This article was written by Damian and published in this week's Petersfield Post and Herald editions:
"So much has been said in tribute to Prince Philip, from his extraordinary example of selfless public service, to the passion and energy he had for many pioneering causes.
The passing of the Duke of Edinburgh has been a moment of great reflection and gratitude for us all. The longest serving consort, his profound sense of duty was clear to see, supporting the Queen throughout 73 years of marriage.
And we have learnt much more from these tributes about what shaped the man. His royal lineage, his childhood, the influence of his school days, his naval career, his humour and ability to engage easily with others.
Much has been said about his toughness and great sense of purpose. It was clear that he recognised his role in support of the Queen and the country, in quiet but determined duty.
That devotion to duty and each other was evident to see. A partnership respected across the world and held in deep affection by millions.
Said to have a fierce competitiveness, his time at Gordonstoun with its progressive and physically demanded curriculum, was to inspire the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards. Set up in 1956, the scheme that enables young people to pursue new skills and experiences, continues to thrive across the world.
Schools here in East Hampshire are among the very many that take part. Its unique programme remains as relevant today as it was in the beginning, challenging participants to explore new interests and physical pursuits in a way that helps build resilience, teamwork and success beyond the classroom.
DofE experiences can often be some of life’s most memorable moments, and those achievements not only open minds to new possibilities but also help develop skills that we know are so important for life.
Prince Philip served as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers from 1969, and in that role visited Bordon. He took a close interest in the Corps, in the engineering aspects of its work, and in those serving in its ranks.
REME renamed the former Havannah barracks at the base in his honour in 1984. It is fitting that his name continues its association with the wider re-development of Whitehill & Bordon - under the name Prince Philip Park - given the scale and ambition of the project, and its focus on sustainability, innovation and technology.
Long before environmental causes became mainstream, Prince Philip supported conservation projects across the world, highlighting famously that ‘‘If nature doesn’t survive, neither will man.” An interest in birds and conservation led to his support for the World Wide Fund for Nature, becoming its first president when it was formed in 1961.
The vital work of the WWF continues, and we of course understand much more now about the on-going threat to our environment and global resources. It is testament to the passion and vision of the Prince that he saw the opportunity to act more than 60 years ago and remained involved throughout his life.
There are of course great privileges that come with being a member of the Royal Family, but there are also many expectations. Prince Philip seemed to understand the need for the monarchy to evolve and to remain relevant, yet never lost sight of its responsibilities.
The monarchy still represents so much of our heritage and our unique place in the world. It helps too to bind us together. People here and abroad continue to value our constitutional monarchy and its role in public life, including the enduring relationships with Commonwealth countries and global leaders across the world.
Her Majesty The Queen continues to serve the British nation in the way she always has, with dignity, duty, great civility, and the greatest commitment. Our thoughts and prayers are with Her Majesty and the entire Royal Family."