Bury St Edmunds: Life of former MP Sir Eldon Griffiths is celebrated at service
Insights into the life and character of former Bury St Edmunds MP Sir Eldon Griffiths have been shared at a thanksgiving service at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.
Those to speak during the special celebration of his life, held yesterday, included former cabinet ministers Lord Cecil Parkinson and Lord Norman Tebbit as well as Sir Eldon’s son John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council.
Sir Eldon, who served as Bury’s MP for 28 years, died on June 3 this year aged 89.
Lord Parkinson spoke of Sir Eldon’s many achievements, including a “stella” career in journalism followed by politics. He added: “He was a splendid man, a friend of mine and I miss him.”
Revealing insights into his father’s life, Mr Griffiths said: “Not that many people know he first tried to become a Benedictine monk and failed. He always told me he loved the required learning, didn’t mind the required celibacy but simply couldn’t handle the required fasting.”
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Sir Eldon, who was brought up by his father following the premature death of his mother, went on to have three marriages.
Mr Griffiths said his father was “fantastic at making things happen,” adding he got divorced, knighted and remarried in the same week.
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He said Sir Eldon, who had also been a pig farmer, always had an opinion on everything, was enormously charming and did not like anyone saying no to him.
He said: “Personally he was actually a very complex man and one of opposites. For such an articulate, caring and compassionate - particularly for those in need - interesting and active man he often found it hard to express his deepest feelings and emotions.”
But he added he did manage to express himself through writing.
“He loved all members of his families very deeply, even if he sometimes had a funny way of showing it, and he also cared passionately about a lot of other people all over the world no matter how grand or humble,” he said.
Dean of St Edmundsbury, the Very Rev Frances Ward, said: “We remember today a man who served the common good with a sense of honour and truth.”