It is, perhaps, the greatest source of our strength as a nation. It is one of the least-appreciated but most distinctive things about the UK. And it is at the heart of what makes Herefordshire tick.

I mean, of course, volunteering and voluntary organisations. Why? Because, as one of my heroes, the great 18th century philosopher-statesman Edmund Burke once said, "To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed toward a love to our country and to mankind."

In other words, we humans have an inveterate tendency to set up small local voluntary organisations, and these in turn give point and purpose to our lives and to our integrity as a nation. Our clubs, our gatherings, our events and happenings bring us together, they guard us against loneliness, and they help us look after our friends and neighbours and the places where we live.

And after a summer of wonderful fetes and festivals, the Bank Holiday weekend was a perfect example of the little platoons of Herefordshire in action.

On Saturday, I went along to the terrific River Carnival in Hereford. I played my trumpet in our brilliant local ceilidh band Bandemonium, I chatted with people from a dozen local voluntary organisations, and bought a sheaf of (tragically unsuccessful) tickets for the Big Yellow Duck Race in aid of Hereford Rotary Club.

Then I headed off to the now legendary Herefordshire Indie Food Festival, where I loaded up on fantastic food, had a delicious draft of Wye Valley bitter, listened to some great music and bumped into plenty more local friends.

And finally on Monday I found myself again on the banks of the Wye at the beautifully organised Ross Regatta, watching some great rowing races while I munched on an epic Hanks' burger with all the fixings.

Three fantastic events, set up by local organisations wanting to bring people together, have fun and do the best for their communities. Open to all, two free of charge, the other costing a modest £3 to get in. And all of them powered by human energy, entrepreneurship and volunteering.

These are our own little platoons at work, Nobody does it better than Herefordshire, and you will see similar organisations doing similarly brilliant things the length and breadth of this county throughout the year. Long may they continue!