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