Ever since my father died over a week ago I have been deeply moved by the outpouring of affection which has accompanied his death.
I always knew he had many friends. But the extent of the tribute that huge numbers of you have paid my father in the last few days has been overwhelming. I have drawn great comfort from so many individual acts of kindness and respect.
Too many of you have had to cope with family loss, sometimes in the most tragic of circumstances. So I count myself fortunate that my father was blessed with a long and happy life. He had an infectious zest for living, and this remained with him until the very end. I know too that his faith was always a great strength to him.
My family has a wider sense of thanksgiving for his life and times – times not without their trials and sorrows, but also great times, full of examples of courage and leadership as well as fun and laughter.
This is what my father would have understood, because it was the warmth and affection of people everywhere which inspired his resolve, dedication and enthusiasm for life.
I thank you for the support you are giving me and my family as we come to terms with his death and the void he has left in our midst. I thank you also from my heart for the love you gave him during his life and the honor you now give him in death.
May God bless you all.