I appreciate that comment from my hon. Friend.
May I also use this opportunity in the House of Commons today to thank another person for sterling service, and that is Clare Russell who will shortly retire after 14 years as the Queen’s representative as Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire? In those 17 years, she has organised more than 40 royal visits, the last of which was for the Earl and Countess of Forfar to visit Glenfiddich Distillery in Moray. Over and above the royal visits that Clare Russell organised and participated in, she has been part of countless community events throughout Banffshire. She is always ably assisted by her husband, Oliver.
The Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire was presented with the Commander of the Royal Victorian Order by Her Majesty in 2018 and a few years earlier received an honorary degree from Aberdeen University. I want to say from these Green Benches that the people of Banffshire are extremely grateful for the commitment and dedication that Clare Russell has shown to our area and for the 17 years of great service. We are also extremely grateful to her for everything that she has done to promote Banffshire and for being the Queen’s representative in our area.
I also want to use the time available today to mention once again our armed forces, who are an integral part of the Moray community. Time and again, I mention RAF Lossiemouth and our brave men and women who serve there, and, of course, those at 39 Engineer Regiment in Kinloss at Kinloss barracks. Tomorrow, I will be joining them in Grant Park in Forres where there will be an Operation Trenton medals parade. The regiment will march down Forres high street and assemble in Grant Park. I hope that this great weather that we are currently having will continue for the men and women who will receive their honours tomorrow.
A slightly negative point that I feel I must bring to the attention of the Chamber today is the closure of the East Beach bridge in Lossiemouth. This is an extremely popular beach in Lossiemouth where I enjoy taking my family and our dog for a walk. Indeed, I even train on the dunes sometimes at East Beach, but, yesterday, after a report from the public, Moray council carried out an inspection and the bridge was closed. It was estimated just on Tuesday this week that 3,500 people cross that bridge in a single day, and the East Beach at Lossiemouth attracts tourists all year round. I hope that we can find an immediate solution to these problems, and that the UK Government, the Scottish Government and private investors can get involved to ensure that the bridge reopens as quickly as possible. It is such an important attraction to the area, and there are real concerns from the business community that its closure could affect tourism in the area. I spoke to the chairman of Lossiemouth Community Council, Mike Mulholland, this morning and was told that there would be an emergency meeting at 12 o’clock this afternoon to get an update from the council. I worry that there will not be an immediate solution, but we all must work together to try to get the bridge opened as quickly as possible.
Finally, in the last few seconds I want to mention the great community spirit in Moray. Just last week I visited the baby bank that has been set up by Susan and Ian Sutherland, who collect clothes and the other goods that people require for young babies and distribute them in the local community. The project originally started in their dining room and has now moved into premises in Urquhart. Those people are doing great work, and I praise them and all the volunteers in Moray who do outstanding work throughout the year.