As the country's longest reigning Monarch her service stretched beyond most of our living memories and her devotion to duty was an example to us all.

Due to her love of racing, Her Majesty, the Queen, had a long history with the district and its residents. The Queen frequently visited Goodwood and often linked these trips with visits to other places in the district, including Chichester Festival Theatre, Chichester Cathedral and Cowdray Park, where she watched His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh play polo.

The Queen's first official visit to the district was in 1956 when she inspected a military guard of honour in Priory Park and had a viewing of the Guildhall. The streets were decorated for the occasion and thousands of people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of The Queen. In her role as Colonel-in-Chief of the Corps of the Royal Military Police (RMP), the Queen visited Roussillon Barracks many times as it was home to the RMP training centre. In March 1986, she attended to the Royal Maundy Service at Chichester Cathedral, the only time this colourful ceremony has taken place in Sussex.The Queen's last visit to the district was in November 2017 when she visited the charity Canine Partners and Chichester Festival Theatre, where she watched a performance by the Youth Theatre and heard songs from Fiddler on the Roof.

More recently, we all celebrated Her Majesty's 70 years on the throne, through the many events held in her honour. The Queen said that she was 'humbled and touched' that so many had taken part in her Platinum Jubilee celebrations. This love and admiration for the Queen has continued throughout the years and is evident now, more than ever, with people flocking to London to pay their respects.

On behalf of everyone in our district and at Chichester District Council, I'd like to express our deep sadness and sincere condolences to the Royal Family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this incredibly difficult time. As a mark of respect, the union flag is being flown at half-mast at our East Pallant House offices in Chichester.

Many of you may wish to share your condolences with the Royal Family, and there are many ways that you can do this. Messages of condolence can be placed on the online book of condolence . Residents who do not have online access can send a message of condolence to the Chairman's Office, Room 102, West Sussex County Council, County Hall, Chichester, PO19 1RQ. Chichester District Council also has a physical book of condolence at its East Pallant House offices and this can be signed during normal opening hours. Paradise, the green space within the Cathedral's 600 year-old Cloisters, has been set aside as a space of reflection and for those who wish to lay flowers in her memory. We would be really grateful if you could make sure that any non-organic material or wrapping is removed before laying flowers. Any decayed flowers will then be composted separately and placed at the base of memorial trees.

The Government has announced that a one-minute silence will be held across the UK at 8pm on Sunday. People can mark the silence privately in their own homes, on the street with neighbours or at community events and vigils.

A bank holiday has also been declared for Monday 19 September as the country comes together for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral. Due to this, Chichester District Council's offices will be closed on this day as a mark of respect. Anyone who needs to contact the council in an emergency on this day can call the emergency out of hours number on 01243 785339.

We will remember with great affection and gratitude the lifetime of service given by Her Majesty, whose dedication and commitment to her role and country is unrivalled. Her historic reign will never be forgotten.

Thank you Ma'am, for everything.

Cllr Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council