Last Friday, we lost the ‘Grandfather of the Nation’, HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. As a nation, we all mourn this tragic loss, and I know all of our thoughts are with Her Majesty, The Queen, who has lost her husband of over 70 years who was, in her own words, her ‘strength and stay’. He was a devoted public servant, who loved this country, just as the country loved him. He will be remembered as a war hero from the ‘greatest generation’, who stood alongside our Queen, supporting her and the entire Royal family throughout the decades.
The Duke of Edinburgh had some important links to Mid Sussex, which I know will bring back fond memories for many constituents. This included several visits with The Queen to the South of England Show, including in 2002 during the Golden Jubilee Tour. He also accompanied Her Majesty when they opened the Triangle, in Burgess Hill, in 1999, arriving by helicopter and landing in the grounds of Oakmeeds! These visits were always characterised by his sparky wit, intelligence and charm. He was the President of the Guinea Pig Club, in East Grinstead, the social club and mutual support network for British and allied aircrew injured during World War II, and was a “loyal and devoted President”, in the words of the Club’s current Secretary, Mr R Marchant FCODP.
The Duke’s funeral will take place this Saturday at 3pm. This service will be attended by The Queen and members of the Royal Family. www.Royal.Uk has a book of condolence for people to send messages, and may be held in the Royal Archives for posterity.
Monday saw the lockdown restrictions begin to be relaxed, and I hope everyone has been getting out visiting our super local shops, barbers, pubs and making the most of their reopening, despite the chilly weather. It was a big relief to finally visit the hairdressers earlier this week for the first time this year, as I know it will have for many of you – I’d definitely had enough of my lockdown hair! I hope you all can get out and safely support our Mid Sussex traders as we begin to recover. It’s been great to see the high-streets start to come back alive - there are some much-needed new school shoes on our list!
Finally, having met with Joceline, from Haywards Heath, previously, I am delighted she is finally receiving her pioneering stem cell treatment in Russia, for relapsing remitting MS, following fund raising for this advanced procedure - wonderful news! It doesn’t end there however, and if you haven’t read her story and can assist her when she returns to the UK, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-joceline-with-medical