Prince Philip: A pint and a poem as care home residents prepare to remember ‘gentleman’ duke

Raising a pint of ale, 93-year-old Cyril Rowell tears up as he makes a toast to the late duke: "An officer and a gentleman!"

He’s one of a dozen residents at Woodland Court Care Home in Torquay, who are preparing to watch the funeral on Saturday, by writing down their memories of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Across the room, Audrey Drake recites a poem she’s written, to the applause of care staff: "Prince Philip – a man much admired, always upright and strong, immaculate, perfectly attired, he seemed to put no foot wrong."

These residents are from the generation that grew up with the prince, remembering when he first met a young Queen-to-be a few miles away at the Naval College in Dartmouth.

Mr Rowell said: "It’s only just come to light what he did. All the visits he made to different places and things he did. He was always in the background of the Queen – I’m sure he’s going to miss him terribly.

"He was a gentleman. I knew him when he first met the Queen back in Dartmouth when she came to visit him," he added.

The nearby Babbacombe Inn in the next bay will stop serving at 3pm on Saturday, to join the nation in a minute’s silence.

Manager Lee Pritchard said: "From 2.50pm to 3.10pm the music will go off and the intention is all of us, the customers and staff, will hold a minute’s silence.

"It’s part of our history – and we should have to respect and all pay a minute’s silence."

For those in the beer garden, pausing to remember the duke is important.

Customer Ray Caslings said: "I shall be at home with a beer sat down with my dear wife watching it.

"We both think he was a wonderful man, did a wonderful job, always behind the Queen. We’ll be sorry to miss him."

Keeley Carpenter-Kay and her son Kit will also be watching the funeral.

She said: "Just taking a moment to reflect and I think, hopefully have nice weather and just take a moment to take stock. Celebrate his life as well."

Coronavirus restrictions mean there will be no large public screens, gatherings or services alongside the funeral – fitting, given the duke’s wish for no fuss.

While most will watch proceedings at home, for younger generations – it’ll be preparation for the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme that will keep them busy on Saturday.

Ashley Hone, an activity provider for the scheme in Paignton, has been helping young people through the scheme for 18 years.

He said: "I think the duke would want them to continue doing what they’re doing, be positive, to broaden their horizons, seek new experiences and to remember his legacy should enable them to have access to that and for everyone, every young person.

"At this moment in time, more important than ever. It gives structure to young people, get out of house, new skills, explore, engage with the natural world, hopefully his legacy will enable young people to develop and flourish and become more connected to the outdoor world," he added.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap