David Chalmers, as Mayor of Northam, has made the following statement on the sad death of the Duke of Edinburgh, recalling his meeting with him in 2002:
'On behalf of Northam Town Council and its Councillors I should like to convey our deep sadness at the announcement of the death of HRH Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh at the grand age of 99, just two months from his 100th Birthday. Prince Philip dedicated his life to our country and its people, and in our nation's history will be remembered for the steadfast support he has given to our Queen throughout their long marriage and the 69 years of her reign. He was a keen environmentalist and protector of the natural world long before we had ever heard reference to climate emergency. His Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme transformed lives and gave hope to thousands of young people.
I had the honour and privilege to meet Prince Philip and the Queen at Buckingham Palace in the summer of 2002 when I was presented to them on being awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise. We chatted for about 15 minutes about my team's work in China and the royal visit they had made to China a few years before. I recall in particular Prince Philip's comments about how many people there were in China - just everywhere! They were both so warm and welcoming and made me feel like a guest in their home. There were a lot of smiles and laughter all round. It was a very special day for me and my family, who were so proud at my receiving the Award. I shall never forget the kindness and generosity of the Queen and Prince Philip in the way they acknowledged my achievement.
To mark this sad occasion the Union flag will be flown at half mast over the Town Hall and on Bone Hill until the morning of the funeral. An online Book of Condolence has been opened on the Northam Town website, where at this moment in history residents are encouraged to pay their respects and record their memories of Prince Philip. With the current social restrictions in force to prevent the spread of the pandemic, there are no plans to have a Book of Condolence available for signing in the Town Hall and no public events are scheduled. On behalf of our whole community, as individual flower tributes are not to be encouraged, I shall as Mayor place flowers on the War Memorials in Appledore and Northam.
Millions will be feeling this loss, but we should not forget that Prince Philip was primarily a much-loved husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. Our thoughts must be with the whole Royal Family, in particular with the Queen at this difficult and sad time.'
Cllr David Chalmers
Mayor of Northam