Service of Thanksgiving for the Rt. Hon. Dame Cheryl Gillan RIP

We gathered together Parliamentarians, colleagues of Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan and family and friends for a service of Thanksgiving for her life and work. The service was conducted by the Speaker’s Chaplin the Venerable Tricia Hillas, Archdeacon of Westminster.  Cheryl was a very kind MP and I knew her as she was the Vice Chair of the APPG on Epilepsy.  She had a distinguished parliamentary career as the Secretary of State for Wales and an indomitable campaigner against HS2. Cheryl leaves a legacy that includes the Autism Act which put on a statutory footing help for Autistic Children. She will be missed. 

The Rt Hon Lady May the former Prime Minister read this poem by David Harkins (b 1958) She is Gone: 

You can shed tears that she is gone 

Or you can smile because she has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back

Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her

Or you can be full of the love that you shared

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday

Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

You can remember her and only that she is gone 

Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back

Or you can do what she would want :

smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

A member of her  family Barry John Leeming read the Prayer that is said before we start our work in Parliament: “Lord God of righteousness and truth, grant to our Queen and her Government, to members of Parliament and all in positions of responsibility, the guidance of your Spirit. may they never lead the nation wrongly through love of power, desire to please or unworthy ideals but, laying aside all private interests and prejudices, keep in mind their responsibility to seek to improve the condition of all people, so may your kingdom come and your name be hallowed. Amen. ”  

We sang Cwm Rhondda- Guide me O thou great Redeemer, and Fight the Good fight and lastly Blaenwern -Love Divine all loves excelling.  May she rest in Peace.