anything, it’s that a life dedicated to service and quiet humility can survive the stones and arrows of the harshest critics, and that determination can bring about transformation in seemingly immutable institutions.
God save our Queen, long to reign over us!