Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:29 pm on 18th December 2008.

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Photo of Baroness D'Souza Baroness D'Souza Convenor of the Crossbench Peers 5:29 pm, 18th December 2008

My Lords, it is that very happy time of the year again and I add my personal tributes and those of the Cross-Benchers to all those that have been paid today. I find that I tend to use the staff of the House rather more than anyone else. I am for ever asking things such as, "Who is speaking?" "How long will they speak?" "When will the vote come?" "When will the House be up?" "Have you found my lost brooch?" "Is there any way in which you can accommodate below Bar my newly arrived friend from New York?". Nearly always the answer is yes. It is wonderful. I truly thank the staff around the House for their courtesy and generally good cheer in providing such a service for us.

In particular, I should like to mention two more retirees this year: Celia Choudri, who began work in 1995 as a general assistant and who more recently worked in the Peers' Dining Room—many noble Lords will remember her—and Barbara Beadon, who began work in 1996 as a housekeeper and was promoted to team leader in 1999. She retires to Australia with her family. We wish them a very happy and well deserved retirement. On behalf of the Cross Benches, I wish them and all staff—including the Library staff, Hansard, doorkeepers, attendants, police, cleaners and the restaurant staff—a truly happy Christmas and a very good new year.

Motion agreed.