Hampshire, like the rest of the country, has had to deal with many challenges during the past few months and I am extremely proud to be living in a county where the whole community has rallied together to support the NHS, emergency services and other essential workers.

The coronavirus may have kept us two metres apart but in other ways it has brought us far closer. In the midst of these most challenging times, people have found new ways, new spaces and new ideas to come together as a community but there is a risk that this renewed sense of community and togetherness will fade away as we emerge from lockdown and face the daunting challenges ahead.

So, our work is by no means done.

Last year 15 July was designated Hampshire Day with an aim to provide an annual opportunity to remember Hampshire’s rich history and how county life has evolved over time; as well as looking forward to the future.

It is a day for local people to celebrate their own diverse communities as well as sharing pride in Hampshire’s heritage, culture, natural environment and people.

I do hope, therefore, that you will join me in celebrating Hampshire Day and raising the Hampshire Flag, when we can thank those on the wider frontline who have worked tirelessly without visibility - from bus and train drivers, teachers, carers and council staff to those delivering food to our homes and keeping the supermarkets open.

The NHS and the nation could not function without them.

Thank you to you all.

Nigel Atkinson

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire