CAROLINE ANSELL MP: Great to see people out enjoying themselves again
The weekend will see the Duke of Edinburgh laid to rest in Windsor in what will be a very different royal funeral because of the Covid restrictions.
I actually think the Duke would be pleased with the numbers down to 30 and the lack of pomp and fuss. He never liked to be the centre of attention.
As I write, it appears the Queen may have to sit alone to say goodbye to her husband of more than seven decades and this is sad.
But others have had to do the same during this pandemic and I know the Queen would never want any special treatment and will insist she is treated the same as anyone else.
I think Prince Philip’s death has brought the country together to pay tribute to a man who was dedicated to his wife and family, his country and the Commonwealth.
He was a servant and character who never shirked his public duty and his unfailing support to the Queen.
These might be thought of as old-fashioned qualities by some but not by me. Family, country and service are the foundations of our society.
They were personified by the Duke and they continue through our Queen. Long may she continue to reign.
The further easing of lockdown restrictions has been a real boost to Eastbourne with shops and attractions now open and, crucially, pubs and restaurants can serve customers outside.
It was great to see the great British public wrapped up all around town enjoying themselves whatever the weather.
We are looking forward to a bumper summer as the roadmap out of lockdown continues and the June 21 when all restrictions are lifted is a little over two months from now.
Already I have been out and about in Eastbourne.
This week I have visited the town centre library, shops including a wonderful new shop, The Toy Stop, in Langney Shopping Centre, and stopped by hair salon Nuts in Grove Road which was a perfect scene of colour and foils!
Nick and I got to step out for a first drink back at Bibendum, it was a chilly evening, but the welcome was warm. There is a buzz around town for the first time in a long time and that is great to see.
In the coming days, I hope to see you in Eastbourne and Willingdon as I get out to speak to retailers, bar owners, restaurateurs, community leaders and residents to gauge how things are going and what I can feed back to ministers.
The good news after such a bleak winter continues as all over 50s have now been offered a jab and those aged 45 and over are now being asked to come forward.
Infections rates, hospital admissions and deaths from covid, particularly in those who are older, continue to fall rapidly.
We do need to remain cautious, especially around new variants taking hold in the UK, but the vaccines are safe and effective and the road to a normal life is open.