SWINDON leaders have been paying tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh after his death at the age of 99.
The union flag flying from Swindon Borough Council’s civic offices was lowered to half mast as a mark of respect after the news broke before lunchtime yesterday.
And the council has made a book of condolences available on its website. It will be archived to show how the Prince’s death was marked in Swindon in future.
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said: “It is with very deep sadness that I learned of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.
“He was the very epitome of public service, and he had an enthusiasm for the communities that make up our country.
“HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh will be remembered with deep gratitude for his service in the Royal Navy, his tireless support to HM The Queen and his strong advocacy for environmental and technological causes.
“This was a remarkable life; we will mark his passing appropriately. It was life that was so fulfilled.”
Mr Buckland announced yesterday afternoon that all campaign activities have been suspended until further notice.
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said: “Prince Philip fought fascism, championed liberty, served countless charities, cared deeply about the environment, and inspired young people through the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.
“He was a remarkable man who will be remembered as a dedicated public servant. My thoughts are with the Queen who has lost her companion in life.”
Mayor of Swindon Coun Garry Perkins said: “It is with great sadness that we hear of the news of the death of His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh.
“He will always be remembered as a dedicated supporter of Her Majesty The Queen, as well as for his commitment and dedication in serving this country. On behalf of Swindon Borough Council and its residents I wish to convey our deepest and heartfelt condolences.”
Leaders of the main parties in Swindon Borough Council paid their respects.
Council leader David Renard said: “It’s very sad news.
“The whole council passes its condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the whole of the royal family on their loss.
“Prince Phillip served the Queen and the whole country for several decades and will be very sadly missed.
“He has given good and loyal service for decades and I think we could all reflect on what that public service means, and he is a great example to us all.
“It’s a very sad day.”
Jim Grant, the leader of the Labour group, said his party in Swindon had also suspended activities as a mark of respect.
He added: “All of our thoughts should be with The Queen, the Royal Family and the British people as our nation comes together to mourn and remember the life of Prince Philip.”
Stan Pajak of the Liberal Democrats added: “Prince Philip has been part of our lives for so long and had really made a difference to the culture with the causes he has promoted.
“Thousands of young people have enjoyed and benefitted from taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.
“Prince Philip was in important figure in this country for decades. I think he’ll be missed.”
The Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Rose Troughton, is the Queen’s official representative in Swindon and the wider county.
She said: “As Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant and on behalf of the people of Wiltshire and Swindon, I would like to send heartfelt condolences and prayers to Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness’s immediate family.
“His Royal Highness devoted a major part of his long life to serving Her Majesty but also had his own full and varied programme of commitments and interests, all carried out with great aplomb and of course a sense of humour.
“He was a questioning and engaging guest as those who met him on his visits to the county and to his regiments will testify. We last had the pleasure of HRH’s company at The Orders of St John Care Trust’s Haywood Care Centre in Devizes and the opening of the Prince Philip Barracks at REME Lyneham Garrison.
“His Royal Highness will be much missed and will be remembered with the greatest affection and respect.”
Wiltshire Council leader Philip Whitehead said: “Our thoughts are with Her Majesty and the Royal Family at this very difficult time.
“I’m sure he enjoyed his visits to Wiltshire and I know people in the county will want to join me in sending condolences to his family.”
Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Kier Pritchard tweeted: “I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
“HRH was a global ambassador and tireless servant to this country for over 60 years. Our condolences go out to HM The Queen and the Royal Family at this tragic time.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Swindon Town FC, who tweeted: “Everyone at Swindon Town Football Club are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of The Duke of Edinburgh.
“Our condolences go to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family.”
The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Museum in Lyneham tweeted: “We are deeply saddened to learn that HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, passed away at Windsor Castle.
“Prince Philip was the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer’s Colonel in Chief and he will be greatly missed.”
The Swindon-based Bible Society shared its “deepest sympathy” to the Queen – its patron since her accession in 1952.
Chief executive Paul Williams said: ‘”We join with millions in giving thanks to God for his contribution to the life of our nation, and most of all for his long and loving partnership with our Queen.
“We pray for her, for Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, and for all who mourn his loss.
“May God bless them and comfort them in their grief, and assure them of his loving purposes for them.”
The book of condolences is available at swindon.org.uk