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Mourners gather to say goodbye to Sir Ray Whitney
ABOUT 200 mourners came together to say farewell to former Wycombe MP Sir Ray Whitney this morning.
A funeral service was held at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Sunninghill, Berkshire.
Glowing tributes were paid to the Parliamentarian, who died on August 15, aged 81.
He served as a Conservative MP for Wycombe from 1978 to 2001.
Sir Peter Lloyd, a retired Conservative MP, who served for almost the entirety of the same period as Sir Ray, led the praise at today's service.
He described him as an outspoken man of strong opinions and values.
He said: “He was not a careerist, he had things he wanted to argue and things he wanted to promote. He didn't calculate step by step his personal advancement.
“Rather, Ray wanted to do the right thing and the freedom to say what needed to be said.”
The Falklands conflict was cited as such an example. He spoke at the last hour before military action took place, asking the Government to still seek a diplomatic solution, a speech labelled at the time as courageous.
“Ray was an unusual member of Parliament in that he had two serious and successful careers before politics as a regimental army officer and the foreign office,” he went on to say.
“He wanted to do a very good job and very worthwhile one wherever he was. He had great ability and a warm, agreeable personality.
“He was very much liked even by those who disagreed with him.”
He said members of the lunch club for retiring MPs set up by Sir Ray dearly miss his presence there.
A family tribute was read out aloud.
“We were and are very proud of Ray,” the family said.
“Of his distinguished career, of his unending enthusiasm for everything he was involved in. He made a great contribution to society.”
They spoke of his quick wit, strong sense of humour and said he will be sorely missed.
Current Wycombe MP Steve Baker said after the funeral: “After hearing the eulogy to Sir Ray I feel proud and honoured to follow in the footsteps of such a man. If any of us in this Parliament are so remembered we shall have done well.”