Memo­rial Ser­vice

The Oldie - - NEWS -

The Rev Jane Sin­clair, Canon of West­min­ster and Rec­tor of St Mar­garet’s Church, gave the bid­ding at a thanks­giv­ing for Pa­trick Jenkin, for­mer Cabi­net min­is­ter in the Heath and Thatcher gov­ern­ments.

‘Away from the pub­lic eye, Pa­trick re­laxed among friends and fam­ily as a gifted mu­si­cian and gar­dener and, when in West­min­ster, he was a reg­u­lar here in St Mar­garet’s,’ she said.

You can say that again, vicar. In twenty-three years in the Com­mons, then twenty-seven in the Lords, Jenkin was in the Speaker’s Church most Sun­days.

Daugh­ter Ni­cola Jenkin and friends sang the In­troit from Psalm 91 by Men­delssohn. Her sis­ter, Flora Chris­ti­son, read the first les­son.

Her brother Bernard Jenkin MP gave the sec­ond read­ing, from Matthew 8, about Je­sus sav­ing the ser­vant of a cen­tu­rion. An­other brother, Canon Charles Jenkin, an Ip­swich vicar, of­fered a prayer for his fa­ther: ‘Let us call to mind our own spe­cial mem­o­ries of trav­el­ling along­side him through his life.’

‘From the day of my elec­tion as an MP in 1992 un­til the day he re­tired in 2014, I could al­ways call him to ask, “Your place or mine?”, to see if we could meet for lunch or a drink,’ said Bernard in a fu­neral eu­logy quoted in the ser­vice sheet. ‘I was lucky that he be­came such a true men­tor and friend to me.’

Bernard re­called his fa­ther’s cel­e­brated Lords speech in favour of same sex mar­riage. In an ad­dress, the Very Rev Dr Vic­tor Stock, a fam­ily friend, told how Lord Jenkin once teased him over lunch as a lib­eral pre­var­i­ca­tor and a pinko.

Jenkin be­came fa­mous as an en­ergy min­is­ter in the early 1970s, when he said peo­ple should brush their teeth in the dark and share a bath with a friend – but this wasn’t men­tioned in the church.

Lord But­ler of Brock­well, for­mer Cabi­net Sec­re­tary, said Mar­garet Thatcher de­scribed him in her mem­oirs as ‘“con­sci­en­tious, loyal, kind and selfless” – not an en­comium she ap­plied to all her po­lit­i­cal col­leagues.’

At the end of the ser­vice, the bells of St Mar­garet’s rang out but, sadly, not Big Ben, si­lenced dur­ing restora­tion work. JAMES HUGHES-ONSLOW

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