David Blunkett pays tribute to Prince Philip in House of Lords speech

Former Home Secretary, Sheffield City Council leader and MP for Brightside and Hillsborough Lord David Blunkett paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh in the House of Lords today.

Monday, 12th April 2021, 3:16 pm

His speech was one of many as the Lords paid their respects to the Duke, who died aged 99 on Friday (April 9).

Lord Blunkett said: “I reflect on [...] the enormity of change that has taken place during the Duke’s life and how that reflected the change we have experience here in Europe.

"He was someone who had to flee and became a refugee, having to obtain a Danish passport, and then fleeing Germany of course to Gordonstoun, and experiencing the welcome that we as a nation have given so many.

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Lord David Blunkett.
Lord David Blunkett.

"Reflecting, in other words, the life of both the nation and the world over that last 99 years.

"I reflect on something very close to my heart: his total commitment to volunteering and service and young people.

"I am reflecting on a young man called Lewis from Stocksbridge in Sheffield who was an apprentice with the waste service in Shefffield who joined the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme and found his feet and confidence and his ability to progress and now continues to volunteer well into his 20s.

"I reflect on the fact that all those years ago when I became a volunteer at the age of 16 I understood, as His Royal Highness did very well, that this was very much a two way street. When I volunteered to help a Mrs Plumb in her 80s I hadn’t realise Mrs Plumb thought she was volunteering to help me.

HRH Prince Philip

"And that is the way in which he encouraged young people to give their service as he had given throughout his life service to the nation and Her Majesty the Queen.

"I would like to also reflect on his attention to detail and his sense of humour: humour that has been mentioned a number of times today and over the last few days.

"My good friend Rev. Dr. Alan Billings and I, with my wife, were at the ceremony to commemorate the offering of the Maunday money in Sheffield in 2015.

"After the service in the cathederal we joined the welcoming line at the Town Hall. Alan Billings had just been elected Police and Crime Commissioner after a considerable amount of controversy around the standing down of his predecessor.

"[The Duke] had done his homework. He said: ‘who managed to get you into this terrible job’ and there was a moment’s silence and then I confessed that I had persuaded him. The Duke said: ‘well with friends like this you don’t need any enemies’.

"I recall him as a man of honour, a man of commitment and a man who gave his life in service to our country and to his monarch Her Majesty the Queen. He will be greatly missed.”

Prince Philip’s funeral will take place on Saturday (April 17) after an eight day period of mourning.

Due to Covid restrictions only 30 people will be allowed to attend.