A tower of strength with time for everyone - Norfolk’s tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh

The Duke of Edinburgh officially opens the new Memorial Pavilion at South Creake. Picture: Matthew U

The Duke of Edinburgh officially opens the new Memorial Pavilion at South Creake. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Prince Philip will carry out one final engagement in Norfolk before he retires from public life.

On Friday, June 30, he will attend a dinner at the visitor centre restaurant at Sandringham, which is being hosted by the Coaching Club.

MORE - Prince Philip retires from public life

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It was announced as some of those who have met him formally and informally in Norfolk over the years paid tribute to the Duke.

They include West Norfolk councillor Alistair Beales, who met Prince Philip at a post-shoot barbecue.

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'He had time for everyone, talked to everyone and was clearly in his element with country people talking about country pursuits,' he said.

'That's the Duke in Norfolk if you like but on the wider stage he's an internationally respected figure and a huge asset for the Royal Family and this country. His energy and enthusiasm for his Royal duties will be much missed but given the astonishing length of his public career, retirement has rarely been more richly deserved.'

Richard Jewson, Norfolk's Lord Lieutenant, said: 'The announcement that HRH the Duke of Edinburgh will not accept any new invitations for visits and engagements, reminds us of the impact his wide interests, and vigorous engagement in public life has had on all of us.

'The Duke of Edinburgh award scheme will continue to inspire our young people, as will his continued interest in the over 780 organisations with which he is directly involved.'

North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham said: 'I've met him a number of times and will always have happy memories of seeing him at events.

'The Duke or Edinburgh has been an absolute tower of strength and he has won the hearts and admiration of millions of people and become a national figure. I think at 95, he's entitled to retire. Most people retire at 65, so he's done 30 more years' front line service than most people.'

West Norfolk Mayor David Whitby said: 'I am sure he will be sadly missed from his functions. I met him in January at a cocktail party in Sandringham and had the pleasure of having a chat with him. He does his own things and wanders around. I didn't have my mayoral chains on and he said 'you look well' then wandered off.'

West Norfolk council leader Brian Long said the Duke had given 'incredible service' to the country.

MORE - Outspoken, tough but caring - the life and times of Prince Philip

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