Hundreds gather to celebrate the life of Lord Jim Prior
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds of people have gathered to celebrate the life of former Conservative cabinet minister and Lowestoft MP Lord (Jim) Prior of Brampton.
Family, friends as well as serving and former MPs were among those who attended the memorial service at St Edmund's Church in Southwold on February 10, in memory of Lord Prior who died aged 89 in December 2016.
David Prior, 62, Lord Prior's eldest son said: 'It was a lovely ceremony.
'He was a quintessential Englishman who lived for farming and the countryside and it was more by chance that he ended up in politics.
'And it was his early life in the countryside, during the 1930s, where he saw the impact of the recession on farming which established his political mission to ensure that all had the opportunity to have a job and work.'
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Born in Norwich on October 11, 1927, Lord Prior was educated at Charterhouse and Pembroke College, Cambridge.
And during his political career he spent 28 years as a Suffolk MP- first for Lowestoft and then for Waveney, before serving 30 years in the House of Lords.
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He also served under both Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher and was described the 'wettest' of Margaret Thatcher's cabinet ministers – becoming known for his frequent disputes with her.
Among those who gathered to celebrate the life of the former politician were Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, Waveney MP Peter Aldous and Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey.
Due to the large numbers of people wishing to pay their respects, a screen was set up in nearby St. Edmund's Hall to allow further attendees the opportunity to be a part of the service of thanksgiving.
The service featured hymns and readings as well as a performance from the choir of Orwell Park School, where Lord Prior once attended as a pupil, singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
This was followed by family and friends retiring to a further celebration held at the family home in Brampton where fireworks were let off 'to give him a proper send-off' explained David Prior.
Lord Prior leaves behind four children, nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren.