Lily window and Blair princess plaque installed at Trimdon church (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Lily window and Blair princess plaque installed at Trimdon church
VISITORS to a County Durham church can now enjoy a new window installed in memory of a much-loved organist, and a plaque commemorating a former Prime Minister’s famous speech about Princess Diana.
The stained glass window was installed today (October 31) at St Mary Magdalene Church in Trimdon Village, near Sedgefield, with an official unveiling service and ceremony planned for Saturday, November 16.
The £12,000 installation was paid for by donations to honour church organist Lily Burton, who died in November 2011, from cancer at the age of 71.
And workmen have also installed a new plaque on the outside of the church to mark the spot where Tony Blair delivered his now famous speech following the death of Princess Diana in which he called her the People’s Princess.
Mrs Burton, the wife of Mr Blair’s constituency agent John Burton, worshipped at St Mary Magdalene for more than 50 years and served as organist, flower arranger and church councillor.
After her death, Mr Blair described her as “one of the kindest and nicest human beings” he had had ever known.
Mr Blair and his wife Cherie supported the appeal to raise funds for the window, and it is hoped that they shall be able to attend the service on November 16.
The plaque has been laid as part of some new paving at the spot where Mr Blair made his speech after a service at the church on the morning of Sunday, August 31, 1997, only a few hours after Princess Diana’s death had been confirmed.
Mr Blair has since admitted that his words were hastily written down on the back of an envelope with help from Alistair Campbell.
In his speech, Mr Blair said: “She was the people’s princess and that’s how she will stay, how she will remain in our hearts and in our memories forever.”
The new window was designed by stained-glass artist Bridget Jones and is based on the Magnificat, an ancient hymn that celebrates Mary.
It also incorporates flowers to symbolise her passion for flower arranging.
Mr Burton said: “It was very special seeing the window be put in place, it is lovely.”
“Lily spent so much time at the church, she would have loved the window although would be saying ‘you shouldn’t have bothered for me really’.”
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