Ladies and Gentleman, I just wanted to say that apart from being enormously grateful for my rose and the fact that I have discovered there is a Sandringham rose, which I didn’t know about, I should also hope that I have sufficient green fingers left to find a suitable spot for it. I also wanted to use this opportunity to congratulate all the students who were brave enough to take part in this competition. I must say, I so enjoyed hearing the two recitations just now. I’m rather glad that although I know bits of the Prayer Book by heart, I’m very glad that I haven’t been required to recite by heart here today.
If I may say so, I remember, it is awful to think, that it is 30 years ago that I came to Garlickhythe Church and made what I thought was a frightfully good speech about the importance of the Prayer Book and when you think about it, of course as I tried to say then, it is a crucial part of our heritage. This is the particular point, like the fact that we mind about our churches, our cathedrals, our buildings, but it is also our language that is important. When you think how much importance, fortunately, is paid and how much attention is paid to Shakespeare and the language, which is exactly the same period as the Cranmer Prayer Book, it is a vital part of our inheritance. From that point of view, I am so thrilled that the Prayer Book Society still work so hard to spread the word about the Prayer Book and its value. As I’m sure many of you understand as well as I do, as you get older, the words in the Prayer Book mean more and more and more. This is, I think, the point of it, as repetition and familiarity makes such a difference to one’s life – particularly towards the end of it, which you don’t realise at the time when you are younger.
So, if I may say so, I just wanted to say how much I admire the work of the Prayer Book Society and all those who are prepared to give up their time as judges or work in the office or help in some way or other. And I pray that all the young people that took part, won’t have been put off by their experience but will find as they get older too that it is a valuable thing, the Prayer Book, in our lives. So well done all of you, I hope you keep it all going for many, many more years. Thank you.