Thursday, November 03, 2011

Enjoying a British Citizenship Ceremony as a guest

Last month I was delighted when one of my constituents, Sergey, invited me to attend his British Citizenship Ceremony, as his guest.

It was most interesting to see the ceremony from the other side. I did attend one about four years ago when I was first exploring the possibility of officiating at one, but since then have only attended as the official representative.

It was Cllr Paula Keaveney's turn to welcome the new citizens and present them with their certificates. We had a funny moment in the anteroom when we met upon my arrival and I promised her I had not come to check up on her performance. The staff all had a double-take too, thinking I had come a week early or that they had booked two speakers.

Paula's contribution was fascinating, because she was able to explain that she was the Leader of the Opposition in Liverpool, and that in Britain, perhaps differently to people's home countries, this was not the source of violence or oppression. She used her position to emphasise the nature of Britain's democratic values, I thought it was a very thoughtful and clever line to take.

Sergey, originally Russian, was thrilled to become British. Two others nurses who work with him at Alder Hey were also guests and we were all proud to be there to witness this special moment.

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