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Today the news tells us that the Duke of Edinburgh has died aged 99.  That's a very long life, and, I am sure, far from an easy one, no matter how privileged it was.

The photos above connect to memories of the day I met him, less than 2m away from me, just shy of forty years ago in June 1981.

I was wearing a hand-me-down GB Officer's uniform, gifted to me by someone whose niece had recently died of cancer, because she knew there was no way my parents could afford to buy me a new or even second hand uniform.

Passing through the crowds, and then past the police into the courtyard was a magical moment for this girl from a council house - the culmination of lots of hard work and determination.

My mum would comment on the shabbiness of some of what we passed on our way to the 'supper room east' (or something like that) and that the Duke's suit had seen better days.  Whatever, it was beyond my wildest imaginings, being there with other equally eager young adults (I was one of the youngest) as we waited for him to reach our group.  He was genial, funny, interested in what we had done.  Though he didn't speak directly to me, it felt very inclusive and welcoming.

Whatever anyone may think of him, or about royality, today a man has died who leaves behind a wife, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  A man who inspired generations of young adults to complete challenging expeditions, to volunteer in their local communities, to learn new skills and to take their place in society, hopefully the better for the experience.

D of E gave me opportunities nothing else could.  It contributed to my love of hill walking, enabled me to develop leadership skills, and, yes, long before anyone could buy a ticket to go inside Buck House, I went there. These memories are precious.

Prince Philip, like us all, was a child of God.  May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

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