The Queen has hailed the “ordinary people doing extraordinary things” as well as Olympic heroes in this year’s Christmas Day address.
During her annual televised message to the nation, she spoke of a time when British Olympic and Paralympic medal winners were household names because there were so few of them.
But she claimed the 2016 medallists’ reception at Buckingham Palace was a “crowded and happy” event.
In an address themed on inspiration, she added that “to be inspirational you don’t have to save lives or win medals.”
queenspeech2412b.jpg © Provided by Independent Print Limited queenspeech2412b.jpg
Inspiring: the Queen praised Britain’s Olympians and Paralympians
“I often draw strength from meeting ordinary people doing extraordinary things: volunteers, carers, community organisers and good neighbours; unsung heroes whose quiet dedication makes them special,” she said.
“They are an inspiration to those who know them.”
Speaking about the triumphant British athletes in Rio this summer, she added: “Many of this year’s winners spoke of being inspired by athletes of previous generations… and having discovered abilities they scarcely knew they had, these athletes are now inspiring others.”
Team GB exceeded their haul from London 2012 by bringing back 67 medals – 27 gold, 23 silver and 17 bronze – in what was their greatest overseas Olympic Games.
queenspeech2412a.jpg © Provided by Independent Print Limited queenspeech2412a.jpg
United: She said the ‘cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine’
The ParalympicsGB squad returned from Brazil with 147 medals overall, made up of 64 golds, 39 silvers and 44 bronze – their most successful Games since 1988.
The Queen also cited the achievements of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2016, and The Prince’s Trust, 40 years old this year.
“These started as small initiatives but have grown beyond any expectations, and continue to transform young people’s lives,” she said.
sportpictures2121b.jpg © Provided by Independent Print Limited sportpictures2121b.jpg
Triumphant: The GB women’s hockey team celebrate winning gold in Britain’s best ever Olympics (Manan Vatsyayan/AFP/Getty Images)
During the last 12 months some momentous events have taken place, including the UK voting to leave the European Union, David Cameron resigning as prime minister in the wake of the Brexit vote and Donald Trump being elected US President.
The speech is one of the rare occasions when the Queen does not turn to the Government for advice but is able to voice her own views.
She said: “Even with the inspiration of others, it’s understandable that we sometimes think the world’s problems are so big that we can do little to help.
“On our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice, but the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine.”
To end the address, which was transmitted on television and radio at 3pm, she said: “The message of Christmas reminds us that inspiration is a gift to be given as well as received, and that love begins small but always grows.”赞赏