Remembering Prince Philip: Service, support and humour.....

Service to others was at the very core of the life of the late Duke of Edinburgh.

MP Sir Edward Leigh. EMN-210421-112205001
MP Sir Edward Leigh. EMN-210421-112205001

Through the awards scheme he founded, young people have been armed with the skills and experience needed to take control of their lives and better the communities around him.

He has always defended the place of faith in the public square and believed it was central to tackling the challenges of the world around us.

He was a passionate supporter of technological innovation.

Above all, he was a constant support for Her Majesty the Queen.

Prince Philip will be remembered by many for his sense of humour, which had the remarkable effect of putting people instantly at ease in what can otherwise be a nervous situation.

I first met him over 40 years ago when I was serving as a young councillor.

I suggested to His Royal Highness that he might know my father, who had served as clerk of the Privy Council.

I was expecting some boring conventional remark, but quick as a flash Prince Philip said: “The Privy Council! What a boring and pointless institution! Thank God the meetings don’t go on too long!”

Decades later I find myself serving on the Privy Council and can’t help but remember this encounter with amusement.

Watching the Duke’s funeral, the impact of the coronavirus was obvious.

However, the vaccine rollout continues and we now have over 10 million Britons who have received even their second jab.

I have been keeping on top of the situation here in Lincolnshire as much as I can, and was very pleased to hear from a constituent who had just had her second injection.

She wrote to me: “It was so well organised that the only word to use is ‘perfect’.

“That so many of these people are volunteering their time and energy to keeping people safe and moving easily is a measure of the British desire to get a very essential task done and dusted.

“That we have reached this point so quickly is almost beyond belief.”

I couldn’t put it better myself, and I am very grateful to all our Lincolnshire NHS staff and volunteers.

Across the constituency, I have been inspecting the drainage problem in Nettleton and visiting our reopened leisure centre in Gainsborough.

I have also checked up on the new Corringham Road junction, and urged the county council to fix the potholes at Thorpe in the Fallows.

I have also met with the Communities Secretary to secure better funding for Gainsborough town.

There are opportunities ahead and we are coordinating efforts with West Lindsey District Council.