‘A symbol of strength, courage, and grace’. Bristol business and political leaders pay tribute to the Queen

September 9, 2022

Business, civic and academic leaders from Bristol today joined the nation in mourning the death yesterday afternoon of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, paying tribute to her life and selfless service.

The Union and St George’s flags outside City Hall and flags at civic buildings across the city are flying at half-mast and City Hall will be lit up in purple throughout the period of national mourning.

Phil Smith, managing director of Business West, the region’s largest business group and the organisation behind Bristol Chamber of Commerce, expressed his deepest condolences to the Royal Family.

Mr Smith, pictured, said: “As a patron of the Chambers of Commerce, she was a great supporter of business throughout her reign, most recently providing morale and acting as a beacon of stability for firms during the coronavirus pandemic and acknowledging their successes through the Queen’s Awards during her Platinum Jubilee.

“The Queen was a frequent visitor to the South West. During her last official visit in late 2021, she met world leaders at the G7 Summit. 

“In 1998 we were delighted to have the Queen as our guest of honour at our Bristol Chamber of Commerce 175th anniversary celebrations held in the Mansion House. 

“Throughout her seven decades of service, she has provided selfless service to millions and has been a symbol of strength, courage and grace.

“It is with great sadness that we mourn her passing and we honour and celebrate her admirable and unwavering service to society and business.”  

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees, pictured, added: “It is with great sadness that we mourn the death of Her Majesty The Queen. Our city’s thoughts are with the His Majesty The King, his children, and the wider Royal Family.

“This year we celebrated the Platinum Jubilee, which saw Bristol come together to mark the Queen’s lifetime of unprecedented, dedicated service to our country.”Metro Mayor Dan Norris, who leads the West of England Combined Authority, said yesterday had been an immensely sad day.

“Her Majesty The Queen has been a constant presence during all of our lives and during so many periods of immense change, not just in the West of England and the UK but across the globe,” he added.

“She has been an exemplar who always put service first. It is almost unimaginable such a reliable fixture in our lives is no longer with us.

“As so many across the country mourn this huge loss, I send my deepest sympathies and those of residents of the West of England, to the King, the Queen Consort and everyone who loved this most remarkable woman.”

The Queen visited the University of Bristol on several occasions and as a mark of respect, and in accordance with royal protocol, the Union flag is flying at half-mast on the Wills Memorial Building.

Her last visit was in 2005 when, accompanied by Prince Philip, she officially opened the £18.5m research facility – BLADE (Bristol Laboratory for Advanced Dynamics Engineering).

University vice-chancellor and president Prof Evelyn Welch said throughout her long life the Queen had been an important figurehead for the UK and the Commonwealth during times of enormous social change.

“She has devoted so much of her life to public and voluntary service, from opportunities for young people, to the preservation of wildlife and the environment, and her sense of duty has been remarkable,” she said. 

The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) also expressed its deepest sadness and as a mark of respect flags on its campuses will be lowered to half-mast during the period of national mourning.

Peaches Golding OBE, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of The County and City of Bristol, pictured, said: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, and I know the people of Bristol will join me in sending our thoughts and condolences to the Royal Family at this difficult time.

“Elizabeth II was the longest reigning monarch in the history of England and dedicated her life to our country and the Commonwealth.

“Throughout her reign, she had an ambitious schedule of royal tours and state visits around the world, and I had great admiration for her devotion to the role as she continued a full programme of engagements even into her later years.

“Her Majesty has gracefully and graciously ensured the country navigated through enormous changes, spanning from her youth in the Army during World War II, the formation and development of The Commonwealth, the joining and leaving of the European Union, the increased diversity of the population through the administrations of 14 prime ministers. 

“For virtually everyone in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, she is the only monarch we have known.”


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