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Yesterday afternoon, I attended a reception at the town hall in Macclesfield where I met the under-18 schoolboys who are to play for England against the under-18 schoolboys of Wales. In fact, I should be there to watch the match, which will start in a few moments' time, but I felt it appropriate to be here. I am pleased to be in the Chamber to share the occasion with Members of Parliament of all political parties. During that visit to Macclesfield town hall, the mayor, the leader of the council and I signed the book of condolence. It was a moving occasion not because we signed the book of condolence, but because of the many dozens of people, young and old, who were there to do the same thing, and the simple messages that they entered in the book.
The Queen Mother has held a special place in the life of our country. She loved its people. She loved this country. She fought for this countrymetaphorically speakingduring the war, when she refused to leave London. As we all know, she said, "I cannot leave without the children. I cannot leave without my husband the King, and he will not leave." Her indomitable spirit shone forth then and continued to do so until last Saturday. Her life was full to the brim with service, duty and love, of family, and of her country. She will pass to her place of perpetual peace and rest on a wave of love and affection which will be remembered for ever.
Sir Michael Spicer (West Worcestershire): I have listened with growing awe to the wonderful tributes that have been paid today. Because of them, I cannot understand why the Queen Mother's funeral is not to be designated a state occasion. She was arguably the greatest female British citizen of the 20th century, and I hope that those who are responsible for such decisions will reconsider the status of her funeral.