Aylesbury MP Rob Butler pays tribute to Prince Philip and Dame Cheryl Gillan in his letter to Bucks Free Press readers this week. He writes:

Last week Parliament was recalled a day early from the Easter recess in order that MPs could pay tribute to HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

More than a hundred MPs wished to speak, so contributions were understandably brief, but I was pleased to be able to highlight the impact of his award scheme, including in Aylesbury’s Young Offender Institution.

The scheme is understandably adapted - the expedition is replaced with camping on the fields, well inside the fence - but the life skills learned there are arguably of even greater value to these young men on their path to rehabilitation.

The Duke often visited our county and some of his trips were remembered at the moving service organised by Buckinghamshire Council last Friday.

It was a fitting memorial to a man whose life was duty personified.

The following day saw tributes to the Rt Honourable Dame Cheryl Gillan, who had served as MP for Chesham and Amersham for almost 30 years.

I am a new MP, but even in my very short time in politics, Dame Cheryl had a profound impact on me.

I first met her when she came to help me campaigning. With her was her much loved dog, Jimmi, who had brought her so much joy after the loss of her husband.

Cheryl walked the streets with me, shared a choice comment or two with a heckler in the post office, and then sat down in a pub to tell me what was what.

And, despite having known me barely an hour, she immediately offered me space in her office were I to be elected.

She was good to her word and for my first month in Westminster, I camped out alongside her, benefitting not just from a desk and some space, but also from her wisdom.

She gave me and many of the 2019 intake of MPs valuable tips that have already stood us in very good stead.

She was always willing to share the benefit of her long experience with us. Many members spoke about Cheryl’s contribution, particularly in highlighting autism and supporting the election of more women MPs.

The affection from both sides of the House, and indeed from the Speaker, was a testament to Cheryl’s extraordinary service to Chesham and Amersham, to the entire county of Buckinghamshire, and to her country.

I am proud to have known her.