Leeds community club which held Duke of Edinburgh's ‘lifetime’s interest’ remembers him in Leeds

Members of the Leeds PHAB Club were among scores of organisations across the UK with deep connections to the Duke of Edinburgh which marked the beginning of his funeral service.

Just six members and volunteers, due to Covid restrictions, gathered for the silence outside the Prince Philip Centre in the city, which is named after the duke.

Philip was instrumental in starting the centre in 1969 and the PHAB club, which brings together disabled and abled-bodied people from across Leeds was started up shortly after.

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Honorary Secretary of Leeds PHAB Club Ann Hart was among those marking the silence outside the building in the north of the city.

Ann Hart, honorary secretary of the Leeds PHAB Club at The Prince Philip Centre, in Leeds, on the day of the funeral for the Duke of Edinburgh. Picture date: Saturday April 17, 2021.

Mrs Hart said the duke had visited at least four times over the years and she had met him on three of the occasions.

She said the last time was in 2011 when he took up a belated invitation to mark the club’s 40th anniversary with afternoon tea.

Mrs Hart said he was “fit as a fiddle” despite approaching his 90th birthday.

She told the PA news agency: “He was just an absolutely fantastic man.

“He was really interested in anything you did. He wanted to know the be-all-and-end-all of everything.”

She added: “We’ve had his lifetime’s interest.”

Recalling her last meeting with the duke, Mrs Hart said: “He went round from table to table and just chatted and listened to people.

“He was absolutely amazing. We had a fantastic afternoon. He was with us a couple of hours.”

She said: “We are pleased about the fact that everybody thought the same we thought about him at Leeds PHAB Club. The whole world has paid the same sort of tributes.”

Mrs Hart said she had received a letter of condolence from his office just a week ago after she informed Philip of the death of a long-standing supporter of the club.

Asked about the funeral service, she said: “I think it’s a good tribute to him and he’s at Windsor and that’s where they spent so much time together.”

But asked about the Queen sitting alone she said: “You only need to say it to me and I want to cry.

“I feel as if I know her.”