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It is a pleasure to join these tributes to Reverend Rose. Only a remarkable lady could have come from Montego bay to the position of your chaplain, Mr Speaker, and those of us who have heard something of her journey realise how remarkable it has been.
I am one of those who has regularly attended her morning communions, followed by breakfast in your apartments, Mr Speaker. One of the great beauties of those occasions is that, as the Leader of the House said, the service is based on the Book of Common Prayer, which is vastly superior to all that has followed. We have heard a wide range of speakers from the community, and Rose has introduced us to many people who have shared with us the challenges of their ministry or work, which has been exceptionally valuable. On those occasions, Rose has also invited individual Members to describe their faith journey, and I have found those sessions to be of particular value.
I also want to talk about Rose’s wider ministry. Last year she came to my parish church in Grimsby, St Giles with St Matthew, and I learned that she has visited other Members’ constituencies—or, in my case, the neighbouring constituency—to preach at their parish church. It was a wonderful occasion, and I know that the whole congregation greatly appreciated it.
As we heard earlier, Rose has varied the Prayers that she says at the beginning of our daily sessions. I am sure that that has caused a few ripples here and there, because the exact prayers that must be said are probably laid down in statute, but it has been extremely helpful and valuable. She is not in the Chamber at the moment, but when I popped out a short while ago, she was providing pastoral care and comfort to a Member. That just shows her devotion to her calling, which I think we would all want to place on record.
Mr Speaker, if you will indulge me for an extra minute or two, I would like to say a few warm words about you. We first met when I was the constituency agent in Gainsborough. I drove you around on various visits, one of which was when I was studying at Lincoln University, and you spoke to the politics group of which I was a member. I can assure you that that went down particularly well. You returned to Lincoln University two or three years ago to give an address. You spotted me in the audience and spoke very warmly about me as a Member. My wife said to me, “He’s going a bit over the top, isn’t he?”, and I said, “John going over the top? No, never!” I greatly appreciated that.
You have called me relatively early in the proceedings. One or two of us at this end of the Chamber have, on odd occasions when we have been bobbing up and down, thought that your eyesight may be failing. You have always been particularly courteous to me, and I thank you for that. In particular, this occasion calls for our thanks to Rose. May God go with her.