1997 Onwards -
Below is the text of Sir John Major’s tribute to Hector Monro, The Lord Monro of Langholm, at a memorial service held on Tuesday 28th November 2006.
SIR JOHN MAJOR:
The more one thinks of Hector Monro -
His circle of friends was wide. So were his interests: Politics, Scotland, the Armed Forces, the countryside, and any vintage vehicle that went fast. In leisure he was a fine sportsman; a good shot; captain of the South of Scotland Rugby XV; an enthusiastic golfer; a lover of cricket. These affections lasted all his life.
Hector was comfortable in his own skin. He was true to himself. He didn’t need -
I first met Hector 30 years ago. We talked of rugby and cricket -
On both sides of his family, Hector came from a long line of soldiers -
In 1949, 27-
In Parliament, Hector gravitated naturally to the Whips Office, then under the stewardship of his regular golfing partner, Willie Whitelaw. Willie had a combustible character, and Hector often exerted valuable influence on him. “Steady on, Willie, steady on”, he’d say, until the Whitelaw eruption subsided.
He had similar man management skills in the Commons. If an unwelcome question was put to him at the Despatch Box he would look up with a pained expression: “The hon Member really should know that” he’d tell the House: “go and look it up in the Library”. Few suspected that Hector sometimes needed to look it up as well.
Hector served on the front bench in Opposition -
As the MP for the county he loved, his name was a byword for integrity, hard work and concern for all his constituents. This was never better illustrated than in December 1988, when a Pan Am airliner, destroyed by terrorists, crashed on to the town of Lockerbie.
For days, weeks, months, Hector was there -
By 1994, his love of golf had led him to Doris, whom both he and Anne had known. It was another very successful marriage and I, personally, can attest to the affection in that happy home. Hector gave so much of himself to others -
Very occasionally -
To all of us lucky enough to know Hector his fixed memory is a happy one.
Hector Monro was a fully rounded man. By instinct, a countryman. In leisure: a sports-
These were but the labels of a very full life -
Hector leaves a tremendous gap in the lives of those who loved him most: Doris, Seymour and Hughie, his sister and his six grandchildren. Today, all of us who were privileged to know this engaging, multi-
Our lives are richer for having known him -