1997 Onwards -
Below is the text of Sir John Major’s tribute to Nicholas Lyell, The Rt Hon The Lord Lyell of Markyate, QC, at the thanksgiving service held at St.Margaret’s, Westminster, London on Thursday 20th January 2011.
SIR JOHN MAJOR:
“Old age creeps
Yet new each year
The roses bud and flush”.
So wrote Nick in one of his poems. Those brief lines tell you a lot about him. Nick was a countryman. He loved the countryside and all its pursuits. He knew nature in all her moods. He understood the rhythms of life -
That was his faith: it is why, and how, he faced death with such equanimity. It was, for Nick, merely the start of a new beginning where, one day -
This was Nick, the Man of Faith. But there were so many Nicks. All with the same underlying characteristics.
Nick was a gentle man in every sense of the word. A little shy. Often under-
I came to know Nick well. Over 30 years ago, we entered Parliament on the same day. We became members of the same dining club. We shared views and instincts. We worked together -
The main reason for this -
And there was adversity in his political life: inevitably so, in his role as a Law Officer. Many controversies crossed his desk. And yet, in my experience, he was always a man of deep integrity who interpreted the law fairly and generously.
And when, over Matrix Churchill, he faced ill-
It is twelve years since Nick first knew he had the disease that would finally defeat him. Characteristically, he confronted it head on, fought it bravely, and -
Whenever we lunched together or shared a drink, he was invariably “doing well”, or so he said. He remained busy -
I said earlier that there were many Nicks. And so there were. By profession, he was a lawyer and politician and -
So many Nicks -
For Susanna and his family he is irreplaceable. And yet, the Nick they loved will always be there: they will hear him and see him through the thousands of memories they will carry of him in their minds, for the rest of their lives. As time moves on, the pain of their loss will ease, and their memories of Nick will be fresh and clear and unclouded. Nature is kind in that way.
And all of us, privileged to have had a walk-
Old age crept up -