Making a head start on plans to promote Luton’s businesses

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When Age Concern Luton director Colette McKeaveney was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant for Bedfordshire earlier this year, she vowed to do all she could to promote the town’s diverse community and its businesses.

And she’s already make a head start. The award-winning charity boss was a VIP guest at the recent Luton & Bedfordshire Community Awards, alongside Lord-Lieutenant Helen Nellis, and this week she was to be found at one of Luton’s oldest hat factories, Walter Wright Ltd, to be fitted with suitable titfers.

Millinery maestro Philip Ian Wright said: “Colette has got to stand out at all sorts of occasions as the representative of the Lord-Lieutenant and the Queen.

“For outdoor events such as tree plantings and Remembrance Day, she’ll need an all-weather trilby or fedora, rather than an umbrella, which will allow her to be photographed. But it will have to look classy indoors as well.

“She’ll also need a number of smart elegant hats that will emphasise her style.”

Philip added that although Colette is petite and blonde, she’s very vivacious: “Midnight blue will accentuate her eyes and work well with her wardrobe.”

Colette decided on a trendy fedora, made of non water absorbent felted fibres (a material that has been in use since the 15th Century) and an equally stylish shallow pill box with a tall pheasant feather to give height and interest.

She said: “Luton is famous for its hats and Walter Wright has been established in Albion Road since 1889. I’m thrilled to be able to wear these beautifully made creations which are still produced in the town and I look forward to promoting many other local businesses.”

The role of a Lord Lieutenant is an ancient one, going back to the time of Henry VIII.

HM the Queen appoints a Lord Lieutenant for each county to be her representative within the county.

As the sovereign’s representative in his or her county, a Lord Lieutenant remains non-political and may not hold office in any political party. They are appointed for life, although the customary age of retirement is 75 and the sovereign may remove them.

The current Lord Lieutenant for Bedfordshire is Helen Nellis, who took up the role in 2012.

The modern responsibilities of Lord Lieutenants include arranging visits of members of the royal family and escorting royal visitors, presenting medals and awards and participating in civic, voluntary and social activities within the lieutenancy.

Deputy Lieutenants assist the Lord-Lieutenant and Vice Lord-Lieutenant in their work to support activities in Bedfordshire.