Surrey tributes paid to 'tireless champion' Prince Philip

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image captionPrincess Elizabeth and the Duke, seen here with a young Prince Charles, lived at Windlesham Moor in Surrey in the 1940s, before the Queen acceded to the throne

A leading environmental charity has paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, who has died at the age of 99.

Prince Philip was the first president of Surrey-based WWF UK, from its establishment in 1961 through to 1982, and was president emeritus of WWF International at the time of his death.

Surrey's MPs and community leaders have paid their respects.

WWF International president Pavan Sukhdev said he was a "tireless champion" for the environmental cause.

The charity said the duke had been a "passionate voice, advocate and champion" for its work, and in 1970 had given his name to the Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Award.

"His Royal Highness helped chart the course of WWF from its very beginning," Mr Sukhdev said.

MPs from across Surrey including Jeremy Hunt, Chris Grayling, Kwasi Kwarteng, Claire Coutinho and Ben Spencer have spoken of their gratitude for his service.

media captionThe Duke of Edinburgh opened the Brighton's i360 tower in 2016

Mr Grayling said that as Lord Chancellor and Lord President of the Council he had been privileged to spend time with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.

He remembered the duke as "an extraordinary man, a devoted servant to this country and a vital support to Her Majesty".

The MP said: "He was always entertaining company and had a sharp wit and a great sense of humour. His passing is an enormous loss to our country."

The duke was both founder and president of the Guards Polo Club, based in Windsor Great Park, near Egham, where the Queen and Prince Philip enjoyed matches.

A tribute by the club said that Prince Philip had been a passionate advocate of polo at the club for more than six decades and his "wise counsel" would be missed.

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image captionThe Queen and Duke of Edinburgh enjoyed polo at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor Great Park

The Bishop of Dorking, the Right Rev Jo Bailey Wells, said: "He has provided huge service to our nation and the Commonwealth for all my life and longer, both on his own account and in his unswerving support of Her Majesty the Queen through the many joys and challenges of the past seven decades."

Companies and organisations including the McLaren Group, the Surrey Chamber of Commerce and Surrey Search & Rescue have said their thoughts are with the Royal Family, while Surrey County Council chairman Tony Samuels has sent a letter of condolence.

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Gardens at RHS Wisley were closed on Friday as a mark of respect to the duke.

Surrey Police and Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said flags at their buildings were flying at half-mast.

image copyrightReuters
image captionThe Royal Family are closely involved in horseracing and have a long-standing association with the Epsom Derby, held each year in Surrey
image copyrightEuropean Pressphoto Agency
image captionThe Queen is said to have missed only two Derbies since 1946

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