Long serving Essex MP remembered

TWO former cabinet ministers, three MPs and 12 Colchester mayors yesterday attended a remembrance service for Sir Antony Buck, who represented the town in parliament for over 30 years.

TWO former cabinet ministers, three MPs and 12 Colchester mayors yesterday attended a remembrance service for Sir Antony Buck, who represented the town in parliament for over 30 years.

Sir Antony died in October last year at the age of 74. He was MP for Colchester and Colchester North from 1961 to 1992, although in his latter years he was better known for his colourful private life.

At the service of thanksgiving yesterdayat St Peter's Church, Colchester, tributes were paid by his only daughter, Louisa, and three of his friends, former Chancellor of the Exchequor Lord Howe, Judge Robin Prendergast and Nicholas Elcombe.

About 250 people were at the service, which was conducted by the Reverend Fred Woods. The congregation included MPs Bob Russell and Bernard Jenkin, who between them represent Sir Antony's former constituency, and Anne McIntosh, MP for the Vale of York, who was an Essex MEP while Sir Antony was Colchester North MP.


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Lord Jenkin, who served as Environment Minister in Lady Thatcher's government, was also present.

The current Mayor and Mayoress of Colchester, Chris and Elizabeth Hall, attended along with 11 former mayors dating back to 1973.

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Sir Antony's first wife, Judy, was present, but his second and third wives, Bienvenida Perez-Bianco and Tamara Norashkaryan were not.

Miss Buck said her father had a “lifelong loathing of pomposity, wicked irreverence and dogged loyalty, even when it was against his own interests”.

Lord Howe, who was at Cambridge with Sir Antony and was his friend for over 40 years, spoke about his Westminster career, which included the post of Minister to the Navy under Edward Heath and chairman of the Ombudsman Committee.

He said when the Colchester MP backed Lord Howe in the Conservative Party Leadership election of 1975, which was won by Lady Thatcher, his front bench career came to a halt.

“He never rose. He wasn't one of those Lady Thatcher came to regard as one of us,” said Lord Howe.

Nicholas Elcombe, who was Sir Antony's PA through three general elections focussed on the former MP's life in the constituency.

He said: “Tony or “Mr Buck” - as he was as he was known far and wide in Colchester - set off to represent every constituent.”

He described an MP always willing to listen to his constituents, either by telephone or at his regular surgeries, and to fight passionately for them.

He described Sir Antony as “fun, exasperating, exhilarating, frustrating, loveable”.

Judge Robin Prendergast, who started off his legal career sharing a room in chambers with Sir Antony, said: “He radiated enthusiasm, energy, laughter and friendliness. He became the best friend I ever had.”

After the service a reception was held in the Mayor's Parlour, at Colchester Town Hall.

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