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Many honours have come to me in my time. Possibly a few of them have been earned, although I must confess that I think the vast majority have been completely unearned and undeserved. But the greatest honour of them all is the one that I receive today, in being allowed to participate, on behalf of my fellow back benchers, in the tribute to our greatest of men. That is something that I shall treasure during the remaining years of my life.
Greatness, strength, high purpose and magnanimity are rare to come by, but as this is a special occasion may I say that we have come by them all in our right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill). It has always been an excitement to hear him, it has been a constant joy, especially for the Strangers' Gallery, to watch him. It has been a terrific inspiration to all those of us who have been privileged to serve with him in this House—myself for 40 full years. That inspiration will be with us always. Now the House will seem strangely empty. Indeed, I think that the country will feel sort of empty, too, and that the people will miss hearing that reassuring voice which always gave them comfort in times of trouble.
But there is another to whom our thoughts turn today, that gracious lady who has been his inspiration and who has so loved and cherished him through all their years together. So I would include her in these final words: may God continue to bless them and give them both many years of healthy and happy retirement—and still together.